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Tacoma, Washington
City
City of Tacoma
Tacoma skyline and I-705 from the East 34th Street Bridge.jpg
Flag of Tacoma, Washington
Flag
Official seal of Tacoma, Washington
Seal
Nickname(s): City of Destiny, Grit City
Location of Tacoma in Pierce County and Washington State
Location of Tacoma in
Pierce County and Washington State
Country United States
State Washington
County Pierce
Incorporated November 12, 1875
Area
 • City 62.34 sq mi (161.46 km2)
 • Land 49.72 sq mi (128.77 km2)
 • Water 12.62 sq mi (32.69 km2)
Elevation 243 ft (74 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 198,397
 • Estimate (2015) 207,948
 • Rank US: 106th
 • Density 3,990.3/sq mi (1,540.7/km2)
 • Metro 3,733,580 (US: 15th)
Demonym(s) Tacoman (plural: Tacomans)
Time zone PST (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes
Area code 253
FIPS code 53-70000
GNIS feature ID 1512713
Website www.cityoftacoma.org

Tacoma (/təˈkmə/ tə-KOH-mə) is a mid-sized urban port city in and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle, 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the 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 people.

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 Pacific 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." Today, 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 become revitalized.

Tacoma-Pierce County 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 States. In contrast, Tacoma was also ranked as the "most stressed-out" city in the country in a 2004 survey.

Tacoma gained notoriety in 1940 for the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which earned the nickname "Galloping Gertie".

History

Mount Rainier overlooking the Port of Tacoma
View from Brown's Point of Mt. Rainier and the Port of Tacoma

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 constructed a sawmill powered by water on a creek near the head of Commencement Bay, but the small settlement that grew up 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 who hoped to profit from the selection of Commencement Bay as the terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad, built a cabin (a replica of Job Carr's cabin, which also served as Tacoma's first post office, was erected in "Old Town" in 2000 near the original site), and later sold most of his claim to developer Morton M. McCarver (1807–1875), who named his project Tacoma City, derived from the indigenous name for the mountain.

Tacoma was incorporated on November 12, 1875, following the merger of Old Tacoma and New Tacoma on January 7, 1884. Its hopes to be the "City of Destiny" were stimulated by selection in 1873 as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, thanks to lobbying by McCarver, future mayor John Wilson Sprague, and others. The transcontinental link was effected in 1887, but 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. 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 boomiest".

Commencement Bay Land Improvement Co. business card
The Commencement Bay Land and Improvement Co. played a major role in the city's early growth.

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, 1885, "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 Tacoma's prominence in the region to be eclipsed by the booming development of Seattle.

20th century

A major tragedy marred the end of the 19th century, when a streetcar accident resulted in significant loss of life on July 4, 1900.

PostcardTacomaWAPacificAveNorthFrom13thStCirca1907
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. By August, the strike had ended without meeting its demands.

Tacoma was briefly (1915–22) a major destination for big-time automobile racing, with one of the nation's top-rated racing venues located just outside the city limits, at the site of today's Clover Park Technical College.

The Great Depression

The 1929 crash of the Stock Market, also known as 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, Tacoma was provided with electricity from the engines of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.

A power grid failure paired with a newly rewritten city constitution put in to place in order 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 felt the pinch as the sudden stop of loans limited progression of expansion and renewal funds for maintenance leading to foreclosures. Families all over the city experience the fallout of economic depression growing the problem of "where" and "how" breadwinners were going to find the food that their families needed to survive. Local makeshift inner shanty town politics began to develop as the occupants needed some form of leadership to keep the peace.

Tacoma's own Hooverville

At the intersection of Dock Street EXD and East D Street in the train yard, a shantytown became the solution to the growing scar of the depression. Tacoma's Hooverville grew in 1924 as the homeless community moved onto the waterfront as a place to settle. The population boomed in November 1930 through early 1931 as families from the neighboring McKinley and Hill Top areas fell victim to eviction notices and the inability to find steady work.

Collecting scraps of metal and wood from local lumber stores and recycling centers, families began building shanties (shacks) in order to supply a roof over their heads. Alcohol became a common event in the Hooverville that eventually gave it its nickname of "Hollywood", because of the Hollywood-style crimes and events taking place in the camp. It would not be until 1956 when the last occupant of "Hollywood" was evicted and the police used fire to level the grounds and make room for industrial growth.

Timeline events of Tacoma's Hooverville "Hollywood on the Tide Flats"

  • 1924 – Tacoma starts feeling the coming pinch of the economic crises.
  • 1927 – Tacoma's Hooverville is coined "Hollywood" due to the "Hollywood" type crimes coming from the camp.
  • 1937 – Tacoma holds a committee to assess the "Real Social Problem" in regards to the shantytown.
  • 1940 – After eviction notices fail to evacuate the Hooverville, the local police department burns down Hooverville, their first attempt.
  • 1956 – The last occupant of Hooverville is removed and the police, for a second time, burn down the remains and flatten the area for industrial growth.

