Historic preservation advocates will host a memorial this week to mark the fifth anniversary of the demolition of Tacoma’s Luzon Building, which stood at the corner of South 13th Street and Pacific Avenue for nearly 120 years.
Designed by famed Chicago architects John Wellborn Root and Daniel Hudson Burnham, the Luzon Building was one of the first high-rise towers on the West Coast, the embodiment of engineering genius — sturdy brick shell, cast iron columns, and wood construction on the upper floors — that allowed the building to top out at a soaring height for 1890s Tacoma. It was an engineering model that would be copied and opened the door to the future development of “skyscrapers.”
On Sept. 26, 2009, a crowd gathered at dawn to watch contractors begin to demolish the old structure after the City of Tacoma deemed the historically significant building a safety hazard for fear it would collapse after decades of neglect. Despite protests from some Tacoma residents and historic preservation advocates, a demolition order was issued.
On Fri., Sept. 26, at 9 p.m., Tacoma residents are encouraged to share memories of the old building during an event that will combine candles, flashlights, iPhones, and cardboard boxes to collaboratively reproduce a side of the Luzon Building. For information about the event location, contact Jori Adkins at email@example.com or (253) 365-1459.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Luzon Building, click on the following links:
- Tacoma honored for historic preservation legislation (Tacoma Daily Index, April 9, 2014)
- Year In Review: Historic Preservation Legislation (Tacoma Daily Index, December 26, 2013)
- What’s Left of Luzon? Report keeps tabs on demolished building’s artifacts (Tacoma Daily Index, February 22, 2012)
- Sidewalk party marks Luzon Building demolition anniversary (Tacoma Daily Index, September 8, 2010)
- Burnham, Luzon Building featured in PBS documentary (Tacoma Daily Index, September 2, 2010)
- Year In Review: Luzon Building (Tacoma Daily Index, December 22, 2009)
- Luzon art show, fund-raiser to benefit Historic Tacoma (Tacoma Daily Index, December 16, 2009)
- Luzon’s Last Dawn (Tacoma Daily Index, September 26, 2009)
- Downtown’s Lost Block (Tacoma Daily Index, September 23, 2009)
- Luzon will come down Saturday (Tacoma Daily Index, September 22, 2009)
- Luzon’s Tough Lesson (Tacoma Daily Index, September 18, 2009)
- City will demolish 1890s Luzon Building (Tacoma Daily Index, September 15, 2009)
- Luzon’s Dark Legacy (Tacoma Daily Index, July 10, 2009)
- What Looms for Luzon? (Tacoma Daily Index, April 28, 2009)
- Luzon Unlocked (Tacoma Daily Index, August 28, 2008)
- Resolution would facilitate acquisition, renovation of Luzon Building (Tacoma Daily Index, October 29, 2007)
- Renovation in store for Luzon Building: Development of historic site to begin this spring; commercial and residential spaces planned (Tacoma Daily Index, January 13, 2005)
- Pacific Block closer to being sold (Tacoma Daily Index, January 14, 2003)