On September 18, 1898, Tacoma's Western Washington Industrial Exposition building burns to the ground. The building, built in early 1891, was the largest frame building on the West Coast. The mammoth structure covered two blocks around Tacoma Avenue and N 8th Street. It was 280 by 300 feet, used three and a half million board feet of lumber, and cost $72,000 to build.
A symbol of the boomer and booster spirit in Tacoma, it was built to display industrial products. When crowds were not forthcoming, it was converted to use for balls, sporting events, concerts, and the like. The fire occurred just seven years after the huge, impressive building was constructed.
Harry Martin and Caroline Kellogg, (Virginia Beach, Virginia: The Donning Co., 1981), 76; Paul W. Harvey, Tacoma Headlines (Tacoma: The Tacoma News Tribune, 1962), 29.
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