Then and Now

Riverfront Park Clock Tower

The iconic Riverfront Park clock tower started its life as the centerpiece of the Great Northern Railroad depot, finished in 1902. Decades later Burlington Northern donated the land and the tower, which, according to a brass plaque on its side, “stands as a monument to the railroad industry and its role in the development of Spokane and the Pacific Northwest.”


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Image One Photo Archive The Spokesman-Review Image Two Jesse Tinsley The Spokesman-Review

The iconic Riverfront Park clock tower started its life as the centerpiece of the Great Northern Railroad depot, finished in 1902. For decades it cast its shadow over Spokanites rushing to board trains and it watched thousands of freight cars rumble past. But by the early 1970s, as songwriter Steve Goodman was singing about “the disappearing railroad blues”, plans were made to demolish the aging depot and remove the rails to make way for Expo ‘74. But they saved the elegant tower, which stands 155 feet tall and has a hand-wound four-sided clock. Burlington Northern donated the land and the tower, which, according to a brass plaque on its side, “stands as a monument to the railroad industry and its role in the development of Spokane and the Pacific Northwest.”


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