Expo '74

Expo '74 was the first environmentally themed world's fair. It was held in Spokane, Washington, United States and ran from 4 May to 3 November 1974. The heart of the fair park grounds was located on Canada Island, Havermale Island, and the adjacent south bank of the Spokane River in the center of the city. With the exception of two pavilions, all of the major buildings were modular structures assembled on the site. The fair had 5.2 million visitors and was considered a success, nearly breaking even, revitalizing the blighted urban core, and pumping an estimated $150 million into the local economy and surrounding region.

In proclaiming itself the first exposition on an environmental theme, Expo '74 distanced itself from the more techno-centric world's fairs of the 1960s. The environmental theme was promoted in several high-profile events, such as a symposium on United Nations World Environment Day (June 5) attended by more than 1,200 people including many international representatives, and ECAFE Day for the United Nations Economic Council for Asia and the Far East (June 14) that discussed regional environment issues.[1]

1974 Spokane
Expo 74 Spokane logo
The Expo '74 logo design, based on the Möbius strip.
BIE-classSpecialized exposition
NameExpo '74
MottoProgress without pollution
Area40.5 hectares (100 acres)
CountryUnited States
VenueCrystal Island (renamed "Canada Island" when it was officially deeded to Canada and used to host the British Columbia pavilion), Havermale Island, and the adjacent north and south banks of the Spokane River
Coordinates47°39′43.9″N 117°25′8.4″W / 47.662194°N 117.419000°W
OpeningMay 4, 1974
ClosureNovember 3, 1974
Specialized expositions
PreviousExpo 71 in Budapest
NextExpo '75 in Okinawa
Universal expositions
PreviousExpo '70 in Osaka
NextSeville Expo '92 in Seville
Horticultural expositions
PreviousInternationale Gartenbauausstellung 73 in Hamburg
NextFloralies Internationales de Montréal in Montreal
Horticultural (AIPH)Wiener Internationale Gartenschau 74


Expo74 Stamp
Peter Max-designed U.S. postage stamp commemorating Expo '74.
Expo 74 Plate
A souvenir plate from Expo '74.

Spokane was the smallest city to host a world's fair recognized by the Bureau International des Expositions until Knoxville, Tennessee held the 1982 World's Fair eight years later (the Spokane metropolitan area is still smaller than the Knoxville metropolitan area). World's Fairs began at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution as public showcases. Expo '74 was the first fair in decades that did not focus on the space age, futuristic themes, or utopian ideas of living. An environmental theme was decided upon by the organizing committee, however there was some uncertainty about it because it had never been used previously by a World's Fair to that time. After considering several other slogans, such as "How Man Can Live, Work and Play in Harmony With His Environment", Expo '74 settled on "Celebrating Tomorrow's Fresh New Environment."[2]

The Great Northern Railway Depot Clocktower in 1973, exactly one year before the Expo opened.

Uncertainty about the ability of a city the modest size of Spokane to create a successful event caused many nations and corporations to hesitate about making major investments in the fair. Kodak, General Motors, and Ford hosted pavilions at this fair but they were scaled down in size and presence compared to the exhibits constructed for the New York Worlds Fair ten years earlier. For the first time since the company's beginning, General Electric did not have a fair pavilion but it sponsored the musical group Up with People that performed during the summer at the fair. Pacific Northwest Bell had a pavilion that eliminated the use of air conditioning by using louvered panels on the roof. They demonstrated the use of TTY equipment and discussed the use of 911 for emergency telephone services. Expo '74 was the last time that the Bell system would exhibit at a world's fair before its breakup ten years later.

Site of Expo '74 under construction, May 1973.

Nations with an official presence at the fair included Australia, Canada, West Germany, Iran, Japan, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, the United States and the USSR.[1] Architectural critics were intrigued by the Australian Pavilion with its 36 screen revolving audio visual platform and a model of the newly completed Sydney Opera House. (The artistic director for the project was film director Jonathan Dawson). However, writer Calvin Trillin tartly commented that the exhibits of several other countries seemed designed to demonstrate their nation's lack of environmental care. "While other world's fairs had introduced the telephone, the escalator, and the Belgian waffle, Spokane's Expo '74 would be associated forever with the 'institutionalized mea culpa,'" Trillin wrote in The New Yorker.[2]

