But in 1974, Spokane, Washington muscled its way into that elite club. It was the smallest city ever to have hosted a world's fair and at the end of its six-month run, over five million peopleroughly 28 times the city's population were able to say they were there.
In late June, my mom and I and our friends the Ericksons piled into my dad's 1973 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham and drove East to become part of those five million.
To my 13-year old mind, Expo was the coolest place I'd ever seen. What I remember most was the trash mountain, giant bugs and IMAX film in the United States Pavilion, the red and yellow inflated dome of the Eastman Kodak Pavilion, running over the bridges across the Spokane River and the giant bust of Lenin inside the Soviet Pavilion.
The theme was "Celebrating a Fresh, New Environment," but, alas, the Spokane World's Fair didn't change the world. It was actually picketed by local environmental groups and fewer than 25 years later, not many people outside of Spokane even remember there was a world's fair, let alone what lessons they might have learned there.
Still, the city ended up with a first-rate park, an opera house and exhibition hall, while millions of people had their minds taken off the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, Nixon's secret tapes, long lines at gas stations and the new 55 mile an hour speed limit. This site is intended to recreate a little of that fun for those who were there and those who missed it.
Want to share your memories of the fair? Send me an e-mail!
© 1998-2007 Mike Fuller. All rights reserved. Legal notice.