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Library Search Results: Abstracts

Your search for Tacoma-town found 112 files.
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Showing 1 - 14 of 14 results

Morgan, Murray (1916-2000)

Tacoma-born Murray Morgan was a preeminent historian of the Puget Sound region, as well as journalist, political commentator, theater and arts reviewer, political activist, freelance writer, and college history teacher. He was author of 21 books and a spellbinding teacher who from 1969 to 1981 taught a Northwest history course at the Tacoma Community College. He was author of South on the Sound: An Illustrated History of Tacoma and Pierce County (with Rosa Morgan), among many other books. Perhaps his best-known book is Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle. In print almost continually since its publication by Viking Press in 1951, Skid Road is considered by many to be the best history of Seattle. Murray Morgan died on June 22, 2000.
File 5021: Full Text >

Northern Pacific Railroad's Orphan Road

From 1884 until mid-1887, the Northern Pacific ran a train from Tacoma to Seattle. When the train began to operate on June 17, 1884, Seattleites were ecstatic. Henry Villard (1835-1900) had acquired the transcontinental railroad, and Seattle had hopes of becoming its terminus. But Villard quickly went bust, and pro-Tacoma, anti-Seattle interests acquired the Northern Pacific. The line between Tacoma and Seattle was called the Orphan Road because of its gross neglect and poor service. Not until 1887 did Seattle become the true terminus of the Northern Pacific's transcontinental route.
File 2286: Full Text >

Port of Tacoma -- Thumbnail History, Part 1

The Port of Tacoma is a public municipal corporation governed by five elected Port Commissioners. Pierce County voters created the Port in 1918 after the 1911 state legislature authorized publicly owned and managed port districts. Ninety years later, the Port of Tacoma is a leading container port, serving as a "Pacific Gateway" for trade between Asia and the central and eastern United States as well as the Northwest. The vast majority of trade between Alaska and the lower 48 states also passes through Tacoma. Part 1 of this Thumbnail History of the Port traces its development from Tacoma's early maritime commerce through World War II. Until 1918, Tacoma's waterfront was dominated by private entrepeneurs and corporations, especially the Northern Pacific railroad. After longshore workers, Tacoma business leaders, Pierce County farmers, and others united to establish the public port, its Commissioners built two piers that handled an increasing volume of trade from around the world, a cold storage plant, and a grain elevator. The Depression slowed growth, but World War II brought new activity and increased mechanization to port docks.
File 8592: Full Text >

Port of Tacoma -- Thumbnail History, Part 2

The Port of Tacoma is a publicly owned and managed port district established by Pierce County voters in 1918. Today it is a leading container port, serving as a "Pacific Gateway" for trade between Asia and the central and eastern United States as well as the Northwest. Most of the maritime commerce between Alaska and the lower 48 states also passes through Tacoma. Part 2 of this three-part Thumbnail History of the Port covers its development from the aftermath of World War II through its emergence as a growing container port in the 1970s.
File 8662: Full Text >

Port of Tacoma -- Thumbnail History, Part 3

In the 90 years since it was established by the citizens of Pierce County as a publicly owned port, the Port of Tacoma has become a major player in world trade. It serves as a gateway port between Asian producers and consumer markets across the United States and as an export outlet for products from the Northwest and around the country. A suite of factors that the Port calls the "Tacoma Advantage" have contributed to its success. The advantages begin with the Port's location on the the Tacoma tideflats along the deep waters of Commencement Bay: the Port's waterways are 51 feet deep at low water and the tideflats continue to provide ample room for development. The Port's acreage has allowed it to create efficient intermodal transportation connections between ship and road or rail, often right on the dock. Cooperation between Port management and union longshore workers has provided an additional advantage, helping bring many of the world's largest container lines to Tacoma. Part 3 of this three-part Thumbnail History of the Port traces its development from 1981, when a pioneering dockside railyard fueled its rapid rise in port rankings, through the present.
File 8668: Full Text >

