Inside Old City Hall

The announcement Tuesday by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation that Tacoma’s 118-year-old Old City Hall has been placed on the organization’s annual list of endangered historic properties recalled a time four years ago when the Tacoma Daily Index was invited inside to photograph the old building. At that time, the ownership group, Seattle-based Stratford Company and Old City Hall LLC, were optimistic the building could be converted into luxury condominiums. Those plans changed, however, due to a tough economy (last year, Union Bank of California threatened to auction off the building) and extensive interior damage (water pipes froze then burst last November following an arctic storm, spreading approximately 30,000 gallons of water throughout the building and causing much damage). It’s not the first time the Renaissance Revival style building has faced challenges. According to the City of Tacoma, the building served as Tacoma’s City Hall until 1959, when it was left vacant for over 10 years. It was saved from demolition and given national historic prominence in the early 1970s, when a San Francisco developer purchased the building and refurbished it into a professional office center. In today’s edition of the Index, we open our archives and look back at a few of the photographs captured during our 2007 photo tour.

Downtown Tacoma's Old City Hall. (PHOTOS BY TODD MATTHEWS)


To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Old City Hall, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at