Tacoma (/təˈkoʊmə/ tə-KOH-mə) is a mid-sized urban port city and
the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The
city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest
Seattle (of which it is a satellite), 31 miles (50 km)
northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km)
Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397,
according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in
Puget Sound area and the third largest in the state. Tacoma also
serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region,
which has a population of around 1 million.
Tacoma adopted its name after the nearby Mount Rainier, originally
called Takhoma or Tahoma. It is locally known as the "City of Destiny"
because the area was chosen to be the western terminus of the Northern
Railroad in the late 19th century. The decision of the
railroad was influenced by Tacoma's neighboring deep-water harbor,
Commencement Bay. By connecting the bay with the railroad, Tacoma's
motto became "When rails meet sails".
Commencement Bay serves the Port
of Tacoma, a center of international trade on the
Pacific Coast and
Washington State's largest port.
Like most central cities, Tacoma suffered a prolonged decline in the
mid-20th century as a result of suburbanization and divestment. Since
the 1990s, developments in the downtown core include the University of
Washington Tacoma; Tacoma Link, the first modern electric light rail
service in the state; the state's highest density of art and history
museums; and a restored urban waterfront, the Thea Foss Waterway.
Neighborhoods such as the 6th Avenue District have been revitalized.
Tacoma has been named one of the most livable areas in the United
States. In 2006, Tacoma was listed as one of the "most walkable"
cities in the country. That same year, the women's magazine Self
named Tacoma the "Most Sexually Healthy City" in the United
Tacoma gained notoriety in 1940 for the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows
Bridge, which earned the nickname "Galloping Gertie". Tacoma is also
known for a prevalent, distinctive and pungent odor known as the Aroma
1.1 Early history
1.2 Early 20th century
1.3 The Great Depression
1.3.1 Tacoma's Hooverville
1.5 Downtown revival
2.2 Surrounding cities
3.1 2010 census
5 Commerce and industry
5.1 Top employers
6.1 Roads and highways
6.2 Public transportation
7 Public utilities
9.1 Historic landmarks
11 Cultural attractions
12 Mass media
14 Notable people
16 Sister cities
17 See also
19 External links
View of the
Mount Rainier and the
Port of Tacoma
Port of Tacoma from Brown's Point,
The city of Tacoma and surrounding areas were inhabited for thousands
of years by American Indians, predominantly the Puyallup people, who
lived in settlements on the delta.
In 1852, a Swede named Nicolas Delin built a water-powered sawmill on
a creek near the head of Commencement Bay, but the small settlement
that grew around it was abandoned during the Indian War of 1855–56.
In 1864, pioneer and postmaster Job Carr, a Civil War veteran and land
speculator, built a cabin (which also served as Tacoma's first post
office; a replica was built in 2000 near the original site in "Old
Town"). Carr hoped to profit from the selection of Commencement
Bay as the terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad, and sold most of
his claim to developer
Morton M. McCarver
Morton M. McCarver (1807–1875), who named his
project Tacoma City, derived from the indigenous name for the
Tacoma was incorporated on November 12, 1875, following its selection
in 1873 as the western terminus of the
Northern Pacific Railroad
Northern Pacific Railroad due
to lobbying by McCarver, future mayor John Wilson Sprague, and others.
However, the railroad built its depot on "New Tacoma", two miles
(3 km) south of the Carr–McCarver development. The two
communities grew together and joined, merging on January 7, 1884. The
transcontinental link was effected in 1887, and the population grew
from 1,098 in 1880 to 36,006 in 1890.
Rudyard Kipling visited Tacoma
in 1889 and said it was "literally staggering under a boom of the
Commencement Bay Land and Improvement Co. played a major role in
the city's early growth.
George Francis Train
George Francis Train was a resident for a few years in the late 19th
century. In 1890, he staged a global circumnavigation starting and
ending in Tacoma to promote the city. A plaque in downtown Tacoma
marks the start and finish line.
In November 1885, white citizens led by then-mayor Jacob Weisbach
expelled several hundred Chinese residents peacefully living in the
city. As described by the account prepared by the Chinese
Reconciliation Project Foundation, on the morning of November 3,
"several hundred men, led by the mayor and other city officials,
evicted the Chinese from their homes, corralled them at 7th Street and
Pacific Avenue, marched them to the railway station at Lakeview and
forced them aboard the morning train to Portland, Oregon. The next day
two Chinese settlements were burned to the ground."
The discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1898 led to Tacoma's
prominence in the region being eclipsed by the development of Seattle.
A major tragedy marred the end of the 19th century, when a streetcar
accident resulted in significant loss of life on July 4, 1900.
