The Clocktower on Havermale Island was originally part of the Great Northern Railroad Depot. Construction began in 1901 and finished in 1902. The depot was an impressive brick building 3 stories tall, with the monumental Clocktower standing in at 155 feet.
The Clocktower’s South wall was part of the depot’s exterior, while the lower portions of the North, East, and West walls resided in the building.
If you look closely at the East and West walls (about halfway up) you will see a sloping line where the roof was originally located.
During 1972 and 1973, long after the “glory days” of train travel, the Great Northern Railroad Depot was demolished as Spokane made preparations for Expo’ 74. The Clocktower was able to be preserved and serves as a reminder of Spokane’s railroad history.
This 110 year-old “giant grandfather clock” is wound by hand once a week. The clockworks are housed in a small room behind the 4 clock faces. Each week, a technician climbs 5 stories to reach the clockworks. It takes 99 turns of the crank to rewind the clock.
The pendulum weighs about 200 pounds and is suspended from a thin strip of metal. The counterweights hang from cables and descend approximately 40 feet between windings. If the time needs to be adjusted, it is done from inside the clockworks room.
The clock hands on each face are attached to a shaft which connects to a U-joint in the clockworks. Each clock face measures 9 feet in diameter. At the top of every hour, the clocktower can be heard throughout the park. The sound of the electronic chimes is amplified through speakers in the top of the tower.