Tacoma -- Thumbnail History

Tacoma epitomizes the cultural, economic, social, and technological development of the Puget Sound region and the entire state of Washington. Situated on scenic bluffs that were the home to the Puyallup Tribe and other native peoples for millennia, the city possesses a natural harbor admired by the sound's earliest Euro-American explorers. Tacoma won the prize of the era in 1873 when the Northern Pacific Railroad selected it as its western terminus. Tacomans have since established their community as a regional center for Pacific Rim shipping, forest products, high technology, and the arts. Ranked in the 2000 census as Washington's third largest city, Tacoma is currently undergoing an urban renaissance with the construction of light rail transit, new museums and cultural centers, and a state-of-the-art telecommunications network that makes it "America's No. 1 Wired City."
File 5055: Full Text >

Tacoma Neighborhoods: Salishan Housing Project -- Tacoma Housing Authority

Tacoma's Salishan Housing Project rose in 1943 as part of the industrial miracle that won World War II for the Allies. After the war, the project served first veterans and military families, then low-income families and immigrants. Crime plagued the community over the years, but residents organized to make their neighborhood a better place. After 60 years, Salishan will be replaced by a new mixed-use development that will still serve low-income families, as well as homeowners and market-rate renters.
File 5512: Full Text >

Tacoma Playwrights' Unit of the Federal Theatre Project

Clarence Talbot, Seattle playwright and actor, and Guy Williams, state director of the Federal Theatre project, formed the Tacoma Playwrights' Unit of the Project in early 1936. The Federal Theatre Project (1935-39) was a work-relief program for theater professionals funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The Drama League of Tacoma sponsored the Tacoma Unit, which was housed in a small building in the Old Town section of the city. Its mission was to present workshop productions of new plays by Washington state writers. In Tacoma the plays tended to present conventional entertainment rather than engaging social and political issues as did many Federal Theatre Project productions elsewhere.
File 5056: Full Text >

Tacoma Public Utilities

Tacoma's electrical and water utilities, its industrial railroad, and its telecommunications system all grew out of a need to serve the community coupled with frustration at the ability of private companies to provide services. After more than 100 years of operation, Tacoma Public Utilities operates a wide network of dams, reservoirs, pumping and power stations, and a small but vital railroad.
File 5025: Full Text >

Tacoma Public Utilities Cybertour

This is an illustrated Cybertour of Tacoma Public Utilities -- Tacoma Power, Tacoma Water, Tacoma Rail, and the Click! network. Written and curated by David Wilma.
File 7060: Full Text >

Tacoma Speedway, 1912-1922

During its years of operation between 1912 and 1922, the Tacoma Speedway, located in Lakewood, hosted some of the big names of racing, rivaling the best in the world. The Who's Who of races -- "Terrible" Teddy Tetzlaff, Earl Cooper, Barney Oldfield, among others -- left rubber on that track. Others left their lives. The grandstands closed in 1922, and the site is now (2004) home to Clover Park Technical College. Lakewood is a suburb of Tacoma.
File 5639: Full Text >

Tacoma Trolleys, 1890-1930

Sound Transit's mass transportation system has some of its roots in Tacoma's trolley systems of the 1890s. The Tacoma and Steilacoom Railway Company started in 1890. The company used steam engines to shuttle Tacomans to the bustling town of Steilacoom, located on Puget Sound just south of Tacoma. Then horse-drawn trolleys replaced those steam engines. After just a year, electrical cars replaced the horse-drawn trolleys. The train company was the world's first interurban streetcar system. It was at that time the longest electric line in the world. It ran 12 miles, from downtown Tacoma to Steilacoom, by running through present-day University Place and down Chambers Creek.
File 5640: Full Text >

Tacoma's Historic Downtown -- A Cybertour

This is a photographic Cybertour of downtown Tacoma's historic buildings, museums, theaters, and other cultural attractions. Presented by the City of Tacoma Economic Development Department. Written by Walt Crowley and produced by Chris Goodman, with photographs by David Wilma and Walt Crowley, and maps by Marie McCaffrey. Copyright 2003, History Ink. This feature is intended for personal use only and may not be reproduced by any means for commercial purposes without written permission from History Ink.
File 7050: Full Text >

Tacoma's Salishan Housing Project -- A Slideshow

This is a slideshow on the history of Tacoma's Salishan Housing Project, built during World War II to house shipyard workers and military families. This slide show tour was written and curated by David Wilma. Presented by the Tacoma Housing Authority.
File 7455: Full Text >

Showing 1 - 20 of 96 results

Wilkes expedition sailing vessel Porpoise anchors in Commencement Bay on May 17, 1841.