Early 20th century
Downtown, early 20th century
From May to August 1907, the city was the site of a smelter workers'
strike organized by Local 545 of the Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW), with the goal of a fifty-cent per day pay raise. The
strike was strongly opposed by the local business community, and the
smelter owners threatened to blacklist organizers and union officials.
The IWW opposed this move by trying to persuade inbound workers to
avoid Tacoma during the strike. By August, the strike had ended
without meeting its demands.
Tacoma was briefly (1915–1922) a major destination for big-time
automobile racing, with one of the nation's top-rated racing venues
just outside the city limits, at the site of today's Clover Park
In 1924, Tacoma's first movie studio, H. C. Weaver Studio, was sited
at present-day Titlow Beach. At the time, it was the third-largest
freestanding film production space in America, with the two larger
facilities being located in Hollywood. The studio's importance has
undergone a revival with the discovery of one of its most famous lost
films, Eyes of the Totem.
The Great Depression
The 1929 crash of the stock market, resulting in the Great Depression,
was only the first event in a series of bad misfortunes to hit Tacoma
in the winter of 1929–30. One of the coldest winters on record,
Tacoma experienced mass power outages and eventually the shutdown of
major power supply dams, leaving the city without sufficient power and
heat. During the 30-day power shortage in the winter of 1929 and
1930, the engines of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington provided
Tacoma with electricity.
A power grid failure paired with a newly rewritten city constitution
– put into place to keep political power away from a single entity
such as the railroad – created a standstill in the ability to
further the local economy. Local businesses were affected as the
sudden stop of loans limited progression of expansion and renewal
funds for maintenance, leading to foreclosures. Families across
the city experienced the fallout of economic depression as
breadwinners sought to provide for their families. Shanty-town
politics began to develop as the destitute needed some form of
leadership to keep the peace.
1924 – Tacoma starts feeling the coming economic crises; homeless
settle on the waterfront.
1927 – Tacoma's
Hooverville is coined "Hollywood" due to the type of
crimes at the camp.
Hollywood suffers problems stemming from alcohol and
1937 – Tacoma committee assesses the "Real Social Problem" of the
1940 – After eviction notices fail, the police department attempt to
1956 – The last occupant is removed and police burn and flatten the
remains of the settlement.
At the intersection of Dock Street EXD and East D Street in the train
yard, a shanty town became the solution to the growing scar of the
Hooverville grew in 1924 as the homeless
community settled on the waterfront. The population boomed in November
1930 through early 1931 as families from the neighboring McKinley and
Hilltop areas were evicted.
Collecting scraps of metal and wood from local lumber stores and
recycling centers, families began building shanties (shacks) for
shelter. Alcoholism and suicide became a common event in the
Hooverville that eventually led to its nickname of "
Hollywood on the
Tide Flats", because of the Hollywood-style crimes and events taking
place in the camp.[further explanation needed] In 1956, the last
occupant of "Hollywood" was evicted and the police used fire to level
the grounds and make room for industrial growth.
In 1935, Tacoma received national attention when George Weyerhaeuser,
the nine-year-old son of prominent lumber industry executive J.P.
Weyerhaeuser, was kidnapped while walking home from school. FBI
agents from Portland handled the case, in which a ransom of $200,000
secured the release of the victim. Four persons were apprehended and
convicted, the last to be released was paroled from
McNeil Island in
George Weyerhaeuser went on to become chairman of the Board of
the Weyerhaeuser Company.
In 1951, an investigation by a state legislative committee revealed
widespread corruption in Tacoma's government, which had been organized
commission-style since 1910. Voters approved a mayor and city-manager
system in 1952.
Tacoma was featured prominently in the garage rock sound of the
mid-1960s with bands including The Wailers and The Sonics. The surf
The Ventures were also from Tacoma.
Downtown Tacoma experienced a long decline through the mid-20th
century. Harold Moss, later the city's mayor, characterized late-1970s
Tacoma as looking "bombed out" like "downtown Beirut" (a reference to
Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War that occurred at that time); "Streets were
abandoned, storefronts were abandoned and City Hall was the headstone
and Union Station the footstone" on the grave of downtown.
The first local referendums in the U.S. on computerized voting
occurred in Tacoma in 1982 and 1987. On both occasions, voters
rejected the computer voting systems that local officials sought to
purchase. The campaigns, organized by Eleanora Ballasiotes, a
conservative Republican, focused on the vulnerabilities of computers
to fraud. In 1998, Tacoma installed a high-speed fiber optic
network throughout the community. The municipally owned power company,
Tacoma Power, wired the city.
Aerial view of central Tacoma.
Commencement Bay is at lower right.
