Jeff Humphrey

Spokane Almost Leveled Clock Tower

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868


Friday, October 15, 2021 at 11:23 a.m.

It’s hard to imagine, but most of Riverfront Park used to be a busy rail yard.

On both sides of our historic Clock Tower, the Great Northern Depot once welcomed train passengers to the Pacific Northwest.

“Fifty feet from where I’m standing, you could go anywhere in the country. The tracks were right here, where passenger trains stopped and let off travelers, visitors, veterans coming back from the war, meeting their loved one’s right here,” said Jerry Quinn Sr., as he stood at the base of the Clock Tower.

However, in order to make room for Expo ‘74, the city tore up the tracks and leveled the train station.

Fortunately, the Clock Tower was spared the wrecking ball thanks to a courageous campaign by Quinn.

I am grateful, as I’m sure all of you are, for the man of the hour, Jerry Quinn Senior, for having the gumption to take on city hall,” said Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward during a recent ceremony honoring Quinn’s efforts.

More than 50 years ago, Quinn had the foresight to lead the charge to save the Clock Tower.

Quinn’s group, called “Save Our Stations”, used advertising to rally the community’s support for preserving our railroad heritage.

“It’s not easy taking on a project like this, but it seems like it was worthwhile and I’m so pleased that everybody here, must feel a similar reaction to the effort. Thank you very much,” said Quinn after the mayor presented Quinn with a salutation from the city.

So thanks to Quinn’s help, the Clock Tower, that once kept trains running on time, has now become one of the most recognizable parts of the Spokane skyline.

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