The World’s Fair transformed Spokane’s downtown 50 years ago

Spokane leaders sought advice from Seattle, which had hosted a fair in 1962, for guidance on organizing their own world’s fair. They were advised that a fair was a great idea and should be pursued. Fair leaders managed to secure pledges of $1.3 million in start-up funds, primarily from Spokane businesses. Additionally, the Washington Legislature allocated nearly $12 million in state tax dollars to construct the Washington State Pavilion, which later became the Spokane Opera House and Convention Center.

With an unanimous approval from the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris, Spokane received the official designation as a “special exposition.” In October 1971, President Richard M. Nixon officially endorsed the event. The U.S. Congress secured an $11.5 million appropriation to construct the U.S. Pavilion at Expo ’74, thanks to the efforts of influential members like Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Sen. Warren Magnuson, and Rep. Thomas Foley.

Spokane’s three railroads agreed to relocate their tracks away from downtown and donated 17 acres of land to the city in exchange for millions of dollars worth of construction costs for consolidating their routes with Union Pacific, Milwaukee Road, and Burlington Northern all signing up for this move with Ford Motors also joining hands with General Motors for corporate pavilions at Expo ’74

By Aiden Johnson

As a content writer at, I have a passion for crafting engaging and informative articles that captivate readers. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, I strive to deliver content that not only informs but also entertains. My goal is to create compelling narratives that resonate with our audience and keep them coming back for more. Whether I'm delving into the latest news topics or exploring in-depth features, I am dedicated to producing high-quality content that informs, inspires, and sparks curiosity.

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