Tacoma City Council to vote on Edgecliff historic landmark nomination

Tacoma City Council is scheduled Aug. 17 to vote on a resolution that would designate the Edgecliff Apartments a local historic landmark.

According to the historic landmark nomination prepared by Katie Chase and Michael Sullivan of Artifacts Consulting, Inc., the building, located at 1 North Broadway, 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. That hearing was held July 28. The commission then approved the nomination and forwarded it to City Council for a final resolution. Council will vote on the resolution during its meeting Tues., Aug. 17 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.