Then and Now

Spokane river skyline

The 1955 photo shows a city in transition. By some measures, the post-WWII economy was still slowing following the vigorous expansion of early Spokane, circa 1890 to 1910.


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Image One Photo Archive The Spokesman-Review Image Two Jesse Tinsley The Spokesman-Review

The 1955 photo shows a city in transition. By some measures, the post-WWII economy was still slowing following the vigorous expansion of early Spokane, circa 1890 to 1910. Although Spokane was the economic and industrial center of the region, its proud skyline, with the Paulsen Medical and Dental Building and the Old National Bank building seemed sculpted in another era. Trains still trundled in and out of the area around Spokane Falls, but transportation was changing as the automobile offered a new freedom. In just a few years, the idea for a world’s fair to revitalize downtown would take hold and the rails and train depots of old Spokane were swept away for Expo ‘74. The shoreline of the Spokane River was recontoured. Many structures from Expo are still in use, like the Washington State Pavilion, a gleaming modern theater which would become the INB Performing Arts Center.


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