Jeff Humphrey

Welcome Mat Out for Expo ’74 50th Celebration

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 11:03 a.m.

It’s nearly time to celebrate Spokane’s biggest international claim to fame. That’s because in 1974, Spokane became the smallest city in history to host the World’s Fair.

The event transformed a busy railyard into a sprawling waterfront campus that would eventually become Riverfront Park.

“The 50th Anniversary of Expo ’74 is upon us, and in preparation, the City of Spokane has been at work on a number of projects to help make the celebration more enjoyable,” said Fianna Dickson, Communications Manager for Spokane’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Some of Spokane’s most recognizable landmarks took shape during Expo ’74 construction projects.

“One example is the South Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge was built for Expo ’74 as a way to help connect people to the river. After 50 years, the bridge was in need of some repairs, so you’ll find a new deck, new railings, new lighting, all in an effort to keep this bridge alive for the next 50 years,” explained Dickson.

The South Pedestrian bridge will be open well before the Expo celebrations start, and just in time for a spring runoff.

Another project the City’s Public Works Department is working on is the completion of the Great Gorge Loop Trail, including a new pedestrian walkway underneath the Monroe Street Bridge.

“You can walk from the Runners in Riverfront Park to the Sandifur Bridge, and then back along Kendall Yards and see the Great Gorge,” detailed Marlene Fiest, Director of Spokane’s Public Works Department.

Construction of the new walkway, which is suspended from one of the spandrel arches of the Monroe Street Bridge, will be complete before the Expo celebrations get underway.

“Also this spring, the City is working on cleaning up this plaza right here on Spokane Falls Boulevard, and as it connects into the Monroe Street Bridge. This is a great spot that everybody needs to see during Expo,” Feist said of the scenic overlook.

Another Expo legacy is our Lilac Butterfly. Several of the winged sculptures were erected during Expo ’74 to serve as colorful way markers.

“A strong windstorm brought it down, and so we took that opportunity to redesign and re-engineer the butterfly to be able to withstand much stronger wind forces. We’re excited it’s now back in the park, in time for Expo,” added Dickson.

Spokane-area residents are invited downtown for Expo ’74’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, May 4 through July 4.

For more information, visit

More About...