Our Northwest

Dig seeks remnants of Spokane’s frontier origins

Thursday, July 28, 2016by  Jon Osterberg
An archaeology team is hard at work sifting through soil and seeking artifacts beneath Spokane’s Riverfront Park, the site of the Expo 74 world’s fair
     What many may not know is that Expo 74 was built on top of a neighborhood dating to the 1870s that housed 1,000 residents and 40 businesses at its peak.
     The scenic 100-acre site overlooking the Spokane River and Spokane Falls once contained the nascent city’s Chinatown, a community for railroad laborers, and even a red-light district.
     Items already recovered include bottles, ceramics, and horseshoes, as well as slag from an 1891 blacksmith shop.
     It surprised me a bit to read about the $64 million project to renovate and update Riverfront Park. Renovation, already? Expo 74 and all of its sights and sounds remain vivid in my memory. It couldn’t have been all that long ago that I was there, right?
     No. That’s the trick that time plays, quickening as we age. I was 20 years old at that fair, which took place … seriously? Forty-two years ago?
     Perhaps Riverfront Park needs a facelift, after all.
     Read about Spokane’s archaeological dig in The Spokesman-Review.

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