Beginning in the early 1990s, city residents and planners took steps
to revitalize Tacoma, particularly its downtown. Among the projects
were the federal courthouse in the former Union Station (1991) Save
Our Station community group; Merritt+Pardini Architect (1991); Reed
& Stem Arcitects (1911); the adaptation of a group of century-old
brick warehouses into a branch campus of the University of Washington;
the numerous privately financed renovation projects near the campus;
Washington State History Museum
Washington State History Museum (1996), echoing the architecture
of Union Station; the
Museum of Glass
Museum of Glass (2002); the Tacoma Art Museum
(2003); and the region's first light-rail line (2003). The glass
Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center
Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center opened in
America's Car Museum
America's Car Museum was completed in late 2011
near the Tacoma Dome.
The Pantages Theater (first opened in 1918) anchors downtown Tacoma's
Theatre District. The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
manages the Pantages, the Rialto Theater, and the Theatre on the
Square, as well as Tacoma Little Theatre. Other attractions include
the Grand Cinema and the Temple Theatre.
Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood struggled with crime in the 1980s and
early 1990s, but the neighborhood is experiencing gentrification. The
beginning of the 21st Century has seen a marked reduction in crime,
while neighborhoods have enacted community policing and other
Bill Baarsma (mayor, 2002–2010) was a member of the
Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a
stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off
the streets." The coalition was co-chaired by
New York City
New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In 2004, Tacoma was ranked among the top 30 Most Livable Communities
in an annual survey conducted by the Partners for Livable
Communities. In 2009, Tacoma elected its second African-American
mayor, Marilyn Strickland.
Tacoma is at 47°14′29″N 122°27′34″W / 47.24139°N
122.45944°W / 47.24139; -122.45944 (47.241371, −122.459389).
Its elevation is 381 feet (116 m).
According to the United States
Census Bureau, the city has an area of
62.34 square miles (161.46 km2), of which 49.72 square miles
(128.77 km2) is land and 12.62 square miles (32.69 km2) is
Tacoma straddles the neighboring
Commencement Bay with several smaller
cities surrounding it. Large areas of Tacoma have views of Mount
Rainier. In the event of a major eruption of Mount Rainier, portions
of Tacoma are at risk from lahars.
The city is several miles north of Joint Base Lewis–McChord,
formerly known separately as
Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Tacoma has a Warm
Mediterranean Climate (Köppen Csb), because four months of the
year have a precipitation less than 40 millimeters.
Climate data for
Tacoma, Washington (1981–2010 normals, extremes
Record high °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Average precipitation inches (mm)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Source #1: NOAA
Source #2: The Weather Channel
Places adjacent to Tacoma, Washington
U.S. Decennial Census
As of 2000,[update] the median income for a household in the city was
$37,879, and the median income for a family was $45,567. Males had a
median income of $35,820, versus $27,697 for females. The per capita
income for the city was $19,130. About 11.4% of families and 15.9% of
the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those
under the age of 18 and 10.9% of those 65 and older.
As of the census of 2010, there were 198,397 people, 78,541
households, and 45,716 families residing in the city. The population
density was 3,864.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,492.2/km2). There
were 81,102 housing units at an average density of 1,619.4 per square
mile (625.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 64.9% White (60.5%
Non-Hispanic White), 12.2% African American, 8.2% Asian (2.1%
Vietnamese, 1.6% Cambodian, 1.3% Korean, 1.3% Filipino, 0.4% Chinese,
0.4% Japanese, 0.2% Indian, 0.2% Laotian, 0.1% Thai), 1.8% Native
American, 1.2% Pacific Islander (0.7% Samoan, 0.2% Guamanian, 0.1%
Native Hawaiian), and 8.1% were from two or more races. Hispanic or
Latino residents of any race were 11.3% of the population (8.1%
Mexican, 1.1% Puerto Rican).
There were 78,541 households of which 31.0% had children under the age
of 18 living with them, 37.8% were married couples living together,
14.8% had a female householder with no spouse present, 5.6% had a male
householder with no spouse present, and 41.8% were other families.
32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.10.
The median age in the city was 35.1 years. 23% of residents were under
the age of 18; 10.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.6% were
from 25 to 44; 25.3% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of
age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.4% male and 50.6%
The government of the city of Tacoma operates under a council-manager
system. The city council consists of an elected mayor (Victoria
Woodards) and eight elected council members: five from individual city
council districts and three others from the city at-large. All serve
four-year terms and are elected in odd-numbered years. The council
adopts and amends city laws, approves a two-year budget, establishes
city policy, appoints citizens to boards and commissions, and performs
other actions. The council also meets in "standing committees", which
examine the council's work in more defined areas, such as "Environment
& Public Works", "Neighborhoods & Housing", and "Public
Safety, Human Services & Education". The council meets as a whole
most Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. in the council chambers at 747 Market
St. Meetings are open to the public and provide for public input.