President Richard M. Nixon presided over the fair's opening ceremony where he addressed a crowd of some 85,000, including a few hecklers who shouted "Jail to the Chief!". However, by the time the fair closed, Nixon had already resigned in shame due to the Watergate Scandal.[3]

One piece of technology that made its debut at Expo '74 was the IMAX movie theater. The original theater, built inside of the United States Pavilion, had a screen that measured 90 ft × 65 ft (27 m × 20 m), completely covering the front wall of the pavilion. It was the largest indoor movie screen at the time and had bigger dimension than a typical drive-in movie screen. 'The quote, "The Earth does not belong to Man, Man belongs to the Earth" (attributed to Chief Seattle) was written in large letters on the outside wall. Inside the pavilion, visitors watched "Man Belongs to the Earth," a 23-minute IMAX film made for Expo by Paramount. Scenes of U.S. splendor led into environmental problems including air pollution in Denver. The film was so realistic—especially during a sequence flying through the Grand Canyon—that motion sickness bags had to be made available.' [4]

The fair also featured the interactive movie system Kinoautomat.

Riverfront Park in 2010, featuring the '74 Pavilion and Great Northern Railway Depot Clocktower.

After the event closed, the exposition site became the city's 100 acre (400,000 m²) Riverfront Park, containing the former U.S. Pavilion and a clock tower (part of a Great Northern rail depot that was demolished for Expo '74), which prominently featured the park's logo.

Several structures built for the fair are still standing. The United States Pavilion still houses an IMAX theater built after the fair (The original one built for the fair beneath the pavilion was abandoned), as well as a winter ice rink that is put to other varied uses in the warm months. Plans are being made, however, for a new design for the pavilion that will eliminate the IMAX theater. The Washington State Pavilion still stands and is used as the Spokane Convention Center and the First Interstate Center for the Arts. The building constructed to house Spokane's iconic Looff Carousel was disassembled in March 2017 (it housed a French restaurant during the fair), with a new building planned. The carousel (which in Spokane is spelled "carrousel") originated in Natatorium Park, which closed in 1967, and was restored for the World's Fair.[5] An additional six structures, including the Republic of China Pavilion, were moved 150 miles south to Walla Walla where they were re-purposed to be used as classrooms and a performing arts theater for the Walla Walla Community College.[6]

The original covering of the US pavilion was a thick vinyl sheeting that was not designed to last. It was allowed to remain until it began to deteriorate, become unsightly and was thought a safety hazard. When the city opted to remove the covering, chunks of the thick vinyl could be purchased as keep-sakes. The tent design itself with its heavy cables was not intended to stay up, however the people of Spokane voiced the opinion that it should remain as a unique architectural statement, and a monument to the 1974 exposition.

Souvenirs are still available at The White Elephant in Spokane.

Entertainment and famous visitors

Dance: Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company

See also


  1. ^ a b Bowers, Dawn (1974). Expo '74 World's Fair Spokane: Official Commemorative of the Spokane World Exposition 1974. Expo '74 Corporation.
  2. ^ a b William T. Youngs (April 21, 2010). "Expo '74 and Earth Day". The Pacific Northwest Inlander. Spokane, WA, USA: The Pacific NW Inlander. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  3. ^ http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=5133
  4. ^ https://archive.org/details/govntis.ava03671vnb1
  5. ^ Spokane's Natatorium Park - Home Page The Forestry Pavilion was re-purposed as a picnic shelter for Riverfront Park, and can still be seen on the far side of the hill on which the former U.S. Pavilion (now known simply as "The Pavilion") sits. Other structures that remain in Spokane include the floating stage in front of the opera house, the Harold Balazs sculpture next to the opera house and the trash-eating goat near what is now the carousel building.
  6. ^ Expo ‘74 Spokane: China Pavilion

External links

1974 in rail transport

This article lists events related to rail transport that occurred in 1974.

Century 21 Exposition

The Century 21 Exposition (also known as the Seattle World's Fair) was a world's fair held April 21, 1962, to October 21, 1962, in Seattle, Washington.

Nearly 10 million people attended the fair. Unlike some other world's fairs of its era, Century 21 made a profit.As planned, the exposition left behind a fairground and numerous public buildings and public works; some credit it with revitalizing Seattle's economic and cultural life (see History of Seattle since 1940). The fair saw the construction of the Space Needle and Alweg monorail, as well as several sports venues (Washington State Coliseum, now KeyArena) and performing arts buildings (the Playhouse, now the Cornish Playhouse), most of which have since been replaced or heavily remodeled.

