Expo ’74 Celebration Continues in July with Exhibits at Libraries & Online

Posted on June 25, 2024 at 6:00 am

Inside U.S. Pavilion, Expo '74 World's Fair, Spokane, 1974

Courtesy Washington State Digital Archives (Image No. EXPO74XXX3)
Inside U.S. Pavilion, Expo ’74 World’s Fair, Spokane, 1974
Courtesy Washington State Digital Archives (Image No. EXPO74XXX3)

By Stacey Goddard

We’re excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1974 World’s Fair throughout the month of July. At the time of Expo ’74, Spokane was the smallest city to host a World’s Fair. Expo ’74 was also the first environmentally themed World’s Fair and had the motto of ‘Progress Without Pollution.’

Eight of our libraries are hosting the Expo ’74: 50th Anniversary Celebration Exhibit:

We’re also hosting a virtual exhibit on our website.

Displays will include a variety of memorabilia, souvenirs, and memories from Expo ’74 that have been generously shared by people in the community.

Did you know that the Spokane area used to have two daily newspapers? Library displays feature local newspaper articles from both “The Spokesman-Review” and the “Spokane Daily Chronicle” that were published during the spring and summer of 1974. The “Chronicle” was published as an afternoon edition until it ceased in 1992.

You’ll have the opportunity to view items such as season passes, one-day entrance tickets, postcards featuring scenes from Expo ’74, and brochures from the different country pavilions. In addition to these items, the exhibit at each location features a different variety of fun and fascinating souvenirs and memorabilia.

Since the in-library exhibit displays are available July 1–31, you’ll have time to get to all eight libraries if you’d like!

Airway Heights Library Exhibit

The exhibit at Airway Heights Library features brochures from the Germany and Japan Pavilions, a postcard of the Washington State Pavilion, and the “Sculpture Guide” flyer. Some of the souvenirs you can view include a coffee cup, a window sticker, an Expo miniature flag on a stand, and a World’s Fair plate with a gold flower-stem rim.

Cheney Library Exhibit

Stop by Cheney Library to view items such as a scallop-edged plate featuring the flags of participating nations, charms and pins, and a World’s Fair gold plate and stand. You can see a brochure from the Iran Pavilion and a “World Festival of Entertainment Program.”

Deer Park Library Exhibit

When you stop by Deer Park Library, you can see a Trailways brochure with information on the “Canadian Rockies and Expo ’74 Escorted Tour” as well as an “I Am Expo ’74” promotional booklet. Also in the exhibit are an issue of American Philatelist Magazine, featuring the Expo ’74 stamp, a copy of the “Riverfront Improvement Project Bond” flyer, and a “World Festival of Entertainment Program” that features performer Jack Benny. Souvenirs include a commemorative spoon with the Expo ’74 logo and a decorative color plate with “ship wheel” edges.

Fairfield Library Exhibit

Fairfield Library’s exhibit features a full-page photo of the cleared railroad yard where the Expo buildings would be built, a full-color pictorial book of images from Expo ’74, a US Pavilion Guidebook, and a US Pavilion ashtray.

Medical Lake Library Exhibit

When you visit Medical Lake Library, you can view the “USSR Expo ’74 Soviet Pavilion” brochure, the “China Pavilion: Taiwan” brochure, and artist brochures from the British Columbia Pavilion. Other memorabilia on display at this location include a coloring book, a set of four fair-themed coasters (each a different color!), and a powder blue coin purse with the World’s Fair logo.

Moran Prairie Library Exhibit

Moran Prairie Library’s exhibit includes a multi-purpose, yellow air cushion with the Expo ’74 logo, a framed piece of the US Pavilion tent, and a Spokane Opera House poster featuring performers Henry Fonda and Buck Owens.

North Spokane Library Exhibit

Some of the items featured in North Spokane Library’s display include a brochure from the Union Pacific Pavilion detailing their roundhouse and locomotive exhibit. You can also view posters from the Spokane Opera House featuring performances by Diana Ross and Charley Pride, a World Festival of Entertainment Program featuring performer Merle Haggard, as well as an Expo Press Kit featuring 24 articles. Featured souvenirs at North Spokane include a miniature pennant, a World’s Fair belt buckle, an Expo plastic tote bag, an “I left my footprint at Expo ‘74” foot-shaped dish, and a leather “World’s Fair Spokane USA Expo ‘74” keychain.

Otis Orchards Library Exhibit

Items to look for in Otis Orchards Library’s exhibit include the “Kodak Pocket Guide to Picture Taking at Expo ’74” brochure as well as several editions of the World Festival of Entertainment brochures, including one featuring information about Liberace’s performances in Spokane.

Online Exhibit

If you can’t make it into any of our libraries to see the exhibits in person, be sure to head online to see the digital display starting in July, available on our Expo ’74: 50th Anniversary Celebration web page.

The online exhibit will feature a number of personal photographs and memories submitted by community members who attended Expo ’74 with their family and friends. Photos include recognizable landmarks like the clock tower and the garbage goat.

You can also see images of different souvenirs attendees collected during Expo, such as a coin purse, buttons, pins, plates, and even a commemorative pitcher. The online exhibit also features several items from the Bell Telephone System Exhibit as well as a video of historical footage from the Waterworld Exhibit.

In addition to these memories, later in the month of July, you can view video interviews with community members who talk about their experiences from and memories of Expo ’74. We encourage you to check the web page throughout the month as more memories are added.

All of these Expo ’74 exhibits are ideal for the curious as well as history buffs and are also a great way to bring generations together to reminisce and share stories of World’s Fair experiences.

We hope you get a chance to enjoy these souvenirs and memories from the community.

Stacey Goddard

Stacey Goddard loves being able to work with small business owners and people looking to change careers as part of her job as a Public Services Manager for Spokane County Library District. She’s also a fan of helping folks increase their financial literacy, especially after her own ill-advised spending decisions in her 20s and 30s! Outside of work, Stacey enjoys buying cookbooks to browse and probably never use, binge-watching fashion competition shows, and planning her next vacation to the Oregon Coast.

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