Normal day-to-day operations of the city government are administered
by Tacoma's city manager, who is appointed by the city council.
Elizabeth Pauli was appointed Interim City Manager on February 6,
2017. She replaced former manager T.C. Broadnax, who was
appointed to the office in January 2012 and left in 2017 to become
the city manager of Dallas, Texas.
At the federal level, Tacoma is part of three congressional districts.
The western portion of the city is part of the 6th District,
represented by Derek Kilmer. The eastern portion is in the 10th
District, represented by Denny Heck. Northeastern Tacoma is in the 9th
District, represented by Adam Smith. All three are Democrats.[citation
Commerce and industry
The Port of Tacoma, on Commencement Bay, is one of the largest
seaports in the Pacific Northwest.
Tacoma is the home of several international companies including
staffing company True Blue Inc. (formerly Labor Ready), lumber company
Simpson and the food companies
Roman Meal and Brown and Haley.
Frank C. Mars founded
Mars, Incorporated in 1911 in Tacoma.
Beginning in the 1930s, Tacoma became known for the "Tacoma Aroma", a
distinctive, acrid odor produced by paper manufacturing on the
industrial tide flats. In the late 1990s, Simpson Tacoma Kraft reduced
total sulfur emissions by 90%. This largely eliminated the problem;
where once the odor was ever-present, it is now only noticeable
occasionally downtown, primarily when the wind is coming from the
U.S. Oil and Refining
U.S. Oil and Refining operates an oil refinery on the tide flats in
the Port of Tacoma. Built in Tacoma in 1952, it refines 39,000 barrels
of petroleum per day.
Tacoma Mall is the largest shopping center in Tacoma. It is owned
by Simon Property Group. Anchor tenants include JC Penney, Sears,
Macy's, and Nordstrom.
An economic setback for the city occurred in September 2009 when
Russell Investments, which has been in downtown Tacoma since its
inception in 1936, announced it was moving its headquarters to Seattle
along with several hundred white-collar jobs. A large regional
office for State Farm Insurance now occupies the former Russell
Hospitals in Tacoma are operated by
MultiCare Health System
MultiCare Health System and
Franciscan Health System. Hospitals include MultiCare Tacoma General
Hospital, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, MultiCare Allenmore
Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center.
According to Tacoma's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,
the top employers in Pierce County are:
No. of Employees
Joint Base Lewis–McChord
Local public school districts
MultiCare Health System
State of Washington
Franciscan Health System
Washington State Higher Education
Fred Meyer Stores
State Farm Insurance
City of Tacoma
Tacoma's system of transportation is based primarily on the
automobile. The majority of the city has a system of gridded streets
oriented in relation to A Street (one block east of Pacific Avenue)
and 6th Avenue or Division Avenue, both beginning in downtown Tacoma.
Within the city, and with a few exceptions, east-to-west streets are
numbered and north-to-south streets are given a name or a letter. Some
east-to-west streets are also given names, such as S. Center St. and
N. Westgate Blvd. Streets are generally labeled "North", "South",
"East", or "North East" according to their relationship with 6th
Avenue or Division Avenue (west of 'Division Ave', '6th Avenue' is the
lowest-numbered street, making it the dividing street between "North"
and "South"), 'A Street' (which is the dividing line between "East"
and "South"), or 1st Street NE (which is the dividing line between
"East" and "North East"). This can lead to confusion, as most named
streets intersect streets of the same number in both north and south
Tacoma. For example, the intersection of South 11th Street and South
Union Avenue is just ten blocks south of North 11th Street and North
To the east of the Thea Foss waterway and 'A Street', streets are
similarly divided into "East" and "Northeast", with 1st Street NE
being in-line with the Pierce–King county line. "North East" covers
a small wedge of Tacoma and unincorporated Pierce County (around
Browns Point and Dash Point) lying on the hill across the tideflats
from downtown. Tacoma does have some major roads which do not seem to
follow any naming rules. These roads include Schuster Pkwy, Pacific
Ave, Puyallup Ave,
Tacoma Mall Blvd, Marine View Dr (SR 509), and
Northshore Pkwy. Tacoma also has some major roads which appear to
change names in different areas (most notable are Tyler St/Stevens St,
Oakes St/Pine St/Cedar St/Alder St, and S. 72nd St/S. 74th St). These
major arterials actually shift over to align with other roads, which
causes them to have the name changed.
