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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Then and Now: Railway Mail Terminal

The facility on Havermale Island prior to Expo '74 was indicative of the push to move mail by rail in the early 20th century, even as would-be thieves targeted trains. 

Then and Now: Riverfront Park after Expo ‘74

While organizers were planning a world's fair in the early 1970s, boosters were also pitching the idea of a natural downtown playground that would be left in its wake. That idea became Riverfront Park. 

Then and Now: John Deere building

The location of the downtown John Deere warehouse in Spokane, built in 1910, was tied to the railroads in the city's urban center. The arrival of the World's Fair in 1974 led to the realignment of those railroads, and the John Deere building was used for storage and staging during Expo '74. 

Difference Makers: U.S. Pavilion redesigners create iconic structure in the heart of the city

Forty-six years ago – with just 72 days before the World’s Fair officially kicked off in Spokane – Tim Welsh climbed to the top of the incomplete U.S. Pavilion, popped the collar of his thick flannel jacket against the February chill and smiled for the camera. “All those cables you see, I measured every one of them. I did most of the surveying and layout of the project,” said Welsh, who was project engineer on the U.S. Pavilion for Expo ’74.

Then and Now: Spokane Convention Center

The original Spokane Convention Center has expanded to encompass an area of the riverside that was formerly a Great Northern rail yard, and later popular restaurant C.I. Shenanigans.

Then and Now: TraveLodge River Inn

Much of Spokane’s downtown railroad and industrial infrastructure was removed in preparation for Expo ’74. But some areas weren’t ready for redevelopment until after Spokane’s big moment on the world stage.

Women of the Year: Susan Virnig has ‘lived a lot of lives,’ all of them devoted to doing good

About 5 million people came to Spokane in 1974 for the World’s Fair. Most left, but not Susan Virnig. And he’s been educating and getting Spokanites involved ever since. From her founding of Northwest Regional Facilitators – which begat a host of beneficial Spokane organizations – to her leadership of the YWCA to her years teaching poetry to children, Virnig has touched a lot of lives.

Riverfront Park playground to prioritize accessibility

A playground focused on accessibility for disabled children is set to be built near the upper Spokane Falls in Riverfront Park. Early project plans and designs were presented June 12 to the Spokane Design Review Board by SPVV Landscape Architects, of Spokane.

Industrial to incredible: Expo ’74 spurred beauty of Spokane River

Bill Youngs wrote a comprehensive book about the Spokane River and Expo ’74, “The Fair and the Falls,” and contends the drama and beauty of the falls cutting through downtown Spokane rivals the majesty of any national park. The river was rescued from an existence as a “trash dump,” and the cleaning and beautification of the park continues to this day.

Then and Now: Washington State Pavilion

Careful planning and modern design were hallmarks of the Washington State Pavilion at Expo ’74 in Spokane. The facility included an auditorium for nearly 3,000 people, exhibit halls and a theater. Post-fair, the Legislature transferred the facility to the city.

Then and Now: Thinking ahead of Expo ’74, U.S. Pavilion takes shape

Even before the world’s fair, Expo ’74, closed down, the city of Spokane was embroiled in discussions of what to do with the 100-acre site. There was a strong movement to build, and against building, a new City Hall in the park to replace the 1914 building across the street. There was strong support for an ice rink and a new Imax theater under the U.S. Pavilion. Many thought the gondola ride over the falls should stay.

Then and Now: Ford pavilion at Expo ’74

The first corporate exhibitor to sign on for Expo ’74 was Ford Motor Co. The commitment was made in January of 1973, just 17 months before the opening ceremonies in May of 1974.

Then and Now: Union Station

Historian Robert Hyslop, in his book “Spokane Building Blocks,” explains why Spokane’s Union Station, shown under construction in 1913, was called a station and not a depot. There had already been a Union Depot in Spokane serving the OR&N, the Union Pacific and the Great Northern in Spokane’s earliest days. In addition, people thought the word “depot” was old-fashioned and “station” was more stylish.

Then and Now: Washington Street Bridge

Early bridges across the various channels of the Spokane River were made of wood, then steel and, eventually, concrete or stone. And when the Great Northern Railroad depot opened on Havermale Island in 1902, with its iconic Clocktower, access from downtown was only via the Howard Street bridge. So a new steel-supported bridge was hastily built, aligned with Washington Street, that dead-ended at the depot to get passengers to the trains.

Design of signature art for revitalized Riverfront Park set for vote

The full Spokane Park Board will vote later this month on a design and location for “Step Well,” architect and artist J. Meejin Yoon’s sculpture for Riverfront Park. The MIT instructor and award-winning designer also has plans to tie together existing artwork and promote future works by local artists following the attraction’s redevelopment.