Tacoma ( ) 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, southwest of Seattle (of which it is the largest satellite city), northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 191,704, 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.
Tacoma adopted its name after the nearby Mount Rainier, originally and locally 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". Commencement Bay serves the Port of Tacoma, a center of international trade on the Pacific Coast and Washington's largest port. The city gained notoriety in 1940 for the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which earned the nickname "Galloping Gertie".
Like most industrial cities, Tacoma suffered a prolonged decline in the mid-20th century as a result of suburbanization and divestment. Since the 1990s, downtown Tacoma has experienced a period of revitalization. Developments in the downtown include the University of Washington Tacoma; Line T (formerly 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.
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 (1807–1875), who named his project Tacoma City, derived from the indigenous name for the mountain.
Tacoma was incorporated on November 12, 1875, following its selection in 1873 as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad due to lobbying by McCarver, future mayor John Wilson Sprague, and others. However, the railroad built its depot in 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 boomiest".
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.
Tacoma was briefly (1915–1922) a major destination for big-time automobile racing, with one of the nation's Tacoma Speedway just outside the city limits, at the site of today's Clover Park Technical College.
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.
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.Mullins, William H. The Depression and the Urban West Coast, 1929–1933: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1991. 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.Schmid, Calvin F. "Social Trends in Seattle, 1944." University of Washington Publications in The Social Sciences Vol 14 (1944): 286-293. http://depts.washington.edu/depress/resources/Jessie%20Jackson_The%20Story%20of%20Hooverville/Jackson_Story%20of%20Hooverville.pdf
|+ ! Tacoma Hooverville timeline Tacoma News Tribune. Tacoma Hooverville Archive, 04/09/1940 – 07/24/1974. Northwest Room Special Collections and Archives, Tacoma Public Library. Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma Daily Ledger. Tacoma Hooverville Archive, 07/18/1924 – 04/09/1940. Northwest Room Special Collections and Archives, Tacoma Public Library. Tacoma, Washington.|
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. In 1956, the last occupant of "Hollywood" was evicted and the police used fire to level the grounds and make room for industrial growth.Anderson, Hilary. "A Tale of Two Shantytowns." Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History 26, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 10-14. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost.
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 1963. George Weyerhaeuser went on to become chairman of the board of the Weyerhaeuser Company.
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.Erik Hanberg, An Exercise in Hope, Faith, Vision, and Guts, Weekly Volcano (Tacoma), December 24, 2008. Accessed online December 4, 2009.
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.
The Pantages Theater (first opened in 1918) anchors downtown Tacoma's Theatre District. Tacoma Arts Live manages the Pantages, the Rialto Theater, and the Theatre on the Square. Tacoma Little Theatre (opened in 1918) bridges the Theater District and the Hilltop neighborhood. Other attractions include the Grand Cinema and the Landmark Temple Theatre.
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, the low-lying areas of Tacoma near the Port of Tacoma are at risk from a lahar flowing down the Puyallup River.
The city is several miles north of Joint Base Lewis–McChord, also known separately as Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.
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.
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% female.
Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood struggled with crime in the 1980s and early 1990s. The beginning of the 21st century has seen a marked reduction in crime, while neighborhoods have enacted community policing and other policies.
Victoria Woodards began her term as mayor of the City of Tacoma on January 2, 2018. She is Tacoma's third African-American mayor and third female mayor, and the second African-American female mayor. She succeeded Marilyn Strickland, who was elected in 2009, becoming Tacoma's first African-American female mayor.
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 Marilyn Strickland. Northeastern Tacoma is in the 9th District, represented by Adam Smith. All three are Democrats.
Frank C. Mars founded Mars, Incorporated in 1911 in Tacoma.
Beginning in the 1930s, the city became known for the "Tacoma Aroma," a distinctive, acrid odor produced by pulp and paper manufacturing on the industrial tide flats. In the late 1990s, Simpson Tacoma Kraft paper 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 east. The mill produces pulpwood and Containerboard products; previously owned by St. Regis the mill was sold to RockTenn in 2014. Georgia company agrees to buy Simpson Tacoma Kraft paper mill The mill's name changed yet again in 2016 to WestRock.
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.http://www.thenewstribune.com/topstory/story/873008.html A large regional office for State Farm Insurance now occupies the former Russell building.
Hospitals in Tacoma are operated by 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. The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department manages public health initiatives across the city and county.
|1||Joint Base Lewis–McChord||60,100|
|2||MultiCare Health System||7,439|
|3||State of Washington||6,838|
|4||CHI Franciscan Health||6,528|
|5||Tacoma Public Schools||3,541|
|7||Bethel School District||2,566|
|8||City of Tacoma||2,251|
|9||State Farm Insurance||2,150|
|10||Puyallup School District||2,124|
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, 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 used by 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.
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 and the W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. This historic park is also the home of local festivals such as Ethnic Fest, MetroParksTacoma – Ethnic Fest Out in the Park (Tacoma's Pride festival TacomaPride – Pride Festival), and the Tacoma Seattle 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, Rhodes House, Pythian Temple, Perkins Building, Tacoma Dome, and Rhodesleigh. The 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.
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 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 to offer University of Washington in the Classroom college credit options from the University of Washington.
The area also has numerous private schools, including Evergreen Lutheran High School, the Annie Wright School, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Life Christian Academy, Charles Wright Academy, and Parkland Lutheran School.
Tacoma's institutions of higher learning include the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, City University of Seattle-Tacoma, Bates Technical College, Corban University School of Ministry/Tacoma Campus, as well as satellite campuses of The Evergreen State College and the University of Washington. Pacific Lutheran University is in Parkland, just south of the city; nearby Lakewood is the home of Clover Park Technical College and Pierce College.
3 AM stations and 6 FM stations are licensed in Tacoma, some of which also serve nearby Seattle.
Tacoma's television market is shared with Seattle. Four network owned-and-operated stations are licensed to the city: KCPQ 13 (Fox), KSTW 11 (The CW), KTBW-TV 20 (TBN), and KWDK 42 (Daystar). Bates Technical College owns the city's PBS member station, KBTC-TV 28, which serves as the market's secondary PBS station. KBTC is housed at the former studios of KSTW, who sold the property when it moved to Renton in 2001.
|Curtis Senior High School|
|ShoWare Center (Kent)|
|Franklin Pierce Stadium|
The city has struggled to keep a minor league ice hockey franchise. The Tacoma Rockets of the Western Hockey League moved to Kelowna, British Columbia. The 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 team. Many golf clubs and courses are located in Tacoma including Lake Spanaway Golf Course.
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 Arterial road 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 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, Old Town, Dome, 6th Avenue, Stadium, Lincoln Business District, and South Tacoma Business Districts are some of the more prominent 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 cul-de-sac, four-lane collector roads and indoor shopping centers are more commonplace.
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 north, in the city of SeaTac.
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 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 Vashon Island. Greyhound Lines intercity bus service is accessible via Tacoma Dome Station.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Tacoma from Tacoma Dome Station. The Amtrak 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.
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 , 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.