This numeric system extends to the furthest reaches of unincorporated
Pierce County (with roads outside of the city carrying "East", "West",
"North West", and "South West", except on the Key Peninsula, which
retains the north-south streets but chooses the Pierce–Kitsap county
line as the zero point for east-west streets. Key Peninsula's roads
also carry a "KP N" or "KP S" ("
Key Peninsula North" or "Key Peninsula
South") designation at the end of the street name.
In portions of the city dating back to the Tacoma
(1888–1938), denser mixed-use business districts exist alongside
single family homes. Twelve such districts have active,
city-recognized business associations and hold "small town"-style
parades and other festivals. The
Proctor District, Tacoma, Old Town,
Dome, 6th Avenue, Stadium, Lincoln Business District, and South Tacoma
Business Districts are some of the more prominent and popular of these
and coordinate their efforts to redevelop urban villages through the
Cross District Association of Tacoma. In newer portions of the
city to the west and south, residential culs-de-sac, four-lane
collector roads and indoor shopping centers are more commonplace.
Roads and highways
Seven highways end in or pass through Tacoma: I-5, I-705, SR 7, SR 16,
SR 163, SR 167, and SR 509.
The dominant intercity transportation link between Tacoma and other
parts of the
Puget Sound is Interstate 5, which links Tacoma with
Seattle to the north and Portland, Oregon, to the south. State Route
16 runs along a concrete viaduct through Tacoma's Nalley Valley,
connecting Interstate 5 with Central and West Tacoma, the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge, and the Kitsap Peninsula. Seattle-Tacoma International
Airport lies 22 miles (35 km) north, in the city of SeaTac.
Tacoma Link light rail train at
Tacoma Dome Station
Public transportation in Tacoma includes buses, commuter rail, light
rail, and ferries. Public bus service is provided by Pierce Transit,
which serves Tacoma and Pierce County.
Pierce Transit operates 43 bus
routes (5 of which through Sound Transit), using mostly buses powered
by compressed natural gas. Bus service operates at 30–60 minute
frequencies daily, while three heavily ridden "trunk" routes are
mostly served every 20 minutes on weekdays and every half-hour to an
hour on weekends as of October 2, 2011
Sound Transit, the regional transit authority, provides weekday
Sounder Commuter Rail
Sounder Commuter Rail service and daily express bus service to and
Sound Transit has also established
Tacoma Link light
rail, a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) free electric streetcar line linking
Tacoma Dome Station with the University of Washington, Tacoma,
Tacoma's Museum District, and the Theater District. Expansion of the
city's rail transit system is in planning stages by the city of Tacoma
and Sound Transit. The line will be extended north along Commerce
St/Stadium Way and then west along Division Ave. It will then turn
south along Martin Luther King Jr Way and end near South 19th Street.
The Washington State
Ferries system, which has a dock at Point
Defiance, provides ferry access to Tahlequah at the southern tip of
Amtrak station in Tacoma.
Greyhound intercity bus service is accessible via
Tacoma Dome Station.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Tacoma
Tacoma Dome Station. The Cascades trains, operating as far north
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia and as far south as Eugene, Oregon,
serve Tacoma several times daily in both directions. The long-distance
Coast Starlight operates daily between
Seattle and Los Angeles via the
San Francisco Bay Area.
Tacoma's relationship with public utilities extends back to 1893. At
that time the city was undergoing a boom in population, causing it to
exceed the available amount of fresh water supplied by Charles B.
Wright's Tacoma Light & Water Company. In response to both this
demand and a growing desire to have local public control over the
utility system, the city council put up a public vote to acquire and
expand the private utility. The measure passed on July 1, 1893, with
3,195 in favor of acquiring the utility system and 1,956 voting
against. Since then,
Tacoma Public Utilities
Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) has grown from a
small water and light utility to be the largest department in the
city's government, employing about 1,200 people.
Tacoma Power, a division of TPU, provides residents of Tacoma and
several bordering municipalities with electrical power generated by
eight hydroelectric dams on the
Skokomish River and elsewhere.
Environmentalists, fishermen, and the Skokomish Indian Tribe have
criticized TPU's operation of Cushman Dam on the North Fork of the
Skokomish River; the tribe's $6 billion claim was denied by the
U.S. Supreme court in January 2006. The capacity of Tacoma's
hydroelectric system as of 2004 was 713,000 kilowatts, or about 50% of
the demand made up by TPU's customers (the rest is purchased from
other utilities). According to TPU, hydroelectricity provides about
87% of Tacoma's power; coal 3%; natural gas 1%; nuclear 9%; and
biomass and wind at less than 1%.
Tacoma Power also operates the
Click! Network, a municipally owned cable television and internet
service. The residential cost per kilowatt hour of electricity is just
over 6 cents.