On May 17, 1841, the United States sailing vessel Porpoise anchors below the bluff of present-day Tacoma, and her officers name Commencement Bay. The Porpoise is part of the United States Exploring Expedition commanded by Lt. Charles Wilkes (1798-1877). She is, in the words of Murray Morgan, "224 tons, 88 feet long, two-masted, rigged as a brigantine, carrying sixty-five men and under the command of Cadwallader Ringgold" (Puget's Sound, 51). This is the first United States presence in the region.
File 5057: Full Text >

Nicholas Delin begins construction of a sawmill at the head of Commencement Bay on April 1, 1852.

On April 1, 1852, Nicholas Delin (1817-1882) begins construction of a water-powered sawmill at the head of Commencement Bay in what will become Tacoma. By the end of the year, the mill will be cutting lumber and selling it to local settlers and to the California market. This is the first Euro-American settlement in Tacoma, but it will be abandoned in 1855.
File 5017: Full Text >

Job Carr arrives at future site of Tacoma on Commencement Bay on December 25, 1864.

On December 25, 1864, Job Carr arrives at the future site of Tacoma on Commencement Bay. He will file a 168-acre claim to land at a site the Nisqually and Puyallup Peoples call Shubahlup or sheltered place. The confluence of two creeks produced a small lagoon protected by a sand bar where the natives beach canoes. Carr is the first permanent Euro-American settler in Tacoma, after the abandonment of earlier claims in 1855.
File 5018: Full Text >

Promoter Morton Matthew McCarver arrives at Eureka, later Tacoma, on April 1, 1868.

On April 1, 1868, promoter Morton Matthew McCarver (1807-1875) arrives at Eureka, on Commencement Bay. Recognizing the location's potential as a terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad, he will purchase 163 3/4 acres from Job Carr, who had settled there three years earlier. McCarver (and others) will name the townsite Tacoma.
File 5019: Full Text >

Northern Pacific Railroad announces Tacoma terminus on July 14, 1873.

On July 14, 1873, an expectant crowd gathers at Yesler Mill in Seattle to hear Arthur Denny (1822-1899) read a telegram from Northern Pacific Railroad executives R. D. Rice and J. C. Ainsworth announcing the railroad's decision on where to locate the terminus. The crowd expects the terminus to be located in Seattle, but Denny opens the telegram and reads, "We have located the terminus on Commencement Bay." Seattleites are shocked, dismayed, and angered that the planned transcontinental railroad and its coveted wealth of goods and passengers would serve Puget Sound not from Seattle but from Tacoma, then barely a village. The reaction in Tacoma is quite the opposite -- celebration. Promoter Matthew McCarver had platted Tacoma City on Commencement Bay speculating that the railroad would come there and his investment proved a good one.
File 922: Full Text >

Thomas Prosch publishes Tacoma's first newspaper, the Pacific Tribune, beginning on August 9, 1873.

On August 9, 1873, Thomas Prosch (1850-1915) begins publishing Tacoma's first newspaper, the Pacific Tribune. Prosch has moved the newspaper from Olympia to Tacoma immediately following the Northern Pacific Railroad's choice of Tacoma as its western terminus. Prosch, along with everyone else, expects Tacoma to become a railroad boomtown if not the leading city of the West. The daily appears every evening. Its motto is: "Here Shall the Press the People's Rights Proclaim, Unawed by Influence and Unbribed by Gain." The paper is highly successful until the national financial panic of 1873 occurs little more than a month later. In June 1875, Prosch, declaring regret and high regard for the people of Tacoma, will move the paper to Seattle.
File 5046: Full Text >

Scheduled service on the Northern Pacific Railroad between New Tacoma and Kalama begins on January 5, 1874.