(Timeline constructed from following sources: Tacoma News Tribune (1940–74) and The Tacoma Daily Ledger (1924–40)

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 payment of a ransom of $200,000 secured release of the victim. Four persons were apprehended and convicted. The last to be released was paroled from McNeil Island in 1963. 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 rock band 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 the 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.

Tacoma, Washington aerial view 01
Aerial view of central Tacoma. Commencement Bay is at lower right.

This picture began to change somewhere around 1990. Among the projects associated with the downtown renaissance were the federal courthouse in the former Union Station (1991); the Washington State History Museum (1996), echoing the architecture of Union Station; the adaptation of a group of century-old brick warehouses into the University of Washington Tacoma campus; the numerous privately financed renovation projects near that UW Tacoma campus; the Museum of Glass (2002); the Tacoma Art Museum (2003); and the region's first light-rail line (2003).

The first local referendums in the U.S. on computerized voting occurred in Tacoma in 1982 and 1987. On both occasions, voters rejected 3-1 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.

21st century

Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood started struggling with crime in the 1980s and early 1990s. Due to its high crime rate, Washington residents nicknamed the city "Tacompton", in reference to Compton, California. The beginning of the 21st Century has seen a marked reduction in crime, as neighborhoods have enacted community policing and other policies. Bill Baarsma (mayor from 2002–2010) is 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 Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and 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.

Downtown revival

Hotel-Bostwick-Tacoma
Hotel Bostwick, located in Tacoma

Beginning in the early 1990s, city residents and planners have taken steps to revitalize Tacoma, particularly its downtown. The University of Washington established a branch campus in Tacoma in 1990. The same year, Union Station (Tacoma) was restored. The Museum of Glass opened in downtown Tacoma in 2002, showing glass art from the region and around the world. It includes a glassblowing studio and is connected to the rest of the Museum District by the Bridge of Glass, which features works by Tacoma native glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Tacoma's downtown Cultural District is the site of the Washington State History Museum (1996) and the Tacoma Art Museum (2013 ). America's Car Museum was completed in late 2011 and resides near the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma. The glass and steel Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center opened in November 2004.

The Theatre District of downtown Tacoma is anchored by the Pantages Theater (first opened in 1918). 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.

Panorama of Tacoma from the McKinley neighborhood with the Tacoma Dome in the foreground and the Puget Sound in the background.

Geography

Tacoma is at Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:mw' not found. (47.241371, -122.459389). Its elevation is 381 feet (116 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total 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 water.

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 located several miles north of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, formerly known separately as Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Tacoma has a Mediterranean Oceanic climate (Köppen Csb).

Climate data for Tacoma, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 66
(18.9)
68
(20)
77
(25)
82
(27.8)
92
(33.3)
94
(34.4)
94
(34.4)
93
(33.9)
89
(31.7)
82
(27.8)
71
(21.7)
68
(20)
94
(34.4)
Average high °F (°C) 48
(8.9)
51
(10.6)
56
(13.3)
60
(15.6)
66
(18.9)
72
(22.2)
77
(25)
77
(25)
71
(21.7)
61
(16.1)
53
(11.7)
47
(8.3)
61.6
(16.44)
Average low °F (°C) 37
(2.8)
37
(2.8)
40
(4.4)
43
(6.1)
48
(8.9)
53
(11.7)
56
(13.3)
56
(13.3)
52
(11.1)
46
(7.8)
40
(4.4)
36
(2.2)
45.3
(7.39)
Record low °F (°C) 17
(-8.3)
11
(-11.7)
15
(-9.4)
29
(-1.7)
34
(1.1)
37
(2.8)
47
(8.3)
41
(5)
34
(1.1)
26
(-3.3)
5
(-15)
6
(-14.4)
5
(-15)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.93
(150.6)
4.00
(101.6)
4.06
(103.1)
3.00
(76.2)
2.11
(53.6)
1.57
(39.9)
0.68
(17.3)
0.82
(20.8)
1.29
(32.8)
3.70
(94)
6.68
(169.7)
5.52
(140.2)
39.36
(999.7)
Source #1: NOAA
Source #2: The Weather Channel

Surrounding cities

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 73
1880 1,098 1,404.1%
1890 36,006 3,179.2%
1900 37,714 4.7%
1910 83,743 122.0%
1920 96,965 15.8%
1930 106,817 10.2%
1940 109,408 2.4%
1950 143,673 31.3%
1960 147,979 3.0%
1970 154,407 4.3%
1980 158,501 2.7%
1990 176,664 11.5%
2000 193,556 9.6%
2010 198,397 2.5%
Est. 2015 207,948 4.8%
source:
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

As of 2000 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.