Tacoma Water provides customers in its service area with water from
the Green River Watershed. As of 2004, Tacoma Water provided water
services to 93,903 customers. The average annual cost for residential
supply was $257.84.
Tacoma Rail, initially a municipally owned street railway line running
to the tideflats, was converted to a common-carrier rail switching
Tacoma Rail is self-supporting and employs over 90 people.
In addition to municipal garbage collection, Tacoma offers commingled
recycling services for paper, cardboard, plastics, and metals.
Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park
Parks and recreation services in and around Tacoma are governed by
Metro Parks Tacoma, a municipal corporation established as a separate
entity from the city government in 1907. Metro Parks maintains over
fifty parks and open spaces in Tacoma.
Point Defiance Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country (at
700 acres), is in Tacoma. Scenic Five-Mile Drive allows access to
many of the park's attractions, such as Owen Beach, Camp Six (now
defunct), Fort Nisqually, and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
(PDZA). There are many historic structures within the park, including
the Pagoda, which was originally built as a streetcar waiting room. It
was restored in 1988 and now serves as a rental facility for weddings
and private parties. The Pagoda was nearly destroyed by fire on
August 15, 2011. Repair work began immediately after the fire and
continued until January 2013, at which time the Pagoda was reopened
for public use.
Ruston Way is a waterfront area along
Commencement Bay north of
downtown Tacoma that hosts several public parks connected by a
multi-use trail and interspersed with restaurants and other
businesses. Public parks along Ruston Way include Jack Hyde Park, Old
Town Dock, Hamilton Park, Dickman Mill Park, Les Davis Pier, Marine
Park, and Cummings Park. The trail is popular with walkers,
runners, cyclists, and other recreationalists. There are several
beaches along Ruston Way with public access, some of which are also
popular for scuba diving.
Another large park in Tacoma is Wapato Park, which has a lake and
walking trails that circle the lake. Wapato is in Tacoma's south end,
at Sheridan and 72nd St.
Titlow Beach, at the end of 6th Avenue, is a popular scuba diving
Wright Park, near downtown, is a large, English-style park designed in
the late 19th century by Edward Otto Schwagerl and Ebenezer Rhys
Roberts. It contains
Wright Park Arboretum
Wright Park Arboretum and the W. W. Seymour
Botanical Conservatory. This beautiful historic park is also the home
of local festivals such as Ethnic Fest, Out in the Park (Tacoma's
Pride festival), and the Tacoma Hempfest (Tacoma's annual
gathering advocating decriminalization of marijuana).
Jefferson Park in North Tacoma is the location of a new sprayground,
an area designed to be a safe and unique play area where water is
sprayed from structures or ground sprays and then drained away before
it can accumulate.
Frost Park in downtown Tacoma is often utilized for sidewalk chalk
In response to the Tacoma area's growing dog population and stricter
leash laws in many areas, dog parks have begun to be established to
give local dogs room to run around and play legally. Rogers Off-Leash
Dog Park is a metro public park established in 1949.
Tacoma includes several landmarks and was home to prolific architects,
including Everett Phipps Babcock, Frederick Heath, Ambrose J. Russell,
and Silas E. Nelsen.
Two suspension bridges span a narrow section of the
Salish Sea called
the Tacoma Narrows. The Tacoma Narrows Bridges link Tacoma to Gig
Harbor and the Kitsap Peninsula. The failure of the first Tacoma
Narrows Bridge, which was the third-longest suspension bridge in the
world, is a famous case study in architecture textbooks.
National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places listings in Pierce
County, Washington § Tacoma
Fireboat No. 1
Tacoma has many properties that are listed on the City of Tacoma
Register of Historic Places, the Washington State Heritage Register,
and the National Register of Historic Places.
The city of Tacoma has an active municipal historic preservation
program, which includes 165 individual city landmarks and over 1,000
historic properties included within five locally regulated historic
Engine House No. 9 is a fire station built in 1907. The building was
placed on the
National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The
building houses a pub and microbrewery.
Stadium High School
Stadium High School and the Stadium Bowl, part of the Tacoma School
District, provided a setting for the movie 10 Things I Hate About
You.[relevant? – discuss]
Fireboat No. 1
Fireboat No. 1 rests on a permanent dry berth at a public beach near
Tacoma's Old Town neighborhood. It was built in 1929 for the Port of
Tacoma by the Coastline Shipbuilding Company, and served for 54 years
in waterfront fire protection, harbor security patrols, search and
rescue missions, and water pollution control. It is one of only five
fireboats designated as a National Historic Landmark. Visitors are
able to walk around her exterior, but her interior is closed to the
East 21st Street Bridge, 2006
William Ross Rust House
William Ross Rust House is a home in Colonial/Classic Revival style,
built in 1905 by
Ambrose J. Russell
Ambrose J. Russell (architect) and Charles Miller
Murray Morgan Bridge
Murray Morgan Bridge is a 1911 steel lift bridge across the Thea Foss
Waterway; it closed in 2007 to all automobile traffic due to its
deteriorating condition but was reopened in February 2013 to all
traffic following a substantial rehabilitation.