On January 5, 1874, scheduled service on the Pacific Division of Northern Pacific Railroad (NP) begins between New Tacoma and Kalama. New Tacoma is located in Pierce County in the southern part of the Puget Sound region and Kalama is located in Cowlitz County on the Columbia River north of Vancouver. The fare is $6 with $1 more for the ferry ride to Portland. The transcontinental railroad still needed 1,500 miles of track between Kalama and Bismarck, Dakota Territory.
File 7408: Full Text >

New Tacoma and Tacoma City merge to become Tacoma in December 1883.

In December 1883, New Tacoma and Tacoma City merge to become Tacoma. New Tacoma (pop. 4,000) is the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad on Commencement Bay. Tacoma City, or Old Tacoma, (pop. 400) is the settlement formed around the Job Carr claim a short distance to the north. A temporary mayor and nine aldermen are elected.
File 5062: Full Text >

Charles Wright organizes Tacoma Light and Water Co. in June 1884.

In June 1884, Charles B. Wright (1822-1898), president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, organizes the Tacoma Light and Water Co. to provide drinking water and electric lights. The City Council grants the company a franchise to use city streets and alleys for utilities. Retiring NP Superintendent General John Sprague becomes company president and Isaac Smith is named engineer.
File 5023: Full Text >

Northern Pacific runs first train from Tacoma to Seattle on June 17, 1884.

On June 17, 1884, the first Northern Pacific Railroad train runs from Tacoma to Seattle, giving Seattle citizens hope of regular service between the two cities. Seattle passengers and Duwamish and White River farmers are quickly disappointed at the poor or nonexistent service, and the line is soon nicknamed the Orphan Road.
File 2304: Full Text >

Ship Isabel docks at Tacoma with first tea cargo from Asia bound for East Coast via railroad on August 16, 1885.

On August 16, 1885, the Isabel docks at Tacoma with the first cargo of tea from Asia bound for the East Coast via railroad. The Northern Pacific had gathered 200 cars at the Tacoma docks ready to load 2,000 tons of tea. The train sets out for the East Coast as an express, intending to reach New York in just over one week (the trip takes a month). Before this, the majority of ships bearing tea cargo traveled around Asia to the Suez Canal and then across the Atlantic to the United States or around Cape Horn to the East Coast. This required extra time, and the British charged fees for passage through the Suez Canal, but either route was still less expensive than shipping via railroad across North America. In 1885 the Northern Pacific lowered its rates in a bid to compete with the ocean-going routes of the tea trade. Tacoma is well-placed to benefit from the plan because it is the terminus of the Northern Pacific and is relatively close to Asian ports.
File 8752: Full Text >

Tacoma expels the entire Chinese community on November 3, 1885.

On November 3, 1885, a mob, including many of Tacoma's leading citizens, marches on the Chinese community and forces everyone out of their houses and out of town. Tacoma mayor Jacob Robert Weisbach deemed the Chinese "a curse" and a "filthy horde." The Tacoma Ledger and its editor Jack Comerford, the carpenters' union, and many workers and business people had spewed racist rhetoric against the Chinese for months. Mass meetings inflamed the hatred and the few dissenters, most notably Ezra Meeker and the Reverend W. D. McFarland, were ineffectual against it. The community was given a deadline to get out by November 3. In reaction to the threats, about 150 frightened Chinese persons left Tacoma before the deadline. The mob herded another 200 out on November 3. They lost their homes and most of their possessions, and they never returned. In 1993, the Tacoma City Council passed a resolution to make amends and to apologize for the former city leaders' actions.
File 5063: Full Text >

Longshoremen strike the Tacoma Mill Company on March 22, 1886.

