18 December 2011


Tacoma is about 30 miles south of Seattle.

For years, we have been passing Tacoma on the way to and from Seattle.

MT had heard that Tacoma is a nice place and today we decided to visit Tacoma.

Because it's a long drive and daylight doesn't last very long, we didn't see a lot of Tacoma.

However, we saw enough to agree that it is a nice place.

Like everyplace else on the Pacific Northwest coast, it started its American life as a muddy beach dotted with hastily-constructed wood buildings that functioned as saloon, church, school, hotel, stable, post office, and city hall, with about one-third as many buildings as functions.

Lean individuals captured in daguerrotypes as relentlessly stern oversaw the government of fishermen, loggers, fur traders, itinerant peddlers, schoolmarms, and fancy persons.

A mill was constructed.  Then another.
Mill hands were housed in tiny bungalows arrayed along the streets sloping up from the Pacific.

Ship captains built big houses with verandas and widows' walks at the tops of the slopes.

The mud got paved.
The railroad came through.
The bungalows added lean-tos for kitchens and then indoor toilets.
Brick storefronts arrayed themselves on Main Street.
Lawyers came.

And then the whole thing just sort of mushroomed.

The City has invested heavily in preserving what remains of 19th century Tacoma.
There is a 5-mile long linear park between the Pacific and the railroad tracks, which run parallel to each other.
That's where we spent most of the day.

There are museums we did not get to and a really impressive Union Station with a broad dome ornamented with oxidized copper building-sized brooches.

The factory where Almond Roca was invented and where it is still made is in Tacoma.
MT stocked up on factory seconds.

We figure we need to go back when daylight lasts longer and see more.
Maybe cross the bridge and walk to Gig Harbor.

In Tacoma today it was cold and wet and all the tree branches were bare.
Just terribly atmospheric . . . like when the fog rolls off, those lean, stern guys will amble out of the woods wearing their leather pants and demand to know what we're doing in Tacoma.

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