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My fair T-town

December 25, 2007
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We live about 400 feet above sea level, and snow was falling at our home when we decided to head downtown, where rain glossed the streets, and sky and water were uniformly pewter grey.  

Bright colors, like coral, turquoise, and ochre, add character to Tacoma’s diverse styles of architecture–Victorian and hi-tech, ethnic and glitz–to withstand the greys, revealing details and features that might go unnoticed on a sunny day.

I know I’ve written before about how depressingly unappealing Tacoma can be.  But downtown T-town has maintained an attractive vibrancy I find intriguing.  Besides, we have been touring Seattle neighborhoods lately, and have found Tacoma to contrast very refreshingly with them.

I want to take more rainy-day walks in downtown Tacoma and chronicle what it seems will likely continue to be the fair city of our abode. 

I took these photos on Christmas Day, and hardly anyone was on the streets.  I wish I had a longer lens that would have captured the Siamese cat in the upper-story window of the Winthrop Apartments. I used to go downtown much more because I had routine things to do there, but my routine sphere has changed, and now it will be a deliberate discovery excursion. 


The 11th Street Bridge across Thea Foss Waterway linked Tacoma’s downtown with the Tideflats.  The bridge has been declared unsafe–fire department personnel had already refused to use it and reach the Tideflats via the 21st St. Bridge.  The 11th Street Bridge is now earmarked for demolition.


Fireman’s Park sports this swell totem pole, contrasting ever so subtly with one of the swank buildings of the Frank Russell Group.  Frank Russell has announced that it has earmarked itself for departure from Tacoma.  The City Council is contemplating for the usual subsidy incentives to make Tacoma classy enough to keep Frank Russell.  Oh, who cares….


Variety in color, shape, line, and architectural accents keep the architecture gazer’s eye moving.


This Victorian block on Pacific Avenue has the dates 1886 and 1888 on its facades.


Tacoma’s Old City Hall is to the left.  Now it is a private office building.  Tacoma’s new City Hall (not pictured) is of bland, beige, Internazionale genre.


Tacoma is thematic.



The big question with the T-Link is whether it moves enough people to justify the traffic it holds up.


Quintessential Tacoma: optimism, fantasy, and a living Christmas tree.

  1. December 28, 2007 5:28 pm

    One of the best Christmas Days ever: walking the quiet damp streets of this old town while you took pictures.

  2. January 2, 2008 10:32 am

    From porch tours to treks downtown: you’ve come a long way!

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