Governor Martin Alumni House

The house that now contains the Eastern Washington University Alumni Association, was originally one of three houses that Governor Clarence Martin owned in Cheney. The house served as the Governor's house until it was converted into office space for the university's Alumni and other organizations on June 9, 1989. The house is in the shape of a "U" with a side garage and well manicured front lawn. It faces Showalter Hall.


Clarence Martin was born on June 29, 1884 in Cheney where his father ran the Cheney Grain and Milling Company. Martin stayed close to this area, graduating from the Cheney Normal School in 1903. He continued his education at the University of Washington graduating in 1906. After his graduation, he went back to Cheney to help his father run the Grain and Mill Company.


Martin's political career took off when he was elected to be on the City Council of Cheney in 1915. He served as the Cheney Mayor from 1928-1936. During his term as Mayor, he also ran for Governor of Washington and won in 1933. He was allowed to continue his term as Mayor and would travel back and forth between Olympia and Cheney after each legislative session. During his gubernatorial term in the 1930's, he was a strong proponent of stricter controls over liquor. After his term as Governor he also served as a stand in State Representative for the 5th District in 1944.


During his life, Martin was married three times and had three sons. His first marriage was just out of college to a woman named Margaret Milligan in 1907. They divorced in 1943 and he remarried to Merle L. Lewis in 1944. That marriage only lasted about two years and ended in 1946. His third and final marriage was to Lou Eckhart in 1951. Governor Martin died on August 11, 1955 at the age of 71 and is buried in the Fairmont Memorial Park in Spokane, WA. His most remembered contribution to Washington was his creation of the Columbia Basin Commission that oversaw the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.


The Clarence D. Martin football stadium at Washington State University was named after him because of the large contribution he made to the building of the new field. During the renovation of the stadium after a fire, Dan Martin the son of Governor Martin, gave a $250,000 contribution but said that the school had to name the stadium after his father. The field was unveiled on September 30, 1972 during the Cougars first returning game against Utah.

Images

Audio

Martin Demands Sane Liquor Control
This article was printed in the Spokane Daily Chronicle on December 5, 1933. Narration provided by Chad Funk.
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