The site, slightly expanded since the fair, is now called Seattle Center; the United States Science Pavilion is now the Pacific Science Center. Another notable Seattle Center building, the Museum of Pop Culture (earlier called EMP Museum), was built nearly 40 years later and designed to fit in with the fairground atmosphere.

Chinatown, Spokane

A fair sized Chinatown existed in Spokane for years that started when the railroad came through in 1883. It consisted of a network of alleys between Front Avenue (today's Spokane Falls Boulevard) and Main Avenue that stretched east from Howard Avenue to Bernard Street for approximately four blocks. The Chinese population gradually thinned out until the alley became abandoned by the 1940s. All that remained of Chinatown was demolished to build a parking garage for Spokane's Expo '74, which is currently used as the River Park Square garage.

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane is the central business district of Spokane, Washington. Downtown comprises the portion of the neighborhood Riverside south of the Spokane River. Downtown Spokane's rough boundaries are I-90 to the south, Division Street to the east, Maple Street to the west, and the Spokane River to the north.


Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy, ideology, and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the impact of changes to the environment on humans, animals, plants and non-living matter. While environmentalism focuses more on the environmental and nature-related aspects of green ideology and politics, ecologism combines the ideology of social ecology and environmentalism. Ecologism is more commonly used in continental European languages while ‘environmentalism’ is more commonly used in English but the words have slightly different connotations.

Environmentalism advocates the preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment and critical earth system elements or processes such as the climate, and may be referred to as a movement to control pollution or protect plant and animal diversity. For this reason, concepts such as a land ethic, environmental ethics, biodiversity, ecology, and the biophilia hypothesis figure predominantly.

At its crux, environmentalism is an attempt to balance relations between humans and the various natural systems on which they depend in such a way that all the components are accorded a proper degree of sustainability. The exact measures and outcomes of this balance is controversial and there are many different ways for environmental concerns to be expressed in practice. Environmentalism and environmental concerns are often represented by the color green, but this association has been appropriated by the marketing industries for the tactic known as greenwashing.

Environmentalism is opposed by anti-environmentalism, which says that the Earth is less fragile than some environmentalists maintain, and portrays environmentalism as overreacting to the human contribution to climate change or opposing human advancement.

Expo '74 (train)

The Expo '74 was a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. It operated in the summer months of 1974 in coordination with its namesake, Expo '74. With the addition of the Expo '74 to the Empire Builder and North Coast Hiawatha, Amtrak provided thrice-daily service between Seattle and Spokane, the highest level seen since Amtrak's formation and unmatched since.

First Interstate Center for the Arts

The First Interstate Center for the Arts is a 2,700-seat theater and entertainment venue in Spokane, Washington. It is located in Downtown Spokane along the south bank of the Spokane River adjacent to the Spokane Convention Center. The facility is owned and operated by the Spokane Public Facilities District.

History of Spokane, Washington

The history of Spokane, Washington in the northwestern United States developed because Spokane Falls and its surroundings were a gathering place for numerous cultures for thousands of years. The area's indigenous people settled there due to the fertile hunting grounds and abundance of salmon in the Spokane River. The first European to explore the Inland Northwest was Canadian explorer-geographer David Thompson, working as head of the North West Company's Columbia Department. At the nexus of the Little Spokane and the Spokane, Thompson's men built a new fur trading post, which is the first long-term European settlement in Washington state.

The first American settlers, squatters J.J. Downing, with his wife, stepdaughter, and S.R. Scranton, built a cabin and established a claim at Spokane Falls in 1871. James N. Glover and Jasper Matheney, two Oregonians passing through the region in 1873, recognized the value of the Spokane River and its falls. They realized the development potential and bought the claims of 160 acres (0.65 km2) and the sawmill from Downing and Scranton for $4,000 total. Glover and Matheney knew that the Northern Pacific Railroad Company had received a government charter to build a main line across this northern route. By 1881, the Northern Pacific Railway was completed, bringing major European settlement to the area. With the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the later additions to the city's railroad infrastructure by the arrival of the Union Pacific, Great Northern, and Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroads, Spokane became the commercial center of the Inland Northwest. It was one of the most important rail centers in the western United States. Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair in Expo '74, becoming the then-smallest city to ever host a World's Fair. With falling silver, timber, and farm prices, the city economy began a decline that would last into the 1990s. Spokane is still trying to make the transition to a more service-oriented economy. The opening of the River Park Square Mall in 1999 sparked a downtown rebirth that included the building of the Spokane Arena and expansion of the Spokane Convention Center.

