Alumina Dome, R.I.P.: First of two landmark Port of Tacoma domes demolished

Tacoma’s waterfront profile changed permanently over the weekend, as the first of the two “original Tacoma Domes” was demolished.

Landmarks since they were built in 1968 and 1971, the two domes were designed to store bauxite alumina ore for use at the now-closed Tacoma Kaiser Aluminum Smelter.

Contractor R.W. Rhine of Tacoma began work at 7 a.m. on Saturday, January 29, and at 9:15 a.m., the first dome (242 feet wide at base with a volume of 3.81 million cubic feet) reluctantly imploded upon itself. The second dome (310 feet wide at base with a volume of 4.87 million cubic feet) will be demolished on February 12, 2005.

Once removed, the twin dome site –– roughly 10 acres — will become part of a renovated 54-acre container terminal for Yang Ming Line, which begins operations at the Port of Tacoma in summer 2005.

The two domes were solidly built concrete structures with glue lam wood structural ribs, in-filled with wood joists and tongue-and-grooved wood decking overlaid with metal roofing.

There was no need for the structures after Tacoma’s Kaiser Aluminum Smelter permanently closed in 2000. The Port of Tacoma purchased the 96-acre smelter site in 2003 for future use in maritime commerce.

The first of two Alumina Domes (pictured) was demolished last weekend. (PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF TACOMA)