Document 68: Prospectus for 1973 Centennial and Exposition

King Cole, “Prospectus for 1973 Centennial and Exposition,” 29 March 1970, Luke Williams, Jr. Papers, Box 42,
Eastern Washington State Historical Society.

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1973 will mark the 100th anniversary of the first permanent settlement in Spokane Falls, Washington. The celebration of this event will be on a site on the riverfront of downtown Spokane presently inhabited by three of the four major railroads passing through Spokane. These railroads will be re-located to a single track on the other side of downtown and the site will be cleared for an exposition which will be developed to a theme of national and possibly international importance.

A thirty-seven acre public development will spring up in the very heart of Spokane on the banks of one of the most beautiful mountain streams in the nation – the Spokane River. The natural beauty of the outdoors which was the primeval state of this part of the river will be completely restored to a park-like setting. This will be an enclosed site for one year with admission by ticket, and will contain something of the elements of a fair, a civic birthday party, a centennial exposition, and an historic interpretive center --- without becoming any of these.

A committee of local and statewide business firms has been formed. The goal of this committee – representing all public and private sectors of the Inland Empire and of the State of Washington – is to see all land cleared by mid-1971 leaving 18 months for the construction of facilities for a fair-like setting themed to OUTDOORLAND and the preservation of our high quality environment.

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The chief attraction to some 3,000,000 visitors anticipated to arrive for this event in 1973 will be a proposed interpretive tourism center on the vast outdoor recreational complex that lies within a day's drive of Spokane. There are more national parks, for example, within a day's drive of Spokane, by 1973 freeway standards, than of any other standard metropolitan area in the United States. This does not include the vast Canadian complex to the north.

But, more importantly, as the thinking now progresses and as it will be tested with our economic planner-consultants, we feel that the cutting edge of this program will be the industry displays tell the story of good conservation and development. Thus, the industries presently engaged in the best practices of development of natural resources – wood products, mining, agriculture, power and utilities – will have a forum, international in scope – in a setting unique to the theme of their presentations. Conservationists as well will be given an opportunity to raise questions of our future that are so critical today.

The development of a focal point for the display and discussion of these issues physically located in an environmental setting which has not yet been abused to the point of no return offers exciting challenges to the participants.

cont'd . . .

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Much has to be done within the three-year period ahead. The railroads must be removed from the riverfront areas; one of these roads, the G. N., has merged with the Northern Pacific and this will facilitate their removal at an early date; the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Roads remain on the island and are presently engaged in discussions concerning a time-table for their relocation to the Northern Pacific right-of-way at the south edge of downtown.

A one million dollar fund guarantee drive by business community and the citizenry is under way. This is the interim financing vehicle that is needed for staffing up the operation and for retaining the consultants who will be so essential to the proper planning of such an event. A non-profit corporation has been formed known as the “Spokane Centennial Association” which is legally constituted to be a recipient of guarantees and monies under IRS regulations for tax deductions.

Some businesses have agreed to sign these guarantees which were prepared by the Clearing House Association of Spokane and which will remain in the bank (as was the case in Seattle for their World's Fair). Money will be drawn against these guarantees and repaid with interest to the banks.

cont'd . . .

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In Seattle the revenue from admissions, advance ticket sales, medallion sales and concession fees was sufficient to repay all advances with interest made by the banks (with the guarantees as collateral) and consequently no call was ever made on any of the guarantees. This is our goal in Spokane. Other firms, not in a position to sign such guarantees, have offered to purchase time deposit certificates which will be put in the bank on behalf of the Centennial Association as collateral for loans to the Centennial Association. These debentures will draw interest from the banks from the date of their deposit. Although in Seattle the backers were never called upon to make payment on their guarantees the understanding there, as it will be in Spokane, is that these guarantees for the payment, if necessary, up to the amount committed if there is an deficiency at the end of the fair.

The celebration of this event has been enthusiastically endorsed not only by the City of Spokane, the County of Spokane, the State legislature, the governor, and the many public and private organizations affiliated with the county-wide citizens committee, Associations for a Better Community (ABC), but also by the entire business community of the Inland Empire representing the professions, lumbering, mining, agriculture and power.


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