A century after the doors first opened to historic Titlow Lodge within the 74-acre Titlow Park, Metro Parks is prepared to celebrate its 100th anniversary this weekend. Thanks to the voter approved 2005 Park Improvement Bond, Titlow Lodge has been updated with a new roof, new hardwood floors, a new veranda, and the building’s original historic windows were completely restored. The centennial this weekend marks the grand re-opening of Titlow Lodge following all of these updates.
Titlow Lodge first opened a century ago as a three-and-a-half story Swiss chalet-style waterfront destination known as the Hotel Hesperides. The grand waterfront resort hotel was designed by renowned Tacoma architect Frederick Heath. Among Heath’s most well-known and iconic designs are Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier National Park and Stadium High School’s conversion from an upscale hotel to a public school with its awe inspiring bowl. He created Hotel Hesperides as the centerpiece of a waterfront resort owned by Aaron R. Titlow. Guestrooms featuring both hot and cold running fresh and salt water were among the hotel’s many unique and alluring features.
Five years after Titlow’s death in 1923, the hotel became part of Metro Parks Tacoma and was renamed Titlow Lodge. With financial issues plaguing the Park District during the Great Depression, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) job was initiated in 1937 to remove the top two stories of guest rooms and reconfigure the main floor as a public space for community use and caretaker housing.
A formal program begins Sat., June 18 at 11:30 am, at Titlow Park, 8425 6th Ave., featuring some of the fascinating stories behind this historic charmer, as well as comments from architect Frederick Heath’s grandson, and even a visit from Titlow himself, as portrayed by re-enactor Rick Keller-Scholz.
For more information, visit http://www.metroparkstacoma.org/page.php?id=1283 .