Year In Review: Historic Landmarks

Much like last year, 2009 was a busy year for adding properties to the city’s historic register, as well as naming areas after late notables.

A pocket park adjacent to City Hall was named after the late editor and historic preservationist Ben Gilbert. According to an obituary published March 1, 2007, in the The Washington Post, Gilbert worked at the Post for 30 years. He also served on Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Urban Grace congregation added its 1924 Gothic Revival building to Tacoma’s historic register. It was designed by prominent architects Heath, Gove and Bell, and is believed to be the oldest continuously used location for Christian religious services in the city.

A promenade on Broadway was named after the late U. S. Senator and Tacoma Mayor Harry P. Cain.

Another addition to the local register: the University-Union Club building. The club was co-founded in 1888 by Tacoma businessman George Browne. Theodore Hosmer sold the land to the Union Club that year. Two years later, Portland, Ore., architects Whidden and Lewis completed the Colonial Revival building that would serve as the club’s headquarters. Its membership roster read like a ‘who’s-who’ of Tacoma history: Hosmer, who incorporated the village of New Tacoma, operated the Tacoma Land Company, and was a charter member of the Washington State Historical Society; William R. Rust, owner of the Tacoma Milling and Smelting Company; Allen C. Mason, who coined the phrase “City of Destiny” for Tacoma; Tacoma hotelier William B. Blackwell; and Chauncey W. Griggs, founder of the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Company.

Finally, the Washington Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. A signature downtown Tacoma property, the building boasts terra cotta trim, a grand marble staircase, and a penthouse suite with wrap-around views of downtown and Commencement Bay. The building was dedicated by the city on June 30, 1925, and officially opened on July 2, 1925. It was once touted as the “second tallest building in the Pacific Northwest” (behind Seattle’s Smith Tower).

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of these historic landmarks, click on the following:

City Council to vote on Cain Promenade, Gilbert Park nominations —

LPC approves University-Union Club landmark nomination —

Historic honor for downtown Washington Building —