Tacoma preservationists will mark Luzon Building demolition 5th anniversary

Historic preservation advocates will host a memorial this week to mark the fifth anniversary of the demolition of Tacoma’s Luzon Building, which stood at the corner of South 13th Street and Pacific Avenue for nearly 120 years.

Designed by famed Chicago architects John Wellborn Root and Daniel Hudson Burnham, the Luzon Building was one of the first high-rise towers on the West Coast, the embodiment of engineering genius — sturdy brick shell, cast iron columns, and wood construction on the upper floors — that allowed the building to top out at a soaring height for 1890s Tacoma. It was an engineering model that would be copied and opened the door to the future development of “skyscrapers.”

On Sept. 26, 2009, a crowd gathered at dawn to watch contractors begin to demolish the old structure after the City of Tacoma deemed the historically significant building a safety hazard for fear it would collapse after decades of neglect. Despite protests from some Tacoma residents and historic preservation advocates, a demolition order was issued.

On Fri., Sept. 26, at 9 p.m., Tacoma residents are encouraged to share memories of the old building during an event that will combine candles, flashlights, iPhones, and cardboard boxes to collaboratively reproduce a side of the Luzon Building. For information about the event location, contact Jori Adkins at joriadkins@mac.com or (253) 365-1459.

The Luzon Building in downtown Tacoma was demolished on Sept. 26, 2009. (FILE PHOTO COURTESY KEVIN FREITAS)

The Luzon Building in downtown Tacoma was demolished on Sept. 26, 2009. (FILE PHOTO COURTESY KEVIN FREITAS)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Luzon Building, click on the following links: