The Pagoda’s history dates back to 1913, when the Board of Park Commissioners voted to construct a Japanese-inspired streetcar station in Point Defiance Park. The station opened on June 14, 1914 to much fanfare. As streetcars were displaced over the years, the building transitioned to a bus station in 1938. It was officially renamed the “Pagoda” in 1960, and was restored by Metro Parks Tacoma in 1988. In April 2011, an arsonist set fire to the building. However, it re-opened to the public following a 21-month restoration project that respected its historic integrity. Last year, the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation presented Metro Parks Tacoma with a Special Achievement award for the restoration work. The Pagoda is also a gathering place for garden shows, weddings, and other special events. More than three-million people visit the Pagoda annually, according to Metro Parks Tacoma officials.
The Pagoda Centennial Celebration will be held on Sun., May 18, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Pagoda in Point Defiance Park, located at 5400 N. Pearl St. The event will include natural history tours of the park narrated by Urban Forester Kathy Sutalo; cultural history tours of the park narrated by Metro Parks Tacoma Historic and Cultural Resource Manager Melissa McGinnis and retired Fort Nisqually Curator Bill Rhind; and live music and refreshments. More information is available online at metroparkstacoma.org/pagoda-centennial.
Metro Parks Tacoma is looking for your photos of the Pagoda to create a community collection of memories. You are encouraged to submit photos reflecting your personal memories of the Pagoda, from any year in the Pagoda’s history. Scanned photos from the past are welcomed as well as current photos. Top photos will be featured on Metro Parks Tacoma’s Web site and social media pages. Photos may also be used in a slideshow at the Centennial Celebration. More information is available online at metroparkstacoma.org/pagoda100.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the historic Pagoda in Point Defiance Park, click on the following links:
- Volunteers create 1,000 cranes for Point Defiance Pagoda grand re-opening (Tacoma Daily Index, December 11, 2012)
- Year In Review: Point Defiance Park pagoda arson (Tacoma Daily Index, December 20, 2011)
- Teen receives maximum sentence for Point Defiance Park Pagoda arson (Tacoma Daily Index, October 12, 2011)
- Pierce County Prosecutor: Charges filed in Point Defiance arson (Tacoma Daily Index, April 26, 2011)
- Metro Parks pursues restoration plans, emergency remediation for historic pagoda (Tacoma Daily Index, April 20, 2011)
- Fire fighters battle blaze at historic Point Defiance pagoda (Tacoma Daily Index, April 15, 2011)