City to Celebrate Saving of Riverfront Clock Tower on October 13

Campaign to “Save our Stations” Turns 50

Media: Fianna Dickson, 625.6297. Parks & Recreation: 311 or 509.755.2489

Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 9:04 a.m.

SPOKANE – The City of Spokane and Mayor Nadine Woodward will honor the man who spearheaded the community effort to save the clock tower in Riverfront Park 50 years ago.

A ceremony honoring Jerry Quinn, Sr. will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the base of the clock tower. All community members are welcome.

At the event, Mayor Woodward and other community members will celebrate our historic clock tower. Jerry Quinn, Sr. will give an overview of the history of the railroads and their importance in building our city.



The clock tower stands as a central visual of the Spokane skyline. But 50 years ago, saving the clock tower required a concerted community effort, and Jerry Quinn, Sr. led that charge beginning in 1971. 

The Great Northern Station and clock tower were the visual centerpiece of Spokane and the travel center of the western United States. When Expo ’74 became the city’s priority, some local leaders feared Expo needed everything in the area to be demolished. This demolition plan included both historic stations.

Jerry Quinn appreciated the significance of railroads to our city as well as the craftsmanship of these historical buildings and jumped into action. He was an advertising professional, and President of the Inland Empire Railway Historical Society.

“We worked with the Spokane Ad Club to produce a billboard and transit campaign that said ‘SOS – Save Our Stations.’ Then, we brought a ballot measure that included saving the station as a historical monument. We caught a lot of resistance from the city, but we were undaunted.”

In the fall of 1972, the ballot measure failed, but the city saw the support Quinn generated for the station and saved the clock tower. Today, the tower is the central part of Spokane’s skyline and still stands as a monument to the importance of the railroad industry to the establishment and growth of our city.

“We created so much publicity about the long-term value of these historic depots, Burlington Northern reacted by keeping and restoring other train stations located in the Northwest; including Tacoma, Livingston, Helena and Missoula, Montana!”

“Every time I drive by the clock tower, I still get a warm feeling in my heart because of the efforts of many of us who love this icon. Some friends still call it Quinn Tower.”


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