List of world expositions

List of world expositions is an annotated list of every world exposition sanctioned by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), including those recognised retrospectively as they took place (long) before BIE came into existence.

The designation "World Exposition" or "Expo" refers to a class of the largest, general scope exhibitions of 3 to 6 months' duration.

This list does not include BIE recognized International Horticultural Exhibitions. For other major international exhibitions, in addition to those endorsed by the BIE, see the comprehensive list of world's fairs.

Merchants Limited

The Merchants Limited, sometimes shortened to Merchants, was a New York, New Haven and Hartford (the "New Haven") passenger train on the Shore Line between Boston and New York City. It was the New Haven's premier passenger train and the last all-parlor car train in the United States. The train entered service in 1903, and survived the turbulent Penn Central merger to become one of Amtrak's Boston–Washington, D.C. services. The name disappeared from Amtrak's timetables in 1995 when most Northeast trains were rebranded "NortheastDirect".

Montvale Hotel

The Montvale Hotel is a boutique hotel in Spokane, Washington. Originally built in 1899 as an SRO (Single Room Occupancy Hotel), the Montvale Hotel also served Spokane as an apartment building, a brothel, and as a youth hostel during Expo '74 and then was abandoned for 30 years. It was restored and re-opened in January 2005 as a 36-room boutique hotel, becoming one of Spokane's premier hotels with The Davenport Hotel and the Hotel Lusso.

With the demolition of the Pennington Wing at the Davenport Hotel, the Montvale gained the distinction as Spokane's oldest hotel. Kilmer and Son's Hardware was located on buildings' main floor for over 60 years. Kilmer once employed Henry J. Kaiser.

Currently located in the same building as the Montvale Hotel is Scratch Restaurant and is located on the street level of the building.

North Coast Hiawatha

The North Coast Hiawatha was a streamlined passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington, in the United States. It operated from 1971 to 1979. The train was a successor to the Northern Pacific Railway's North Coast Limited and Mainstreeter, although it used the route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road") east of Minneapolis–Saint Paul. The train's name combined the North Coast Limited with the Milwaukee Road's famed Hiawathas. Created at the behest of the United States Congress, the North Coast Hiawatha enjoyed an uncertain existence before being discontinued in 1979. Since then there have been several attempts to restore the service, without success.

Peter Max

Peter Max (born Peter Max Finkelstein, October 19, 1937) is an American artist known for using bright colours in his work. Works by Max are associated with the visual arts and culture of the 1960s, particularly psychedelic art and pop art.

Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park may refer to:

Allegheny Riverfront Park, a small municipal park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the south bank of the Allegheny River

Newark Riverfront Park, a park that is being designed and developed along the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey.

North Shore Riverfront Park, a small municipal park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the north banks of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers

Riverfront Park (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), a park in Pottstown, Pennsylvania along the banks of the Schuylkilll River

Riverfront Park (Harrisburg), a park in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River

Riverfront Park (Spokane, Washington), a park in downtown Spokane, Washington along the Spokane River created for Expo '74

Riverfront Park, a park in Moncton, New Brunswick along that city's Riverfront Trail

Riverfront Park (Salem, Oregon), a park along the Willamette River in Salem, Oregon, United States

Riverfront Park (Spokane, Washington)

Riverfront Park is a public park in the northwest United States, in downtown Spokane, Washington. The one-hundred-acre (40 ha) park is located along the Spokane River containing the upper Spokane Falls and just upstream from the lower falls.

It was created 45 years ago for Expo '74, a World's Fair event. The defining feature of the park is the Pavilion, which is marked by a 145-foot-tall (44 m) metal frame and wire shell that formed the US Pavilion tent during Expo '74, and the 155-foot (47 m) clock tower, now a Spokane icon. Originally part of the Great Northern Railway Depot, completed in 1902 and demolished in 1973, its “giant grandfather clock” is wound by hand once a week.

Other park amenities include the Riverfront Park Carousel, IMAX theatre (1978), skyride over the falls, and a small amusement park for kids. During winter months, a skating rink is home to the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.