2010 census

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 husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.8% were non-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% female.

Transportation

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 Union Avenue.

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" designation at the end of the street name.

In portions of the city dating back to the Tacoma Streetcar Period (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.

Public transportation

TacomaLink
A Tacoma Link light rail train on Commerce Street

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 a total of 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 service and daily express bus service to and from Seattle. 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 currently 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 Vashon Island.

Amtrak Station (Tacoma, Washington)
The Amtrak station in Tacoma.

Greyhound intercity bus service is accessible via Tacoma Dome Station.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Tacoma from a station on Puyallup Avenue, one block east of the Tacoma Dome Station. The Cascades trains, operating as far north as 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.

Public utilities

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 (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 located 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 utility. 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.

Parks

Pt Defiance Park 04
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 located in Tacoma. Scenic Five-Mile Drive allows access to many of the park's attractions, such as Owen Beach, Camp Six, Fort Nisqually, and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. 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 located in the south end of Tacoma, at Sheridan and 72nd St.

Titlow Beach, located at the end of 6th Avenue, is a popular scuba diving area.

Tacoma, WA - Wright Park 01
Wright Park

Wright Park, located 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 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 contests.

In response to the Tacoma area's growing dog population, dog parks have become a natural addition to the city. Rogers Off-Leash Dog Park is a metro public park established in 1949 Tacoma. The park's homepage

Architecture

Tacoma includes several landmarks and was home to some prolific architects, including Everett Phipps Babcock, Frederick Heath, Ambrose J. Russell, and Silas E. Nelsen.

Two suspension bridges currently 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.

Historic landmarks

See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Pierce County, Washington#Tacoma
Fireboat1-ruston-way-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 overlay zones.

Engine House No. 9 is a fire station built in 1907. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Currently, the building houses a pub that brews its own beer.

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 starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles.

Fireboat No. 1 was built in 1929 for the Port of Tacoma by the Coastline Shipbuilding Company. After 54 years of service in waterfront fire protection, harbor security patrols, search and rescue missions, and water pollution control, Fireboat No. 1 was put up on a permanent dry berth at a public beach near Tacoma's Old Town neighborhood. She 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 public.

William Ross Rust House is a home in Colonial/Classic Revival style built in 1905 by Ambrose J. Russell (architect) and Charles Miller (contractor).

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.

Other notable buildings include the National Realty Building, Lincoln High School (Tacoma, Washington), Rhodes House (Tacoma), Pythian Temple (Tacoma, Washington), Perkins Building, Tacoma Dome, Rhodesleigh, and Engine House No. 9 (Tacoma, Washington). The famous Luzon Building and Nihon Go Gakko (Tacoma) 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 (Tacoma, Washington), and Tacoma Union Station are also noteworthy.

East 21st Street Bridge, Tacoma at night
East 21st Street Bridge

Cultural attractions

  • The Museum of Glass boasts an iconic structure standing near the Thea Foss Waterway; the steel cone of the hot shop is one of the most recognizable structures in the city.
  • 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 was founded in 1935 and reopened in 2003 in a new building on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma – now one of three organizations forming the "museum district" (others are Museum of Glass and Washington State History Museum). It is considered a model for mid-sized regional museums.
  • The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts is home to three theaters, two of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Performing within the three theaters are several performing arts organizations, including the Tacoma Opera, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Sinfionetta, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Philharmonic, Tacoma Youth Symphony, Theatre Northwest, and Puget Sound Revels, one of ten Revels organizations nationwide.
Pantages Theater
Tacoma's Pantages Theater, a remnant of the vaudeville circuit founded by Alexander Pantages.
  • The Tacoma Film Festival takes place annually at the Grand Cinema.
  • Tacoma is home to the first ever legal marijuana farmers market.
  • 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 Tacoma.
  • Fort Nisqually is a prominent local attraction featuring historical reenactments. 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.

Notable Tacomans

See also: Category:People from Tacoma, Washington

Neighborhoods

Mount Rainier over Tacoma
Tacoma with a view of Mount Rainier.
Tacoma, WA - First Presbyterian Church cupola 05
The cupola of the First Presbyterian Church in the Stadium District.
South J Street Historic District 002
Houses in the South J Street Historic District.

Sister cities

Country City Year of Partnership
Japan Japan Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture 1959
South Korea South Korea Gunsan 1978
Israel Israel Kiryat Motzkin 1979
Norway Norway Ålesund 1986
Russia Russia Vladivostok 1992
People's Republic of China People's Republic of China Fuzhou, Fujian 1994
Philippines Philippines Davao City 1994
South Africa South Africa George 1997
Cuba Cuba Cienfuegos 2000
Republic of China Taiwan Taichung 2000
Morocco Morocco El Jadida 2007
France France Biot 2012
Croatia Croatia Hvar 2015
Chile Chile La Pintana 2016

Images for kids


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