Public hearing for Edgecliff Building landmark nomination

The City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing today regarding the nomination of the Edgecliff Apartment...

The City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing today regarding the nomination of the Edgecliff Apartment Building, located at 1 North Broadway, to the local register of historic places.

According to the nomination prepared by Katie Chase and Michael Sullivan of Artifacts Consulting, Inc., the building was constructed in 1919 at a cost of $75,000 paid for by Dr. Edward A. Rich. It was home to the Rich Reconstructive and Tacoma Medical and Surgical Clinic (known locally as the “Tacoma Clinic”) and was one of the first private medical clinics in the region. Dr. Rich, an orthopedic surgeon who served as Chief of Orthopedic Service at Camp Lewis during World War I and Supervising Orthopedic Surgeon for the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C., moved to Tacoma in 1908 and hired the prominent architects Frederick Heath, George Gove, and Herbert Bell to build a home for him and his wife, Ethelwynn, in what is known today as Tacoma’s North End neighborhood.

In 1924, the Tacoma Clinic closed. Dr. Rich hired Heath, Gove and Bell to complete a $105,000 renovation of the structure, turning it into a 30-unit apartment building. The architects designed some of Tacoma’s most notable old buildings. According to the nomination, 10 buildings designed by these men are included on Tacoma’s local register of historic places.

Dr. Rich died in 1933 at the age of fifty-six while working on his boat at the Tacoma Yacht Club. According to the nomination, Dr. Rich’s boat exploded while he was repairing a fuel line. He was rushed to Tacoma General Hospital with severe burns. He died of his injuries on March 22, 1933.

Chase and Sullivan first presented the nomination to the Landmarks Preservation Commission July 14. During that meeting, the commission found the nomination met the landmarks designation criteria and scheduled a public hearing. The public hearing will be held today at Tacoma Municipal Building North, 728 St. Helens, Room 16, at 5 p.m. Following the public hearing, if the commission agrees with the nomination, it will be forwarded to Tacoma City Council for final approval. For more information, visit http://www.tacomaculture.org/historic/home.asp .

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