The elevation is approximately 1,900 feet (580 m) above sea level; the Spokane River Centennial Trail passes through the park.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane ( (listen) spoh-KAN) is a city in the state of Washington in the northwestern United States. It is located on the Spokane River west of the Rocky Mountain foothills in eastern Washington, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canada–US border, 18 miles (30 km) from the Washington–Idaho border, and 228 miles (367 km) east of Seattle along Interstate 90.

Known as the birthplace of Father's Day, Spokane's official nickname is the "Lilac City". A pink, double flower lilac variety known as 'Syringa Spokane' is named for the city. It is the seat of Spokane County and the economic and cultural center of the Spokane Metropolitan Area, the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area, and the Inland Northwest. The city, along with the whole Inland Northwest, is served by Spokane International Airport, 5 miles (8 km) west of downtown Spokane. According to the 2010 Census, Spokane had a population of 208,916, making it the second-largest city in Washington, and the 101st-largest city in the United States.

The first people to live in the area, the Spokane tribe (their name meaning "children of the sun" in Salishan), lived off plentiful game. David Thompson explored the area with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company's Spokane House in 1810. This trading post was the first long-term European settlement in Washington. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881 brought settlers to the Spokane area. The same year it was officially incorporated as a city with the name of Spokane Falls (it was reincorporated under its current name ten years later). In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest. The local economy depended on mining, timber, and agriculture until the 1980s. Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair at Expo '74.

Many of the downtown area's older Romanesque Revival-style buildings were designed by architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter after the Great Fire of 1889. The city also features Riverfront and Manito parks, the Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Davenport Hotel, and the Fox and Bing Crosby theaters.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and the city is also the center of the Mormon Spokane Washington Temple District. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist represents the Anglican community. Gonzaga University was established in 1887 by the Jesuits, and the private Presbyterian Whitworth University was founded three years later and moved to north Spokane in 1914 In sports, the Gonzaga Bulldogs collegiate basketball team competes at the Division I level. Professional and semi-professional sports teams include the Spokane Indians in Minor League Baseball and Spokane Chiefs in junior ice hockey. As of 2010, Spokane's only major daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, had a daily circulation of over 76,000.

Spokane Convention Center

Spokane Convention Center is the primary convention center in Spokane, Washington, in the northwest United States, and consists of two interconnected buildings along the south bank of the Spokane River in downtown Spokane. The facility, owned and operated by the Spokane Public Facilities District, is part of a larger campus, historically referred to as Spokane Center, that also contains the adjacent First Interstate Center for the Arts.

Spokane River Centennial Trail

The Spokane River Centennial Trail is a 37-mile (60 km) paved trail in Eastern Washington for alternate transportation and recreational use. It is managed by Washington State Parks as the Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail.The trail extends from Sontag Park in Nine Mile Falls, Washington to the Washington/Idaho border. It passes through the cities of Spokane, Washington, Spokane Valley, Washington, Liberty Lake, Washington and the unincorporated community of Spokane Bridge, before crossing under the Interstate 90 Spokane River Bridge—traveling through Kootenai County, Idaho for approximately 250 feet (76 m)—and then continuing through Washington for about 2,000 feet (1 km), before meeting with the North Idaho Centennial Trail at the Washington—Idaho border. The trail is divided into three sections: Riverside refers to the section of the trail within Riverside State Park, Urban refers to the section within the city of Spokane, and Valley refers the section east of Spokane (almost all of which lies in the Spokane Valley, hence the name). After the border into Idaho, the trail continues as the North Idaho Centennial Trail.

World's fair

A world's fair, world fair, world expo, universal exposition, or international exposition (sometimes expo or Expo for short) is a large international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations. These exhibitions vary in character and are held in different parts of the world. The most recent international exhibition, Expo 2017, was held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Dubai, UAE has been selected to host WORLD EXPO 2020. Osaka, Japan has been selected to host World Expo 2025.

Since the 1928 Convention Relating to International Exhibitions came into force, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE; English: International Bureau of Exhibitions) has served as an international sanctioning body for world's fairs. Four types of international exhibition are organised under the auspices of the BIE: World Expos, Specialized Expos, Horticultural Expos (regulated by the International Association of Horticultural Producers) and the Triennale di Milano. Depending on their category, international exhibitions may last from three weeks to six months.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.