The United States Pavilion

Expo '74 and Riverfront Park Tour - Stop 11

In 1974, Spokane became the smallest city to ever host a World's Fair. The community used the opportunity to re-vitalize the depressed downtown district. The Great Northern Railroad Depot, which had occupied the centrally located Havermale Island for the better part of a century, was torn down. In its place, Spokanites erected many buildings and opened up outdoor spaces, the seeds of which would later become Riverfront Park.

The largest structure of the fair was the USA Pavilion. Its motto was "Man and Nature: One and Indivisible." In keeping with the environmental theme of the show, the structure was built to resemble a giant tent, with grass and trees on the inside. Totem poles were displayed as a symbol of the continent's past, and visitors were shown displays about the environmental concerns of the day. Visitors were also treated to the world's first IMAX movie, "Man belongs to the Earth." The title of which was taken from a quote mistakenly attributed to Chief Seattle. Visitors were delighted and terrified by a whirlwind tour over the grand canyon. Bags were handed out for the many guests who suffered from "airsickness."

The cloth cover, which was never meant to last, was removed. Due to the actions of Spokane citizen groups, the skeleton of the USA Pavilion still stands today amid Riverfront Park. It contains a winter skating arena and still houses an IMAX screen.

Images

View of the Pavilion from the Red Gate

View of the Pavilion from the Red Gate

Expo '74 opening. Courtesy of the Washington State Archives View File Details Page

A Environmental Celebration

A Environmental Celebration

A lone firework frames the background of an image of the environmentally themed U.S. Pavilion. Image Courtesy of the Spokane Public Library's Northwest Room View File Details Page

Inside the USA Pavilion During Expo '74

Inside the USA Pavilion During Expo '74

Courtesy of the Washington State Archives View File Details Page

An Artist's Rendering

An Artist's Rendering

The U.S. Pavilion envisioned through the eyes of an unknown artist. Image courtesy of the Spokane Public Library's Northwest Room View File Details Page

Inside the Pavilion

Inside the Pavilion

A father and son rest near one of the many environmental themed exhibits inside the U.S. Pavilion Image courtesy of the Spokane Public Library's Northwest Room View File Details Page

Screen to Scale

Screen to Scale

An IMAX Theater attendant illustrates the impressive size of the screen. Image courtesy of the Spokane Public Library's Northwest Room View File Details Page

Scale Model of the USA Pavilion

Scale Model of the USA Pavilion

Many scale models were made for Expo '74. This is design chosen for the USA Pavilion. Courtesy of the Washington State Archives View File Details Page

Unused Concept Plan for USA Pavilion

Unused Concept Plan for USA Pavilion

This is one of the rejected designs for the USA Pavilion. Courtesy of the Washington State Archives View File Details Page

Inside the USA Pavilion Today

Inside the USA Pavilion Today

Courtesy of Flickr Commons View File Details Page

Audio

Historian and Professor Bill Youngs

View File Details Page

Video

EXPO 74 and the Environment

Interview with Dr. J. William Youngs of Eastern Washington University.

Footage courtesy of Youtube user chris digiorgio used with permission. View File Details Page

Man Belongs to the Earth

Clip of "Man Belongs to the Earth." One of the first Imax films. Shown at Expo.

Courtesy of Archive.org View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Lee Nilsson, “The United States Pavilion ,” Spokane Historical, accessed June 25, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/303.
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