College Park National Historic District
Cushman Substation & Towers, National Register of Historic Places
Other notable buildings include the National Realty Building, Lincoln
High School, Rhodes House, Pythian Temple, Perkins Building, Tacoma
Dome, Rhodesleigh, and Engine House No. 9. The famous Luzon Building
and Nihon Go Gakko school house have been demolished, and the MV
Kalakala was scrapped in early 2015. University of Puget Sound,
Cushman Dam No. 1, Cushman Dam No. 2, Rialto Theater, and Union
Station are also noteworthy.
Stadium High School
Tacoma's main public school district is Tacoma Public Schools. The
district contains 36 elementary schools, eleven middle schools, and 10
high schools, including 3 non-traditional high schools (SAMi, SOTA,
and iDEA) and 2 alternative high schools (Oakland and Willie Stewart
Henry Foss High School operates an International
Baccalaureate program. Sheridan Elementary School operated three
foreign-language immersion programs (Spanish, French, and Japanese).
Mount Tahoma High School opened a new building in South Tacoma in the
fall of 2004.
Stadium High School
Stadium High School and Wilson High School were
remodeled/refurbished and reopened in September 2006.
Tacoma School of the Arts, opened in 2001 in downtown Tacoma, is an
arts-focused high school that serves as a national model for
educational innovation. SOTA is a public school, part of the Tacoma
Public Schools and is one of the nation's first schools to implement
standards-based instruction, influencing the design of many schools in
the nation. SOTA is in multiple venues around Downtown Tacoma and uses
Community Museums and Universities for instructional space. In 2009,
SOTA's staff expanded to a second, STEM-based high school located in
Point Defiance Park, the Science and Math Institute. In 2017, the
school district opened a third non-traditional high school in the same
vein as SAMI and SOTA, called iDEA (Industrial Design, Engineering,
and Art) in south Tacoma. SAMI and SOTA are the only schools in Tacoma
University of Washington
University of Washington in the Classroom college credit
options from the University of Washington. Lincoln High School
reopened in the fall of 2007 after a $75 million renovation and
The Annie Wright School
The area also has numerous private schools, including Evergreen
Lutheran High School, the Annie Wright School, Bellarmine Preparatory
School, Life Christian Academy, and Charles Wright Academy.
Tacoma's institutions of higher learning include the University of
Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, City University of
Seattle-Tacoma, Bates Technical College, The Evergreen State College
Corban University School of Ministry/Tacoma Campus, and
University of Washington
University of Washington Tacoma.
Pacific Lutheran University
Pacific Lutheran University is in
Parkland, just south of the city; nearby Lakewood is the home of
Clover Park Technical College
Clover Park Technical College and Pierce College.
Museum of Glass
Museum of Glass boasts an iconic structure standing near the Thea
Foss Waterway; the steel cone of the hot shop (glassblowing studio) is
one of the most recognizable structures in the city. It is connected
to the rest of the Museum District by the Bridge of Glass, which
features works by Tacoma native glass artist Dale Chihuly.
America's Car Museum
America's Car Museum opened in June 2012 and displays 300 vehicles in
various exhibits on vintage to modern automobiles. The museum pays
respects to Harold LeMay's collection, one of the world's largest,
with a permanent display entitled "Lucky's Garage". The rest of Harold
LeMay's collection can be viewed at the Marymount Event Center, home
of the LeMay Family Collection Foundation.
Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma Art Museum was founded in 1935 and reopened in 2003 in a new
building on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma – forming the "museum
district" with the
Museum of Glass
Museum of Glass and Washington State History
Museum. It is considered[according to whom?] a model for mid-sized
Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
Broadway Center for the Performing Arts is home to three theaters,
two of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. They are
home to the Tacoma Opera, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Northwest
Sinfionetta, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma
Philharmonic, Tacoma Youth Symphony, Theatre Northwest, and Puget
Revels (one of ten
Revels organizations nationwide).
Tacoma's Pantages Theater, a remnant of the vaudeville circuit founded
by Alexander Pantages.
The Tacoma Film Festival takes place annually at the Grand
Tacoma is home to the first modern American legal marijuana farmers
The downtown Tacoma farmers' market runs every Thursday, from May
through September, in the Theatre District. There are also
seasonal farmers markets in the
Proctor District (along Sixth
Avenue), and in South Tacoma.
