The Tacoma Historical Society will present an exhibit next month that focuses on the former Tacoma Hotel.
“Tacoma Historical Society is recognizing one of Tacoma’s lost landmarks,” said Tacoma Historical Society President Bill Baarsma. “Built in 1884, the great Tacoma Hotel announced that Tacoma had become a destination. Over its fifty-year history, the Tacoma Hotel provided lodging for an array of famous visitors — Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Sarah Bernhardt, a succession of U.S. presidents, and athletes from Babe Ruth to the entire USC Trojan football team.”
The former Tacoma Hotel was designed by noted architect Stanford White and occupied an entire city block on A Street, between South 9th Street and South 10th Street, in downtown Tacoma. The hotel and grounds quickly gained a reputation as the grandest hotel north of San Francisco, according to Tacoma Historical Society officials. After a spectacular fire destroyed the hotel in 1935, the site was paved and used for parking. A half-century later, George and Jane Russell built a 12-story building on the site. The high-rise served as the headquarters of Russell Investments until 2010. Today, the building is home to State Farm Insurance.
“The exhibit will include not only fascinating artifacts on loan from private collectors, but historic postcards and images from within our collection of the Tacoma Historical Society,” said curator Deb Freedman.
The Tacoma Historical Society will host an opening reception on Thurs., Aug. 7, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Tacoma Historical Society Museum, located at 919 Pacific Ave., in downtown Tacoma. The exhibit will open to the public on Fri., Aug. 8, which is also the 130th anniversary of the opening of the Tacoma Hotel, and run through Sun., Nov. 29.
The Tacoma Historical Society is hosting a creative calendar of events in conjunction with the exhibit:
- Thurs., Aug. 7, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. — Opening Reception at the museum;
- Fri., Aug. 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Exhibit Opening (130th anniversary of Tacoma Hotel opening);
- Fri., Aug. 8, 6 p.m. — Tacoma History trivia night, co-sponsored by the City of Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, at The Forum, 815 Pacific Ave., in downtown Tacoma;
- Sat., Aug. 16, 1 p.m. — Totem Tales and Jack the Bear stories with Deb Freedman (suitable for children six and up);
- Thurs., Aug. 21, 6:15 p.m. — Tacoma Hotel neighborhood walk led by Tacoma Public Library’s Brian Kamens, in the footsteps of Jack the Bear;
- Thurs., Sept. 18, 6:15 p.m. — The Man Behind the Totem: W. F. Sheard, portrayed by Rich Repp;
- Thurs., Oct. 16, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Open House to honor Tacoma Firefighters (active and retired) and remembering the anniversary of the Tacoma Hotel fire on Oct. 17, 1935.
More information is available online here.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Tacoma Historical Society, click on the following links:
- Tacoma History trivia night Aug. 8 at The Forum (Tacoma Daily Index, July 15, 2014)
- Salute Pierce County: Tacoma, Lakewood Historical Societies honor local military heritage (Tacoma Daily Index, July 7, 2014)
- Bike ride, walking tours, postcard project will mark historic preservation month in Tacoma (Tacoma Daily Index, April 21, 2014)
- 2 locals receive Tacoma Historical Society awards (Tacoma Daily Index, April 16, 2014)
- Volunteers needed for Tacoma Historical Society exhibit center (Tacoma Daily Index, April 9, 2014)
- Tacoma Historical Society to open exhibit center on Pacific Avenue (Tacoma Daily Index, February 20, 2014)
- ‘Vanishing Tacoma’: New book highlights city’s changed urban landscape (Tacoma Daily Index, November 14, 2013)
- Local sports focus of Tacoma Historical Society fundraiser Oct. 20 (Tacoma Daily Index, October 7, 2013)
- 4 locals receive Tacoma Historical Society awards (Tacoma Daily Index, April 9, 2013)
- 3 locals receive Tacoma Historical Society awards (Tacoma Daily Index, April 11, 2012)
- Tacoma Historical Society to screen rare 1929 film (Tacoma Daily Index, April 9, 2012)
- Tacoma Historical Society: Author to discuss Puget Sound rescue boats Feb. 9 (Tacoma Daily Index, February 7, 2012)
- Author to discuss Tacoma’s North Slope history (Tacoma Daily Index, October 12, 2011)
- THS meeting April 12 features Harry P. Cain biographer (Tacoma Daily Index, April 5, 2010)
- Tacoma Historical Society will close downtown exhibit center (Tacoma Daily Index, December 4, 2009)
- Building History: THS exhibit celebrates downtown Tacoma’s architectural icons (Tacoma Daily Index, July 16, 2009)
- New THS exhibit highlights downtown Tacoma architecture (Tacoma Daily Index, July 2, 2009)
- 2 receive Tacoma Historical Society Awards (Tacoma Daily Index, April 17, 2009)
- Ahoy History Buffs! (Tacoma Daily Index, October 23, 2008)
- Donation will help preserve Tacoma Historical Society’s artifacts collection (Tacoma Daily Index, August 26, 2008)
- City’s streetcar legacy will highlight Tacoma Historical Society fall fundraiser (Tacoma Daily Index, August 18, 2008)
- Long Distance Memories: A lifelong, photographic tour through Tacoma’s passenger train history(Tacoma Daily Index, July 2, 2008)
- A bid for Tacoma’s historic stewardship (Tacoma Daily Index, October 3, 2007)
- “Wish you were there . . . “ (Tacoma Daily Index, April 27, 2007)