On March 22, 1886, longshoremen on the Tacoma waterfront cease loading lumber onto ships, and demand a 10-cent-an-hour raise. The strike continues for five days while employers attempt but fail to hire strikebreakers. The strikers win their raise and go back to work as members of a new union, the Stevedores, Longshoremen and Riggers' Union of Puget Sound.
File 5064: Full Text >

Tacoma Light and Water Co. illuminates Tacoma streets on December 26, 1886.

On December 26, 1886, Tacoma Light and Water Co. illuminates Tacoma streets for the first time. Power comes from a hydroelectric plant connected to the drinking-water supply from Galliher Creek. The city pays $12 a month for each streetlight.
File 5020: Full Text >

Tacoma Street Railway inaugurates service on May 30, 1888.

On May 30, 1888, the Tacoma Street Railway inaugurates service. This is the first transit system in Tacoma and consists of bright yellow, horse-drawn, 14-passenger streetcars with upholstered seats. The line runs from the Northern Pacific passenger terminal north on Pacific Avenue to McCarver Street in Old Town.
File 5065: Full Text >

St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Company incorporates on June 4, 1888.

On June 4, 1888, the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. incorporates. The incorporators are lumber and real-estate magnates who arrive that day by train from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The next day Tacoma headlines shout the event: "The monster milling company of Tacoma organized." The firm, known locally as the St. Paul, spurs what the historian Murray Morgan calls the greatest boom in Tacoma's history.
File 5066: Full Text >

Thea Foss launches the future tugboat firm on the Tacoma waterfront in the summer of 1889.

In the summer of 1889, Thea Foss, a recent immigrant and new bride from Norway, buys the rowboat that launches the Foss Launch Company. She is sitting on the porch of her houseboat on the Tacoma waterfront and buys the boat for five dollars from a fuming, disgruntled, failed fisherman. Thea's husband Andrew Foss, a carpenter, is up in the valley building a shed at the time. Before long, Thea sells this rowboat for $15 and buys two more boats from two more discouraged fishermen. Thea begins renting the boats for 50 cents a day. By the time Andrew returns from his shed-building job with $32, Thea has amassed $41. Thus begins the Foss Launch and Tug Company, now Foss Marine Company. This now Seattle-based tugboat and marine services firm employs 1,000 people and is (in 2003) the largest tugboat enterprise on the West Coast.
File 5045: Full Text >

U.S. President Benjamin Harrison visits Tacoma on May 6, 1891.

On May 6, 1891, U.S. President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) visits Tacoma. Virtually the entire population of 36,006 turns out in the morning rain to greet him. President Harrison is the is the 23rd President of the United States (1889-1893), and the first to visit Tacoma. On November 11, 1889, he had signed the enabling Act for Washington to become a state.
File 5067: Full Text >

Tacoma builds Old City Hall in 1893.

In 1893, Tacoma's Old City Hall is constructed at S 7th Street and Pacific Avenue. The Italian Renaissance style building, designed by E. A. Hatherton of San Francisco, features pressed brickwork, terra cotta ornamentation, and a copper tiled roof. The stately, ornate building with its arched and bracketed clock tower reflects the civic pride and promise of Tacoma immediately before the nationwide economic crash in the spring of 1893.
File 5068: Full Text >

City of Tacoma buys Tacoma Light and Water Co. on July 1, 1893.

On July 1, 1893, the City of Tacoma buys the drinking water and electrical power properties of Tacoma Light and Water Co. from Charles B. Wright (1822-1898) for $1.75 million. The deal is not a good one for the City, but it places Tacoma at the vanguard of the municipal ownership movement in Washington and in the nation.
File 5022: Full Text >

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 results

Tacoma's Secret Tunnels

This is an account of the rumored secret tunnels under the streets and buildings of Tacoma. It was written by Steve Dunkelberger.
File 7379: Full Text >

The Historic Murray Morgan: A Remembrance by Paul Dorpat

This reminiscence of Murray Morgan (1916-2000), the preeminent Northwest historian, is by Paul Dorpat, HistoryLink's principal historian, and an old friend of Murray Morgan's.
File 2512: Full Text >

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