Tacoma hosts part of the annual four-part Daffodil Parade, which takes
place every April in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting.
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot  celebrated its 15th anniversary
in 2014. Its motto is "taking the fear out of Shakespeare". They offer
both educational opportunities and inspired theater in and around
Fort Nisqually is a prominent local attraction featuring historical
The Tacoma Police Department is the site of a public memorial for
officers, dominated by the sculptures "Memories in Blue" and "For All
They Gave", by James Kelsey.
The city's major daily newspaper is The News Tribune, a subsidiary of
McClatchy Newspapers since 1986. Its circulation is about 85,000
(100,000 on Sundays), making it the state's third-largest newspaper. A
daily newspaper has been in circulation in Tacoma since 1883. Between
1907 and 1918, four dailies were published: The Tacoma Ledger, The
News, The Tacoma Tribune, and The Tacoma Times.
Tacoma receives Seattle-area TV and radio stations.
Tacoma is home to KBTC Public Television, a PBS member station serving
viewers throughout western Washington. KBTC is housed at the former
home of long-time Tacoma broadcaster, KSTW. The property was purchased
from KSTW when that station moved to Renton in 2001. It broadcasts on
digital channel 27, (28.1, 28.2, MHz Worldview, and 28.3, TVW). KBTC
Public Television is a service of Bates Technical College.
Local papers include the Tacoma Weekly, the legal paper Tacoma Daily
Index, the South Sound alternative newsweekly
Weekly Volcano and the
military publication the
Fort Lewis Ranger.
Pacific Coast League
Stadium High School
Seattle Sounders FC U-23
Premier Development League
Curtis Senior High School
Professional Developmental Football League
Franklin Pierce Stadium
Seattle Sounders FC 2
The city has struggled to keep a minor league hockey franchise. The
Tacoma Rockets of the
Western Hockey League
Western Hockey League moved to Kelowna, British
Tacoma Sabercats of the former West Coast Hockey League
closed their doors for financial reasons. The
Tacoma Dome still hosts
traveling sports and other events, such as pro-wrestling,
figure-skating tours, and the Harlem Globetrotters. At one point, the
Tacoma Dome was home to a professional indoor soccer team, the Tacoma
Stars. For the 1994–95 season, the
Seattle SuperSonics played in the
Tacoma Dome while the
Seattle Center Coliseum was renovated (and
renamed KeyArena). The
Tacoma Dome also hosted the 1988 and 1989
Women's NCAA Final Four. Tacoma is home to the all-female flat track
roller derby league Dockyard Derby Dames, which fields an away
See also: Category:People from Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma with a view of Mount Rainier.
Houses in the South J Street Historic District.
The cupola of the First Presbyterian Church in the Stadium District.
Hilltop (shared with Downtown)
McCarver (shared with New Tacoma/Downtown)
St. Helens Neighborhood
Central Business District
The McCarver Neighborhood (shared with Central Tacoma/Hilltop)
Stadium District (shared with North Tacoma)
Port of Tacoma
Ruston (separately incorporated)
Sixth Ave District Tacoma, Washington
Stadium District (shared with Downtown)
Westgate (shared with West Tacoma)
Browns Point (unincorporated)
Lincoln International District
Westgate (shared with North Tacoma)
Year of Partnership
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
People's Republic of China
Boca Del Rio
Aroma of Tacoma
Tacoma Public Library
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tacoma, Washington.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Tacoma, Washington.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Official site of City of Tacoma
Port of Tacoma
Tacoma–Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Destiny of Tacoma Website
"Tacoma – Thumbnail History", Online Encyclopedia of Washington
Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau
Alvin H. Waite Photography Collection Prolific Photographer of Tacoma;
University of Washington
University of Washington Library
Tacoma, Washington at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Municipalities and communities of Pierce County, Washington, United
County seat: Tacoma
North Fort Lewis
Joint Base Lewis–McChord
Joint Base Lewis–McChord (Fort Lewis, McChord Field)
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or
State of Washington
Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Fish and Wildlife
Labor and Industries
Liquor and Cannabis Board
Institute for Public Policy
Public Stadium Authority
Public Disclosure Commission
Services for the Blind
Social and Health Services
Student Achievement Council
Utilities and Transportation
Long Beach Peninsula
San Juan Islands
Wenatchee metropolitan area
Greater Portland and Vancouver
Seattle metropolitan area
Mayors of cities with populations exceeding 100,000 in Washington
State capital: Stephen Buxbaum (Olympia)
All-America City Award: Hall of Fame
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