City of Spokane honors man who saved its iconic clock tower 50 years ago

SPOKANE, Wash. — Can you imagine Spokane without its iconic Riverfront Park clock tower? That could have been the case if it wasn’t for one man’s efforts.

That man is Jerry Quinn Sr. On Wednesday, the city honored him for his fight to save the clock tower 50 years ago.

City leaders wanted to bring Expo ’74 to town so all eyes would be on Spokane. Getting that meant clearing up the old railroad station and clock tower in the downtown area and building a park.

Quinn wanted to save both the tower and the train station. He launched the “Save Our Stations” campaign and rallied the community together to fight for both.

Ultimately, the train station was demolished. However, the clock tower still stands.

“The tower has now become the icon of Spokane, and it’s recognized as such. I’m appreciative that I had a part to play in saving it,” Quinn said at the celebration Wednesday.

His daughter was there and said there needs to be more courageous leaders like her dad. People who are courageous enough to save a piece of Spokane’s history.

“My dad had integrity, but as a leader he became courageous,” she said.

However, Quinn believes the history has been lost over the past 50 years.

“People call it the clock tower they weren’t making any reference to the railroad’s investment in this. There was a railroad station here that handled hundreds and thousands of visitors, customers, travelers,” Quinn said.

The tower is a glimpse back into a time that Quinn hopes to keep alive.

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