Tacoma Municipal Barn could soon be added to historic register

A building dating back more than 100 years and located near Tacoma’s former warehouse district could be added to the City of Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places in July.

The former Tacoma Municipal Barn, also known as the “City Shops and Stables Building” and located at 2324 S. C St., was built in 1910 at a cost of approximately $30,000, according to the nomination prepared by Caroline T. Swope, a preservation consultant at Kingstree Studios, on behalf of Historic Tacoma. “The Municipal Barn embodies the transitional period between horse-dominated transportation and automobiles, and is a rare example of a Craftsman style concrete building,” wrote Swope in the nomination.

Highlights from the historic nomination include:

  • A grand opening on March 7, 1910, included a display of freshly brushed horses wearing pink ribbons, comments from Tacoma Mayor John W. Linck, and free sandwiches, coffee, and cigars;
  • At one point, the building was home to 53 horses, six cats who kept the premises free of mice, and a goat named “Billy”;
  • Manure produced by the City’s horses, and picked up from the streets by the street cleaning team, was used in residential gardens;
  • In addition to holding horses, wagons, a feed grinder, and a blacksmith shop, the building also served machinists, broom-makers, carpenters, painters, and pipe-fitters;
  • Building designer and City engineer Wilbur C. Raleigh was also the supervising engineer for the construction of the Murray Morgan Bridge and the Puyallup River Bridge.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission initially reviewed the nomination in March, and held a public hearing on the nomination in April. Last month, the City of Tacoma began to accept bids on a $430,000 project to install a new roof, overhangs, and gutters for the sprawling, City-owned building that occupies a full city block near the corner of South Holgate Street and South 24th Street. The bid deadline expired at 11 a.m., on Tues., June 3. Three contractors submitted bids on the project: D & D Construction (Puyallup, Wash.) — $418,800; Stetz Construction (Lakewood, Wash.) — $425,000; and Jones & Roberts Company (Olympia, Wash.) — $438,300.

Tacoma City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on Tues., July 1, on a resolution to officially add the building to Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places.

The 104-year-old former Tacoma Municipal Barn (also known as the "City Shops and Stables Building"), located at 2324 S. C St., has been nominated to Tacoma's Register of historic places. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA / CAROLINE T. SWOPE)
The 104-year-old former Tacoma Municipal Barn (also known as the “City Shops and Stables Building”), located at 2324 S. C St., has been nominated to Tacoma’s Register of historic places. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA / CAROLINE T. SWOPE)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Tacoma Municipal Barn, 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 first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengerssecond-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State; third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; and third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright. His work has 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 wahmee.com.