Historic Doors of Tacoma

Photo by Morf Morford
Photo by Morf Morford

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Back in the heyday of full-sized wall posters, the 1970s and ‘80s, there was a series of posters portraying the magnificent and historic doors of Great Britain – especially Dublin and London.

The age of posters has come and gone, and the doors of Tacoma are nowhere near as historic or glorious as the doors of London or Dublin; but our doors tell our story and reveal our history.

Large or small, grand or humble, our entryways are our face to the world, and unlike most towns and cities, Tacoma has a long history of making and designing our own doors.

Thanks to the proximity of forests and ample timber, Tacoma’s solid-wood doors were once among the world’s best-selling.

Tacoma once had an abundance of companies that made quality doors. Buffelen was one of the largest – and they are still around (http://www.buffelendoor.com/buffelen/).

The particleboard imports from big-box hardware store are a shallow mimicry of the grand entrances you might see even on affordable homes in every neighborhood across Tacoma.

Some design features outlive the vagaries of architectural fashion.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the locally crafted rounded doors. There’s something about the soft, rounded shape that seems more homey and welcoming.

Some of our doors are public, some are semi-private; some are vast and elaborate, some are simple and utilitarian.
Tacoma’s doors range from strong and formidable to humble and welcoming.

Some of Tacoma’s great doors are public and out in the open, some we pass often, others are tucked away. Many may be familiar, and some may not, but either way, these doors are worthy of a closer look.

There’s an old saying that a house is architecture, a door is engineering. The door is the ultimate moving part of any house.

A walking tour of Tacoma with a focus on doors might sound boring, but if you look closely, you can see our local character take shape in the entryways of the places we work and call home.

Doors are the practical and public face of every building. Design and purpose may vary, but every door has a story only it can tell.

And for authentic Hobbiton and Hogwart style doors – you can’t beat the hand crafted doors of Salmon Beach homes and the elegant oak doors of Annie Wright Schools.

“Be an opener of doors”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson