Showing 71 results

Authority record

Tacoma City Council

  • 1.1.1
  • City of Tacoma Department

In November of 1883, the territorial legislature passed a law that resulted in the merging of Tacoma City (Old Tacoma) and New Tacoma. The law stated: "That on and after the first Monday of January, 1884, the city of Tacoma, incorporated on November 12, 1875, and New Tacoma, incorporated on November 5, 1881, shall be consolidated under one city government, to be known as Tacoma."

The law also stipulated that an election was to take place in December 1883 to elect a "mayor, city marshal, and three councilmen for each ward." The city was divided into three wards leading to the election of a ten member council. The merger of the two cities occurred on January 7, 1884 with John Wilson Sprague serving as Mayor. Sprague and the nine council members were to serve for an interim term until another election could be held in May 1884.

In 1910, a commission style government was put in place with elected officials managing utilities, public works, and public safety. In 1952, Tacoma voters approved the Mayor/City Manager System that remains in place today. Under this model, the elected Mayor and City Council determine policy that is implemented by the City Manager. The Council is made up of eight Council Members, representing five districts and three at-large positions, and the Mayor. They are responsible for "enacting and amending City laws, adopting the Biennial Budget, appointing citizen board, committees, and commissions, and providing guidance and direction for actions which affect the quality of life in the City."

Gordon Johnston

  • 1.2.1
  • Person
  • 1918-2006

Gordon Johnston was born in South Tacoma in 1918. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1936, and married his wife, Esther, in 1941. During World War II, he served in the U.S Army as a Master Sergeant.

Johnston was elected mayor of Tacoma in 1969, defeating incumbent mayor A.L. "Slim" Rasmussen by a mere one percent of the vote. Previously, he worked as an architect and It was his first time running for public office. In his first year in office, both Johnston and the city council members faced recall campaigns from the citizens of Tacoma. Following petitions calling for the recall of five city councilors, there were additional calls for Mayor Johnston and the remaining three council members to be removed from office as well. In a vote in September 1970, five councilors were voted out of office. Johnston remained in office and served two terms as Tacoma’s mayor.

As mayor, Gordon Johnston was involved with the Puget Sound Governmental Conference. In 1975, the organization voted to reorganize under the name Puget Sound Council of Governments until it dissolved in 1991. Additionally, Johnston worked with the Puget Sound Air Pollution Control Agency and was involved in a decision to require the ASARCO smelter plant to reduce its sulfur emissions by 90 percent, receiving both citizen backlash and support in response. Additionally, two important municipal projects that happened while Johnston was in office was creating Broadway Plaza downtown and converting the old City Hall Building into a food and shopping center. Following his time as mayor, Johnston represented Housing and Urban Development as an administrator, retiring in 1985. As a lifelong resident of Tacoma, he spent his years of retirement camping and spending time with his grandchildren until he passed away in 2006.

Mike Parker

  • 1.2.2
  • Person
  • 1947-2019

Mike Parker was born in Renton, Washington on May 23, 1947. He became the youngest legislator in Washington state history when he was elected to the State House of Representatives at age 26. He ran for U.S. Congress in 1976, but lost to fellow Democrat Norm Dicks in the primary. The following year, he launched his mayoral campaign. On November 8, 1977, he defeated state senator Lorraine Wojahn to become the youngest Mayor ever elected in Tacoma at age 30. Parker is most known for his role in developing plans and gathering support for the Tacoma Dome. He also played a key role in establishing a Tacoma Police Department motorcycle fleet and successfully lobbying the state Department of Transportation to include Tacoma in signage and branding for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. After his term as Mayor, he ran to become the first Pierce County Executive, but lost to Booth Gardner. He went on to pursue a career in the broadcast industry. At the time of his death in 2019, he was survived by his wife Maria and children Michael, Jr. Jeffrey, David, Dianna, and Sara along with seven grandchildren.

Bill Baarsma

  • 1.2.3
  • Person
  • 1943-

Bill Baarsma was born in Tacoma in 1943. He attended Stadium High School and the University of Puget Sound (Class of 1964) where he studied political science. He obtained a master's degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he served as a clerk for Senator Henry M. Jackson and as a White House Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. From 1968 to 2001, Baarsma taught political science, business management, and public administration at the University of Puget Sound. In 1991, he was elected to City Council and, in 2001, he became the 38th Mayor of the City of Tacoma. During his two terms as Mayor, Baarsma was involved in the development of the Click Network, the largest municipally owned telecommunications system in North America.

Karen Vialle

  • 1.2.4
  • Person
  • 1943-2019

Karen Vialle was born in Tacoma in 1943 to Leo and Arline Ristvet. She graduated from Wilson High School in 1961 and from the University of Puget Sound in 1963. In 1988, she launched her first run for office and was elected to the Tacoma City Council. In 1990, she became the first woman elected Mayor of Tacoma, serving in the role until 1994. She was elected to the Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors in 2011 and 2017. She also served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Puget Sound, a consultant for the Puyallup and Muckleshoot tribal school systems, a substitute teacher, executive director of Centro Latino, assistant director of the State Budget Office, and deputy chief for the State Insurance Commissioner. In 2019, former Mayor Marilyn Strickland credited Vialle for making it possible for other women and diverse candidates to run for office in Tacoma. As Mayor, Vialle arranged for the purchase and cleanup of the Foss Waterway and led urban renewal and mass transit projects.

Harold M. Tollefson

  • 1.2.5
  • Person
  • 1911-1985

Tollefson was born in Perley, Minnesota, one of seven children. His family moved to Tacoma when he was two and lived in the McKinley Hill neighborhood. He graduated in 1928 from Lincoln High School, then worked at Hunt and Mottet Hardware to support two of his siblings while they completed their education. He was an enthusiastic amateur athlete.

Tollefson graduated with a law degree from the University of Washington and began practicing law in Tacoma in 1939. In 1952 as a freeholder, he helped draft a new charter for Tacoma, changing it from a Commissioner--Mayor to a Council--Manager system of government. Following adoption of the new charter, he won a seat on the new City Council. The Council appointed him to Mayor. As Mayor, Tollefson worked to shut down commercial prostitution and gambling in the city. He oversaw development of modern sewage treatment for Tacoma, undertook a program of street paving and lighting, and worked to replace the city’s wooden water mains. After completing his term as Mayor, he served on the Council from 1956-1958.

In 1962 he was directly elected Mayor by citizens of Tacoma. In this second mayoral term Tollefson brokered an agreement for joint tenancy of the County-City Building. He successfully lobbied the Washington State Legislature to allow cities and counties to receive a portion of the State sales tax. He led the fight to protect Tacoma’s Green River Watershed by keeping the area closed to the public. He supported completion of the Cowlitz River dams.

Tollefson served on the Executive Board of the Association of Washington Cities. In 1966 he was elected President of the National League of Cities. In these positions Tollefson championed increased intergovernmental cooperation. He organized municipal lobbying efforts in favor of full funding for the Model Cities program.

Defeated in the 1967 election, Tollefson returned to practicing law in Tacoma. He continued in public service as a board member of the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington. He was President of the Tacoma Lion’s Club and the Tacoma Bar Association.

Tollefson was survived by his wife Edith, his children Nicola, Andrea and Brian, three grandchildren, sisters Agnes Hendrickson and Gyda Langlow, and brother Erling.

Tacoma Police Department

  • 1.3.1
  • City of Tacoma Department
  • 1885-

The origins of the Tacoma Police Department can be traced back to the appointment of Leonard Diller as City Marshal of what would become Old Tacoma in 1874. Following the incorporation of New Tacoma in 1880, Henry Williams became the first City Marshal of New Tacoma. In 1884, Old and New Tacoma combined to form the City of Tacoma. E.O. Fulmer, who had begun as City Marshal of New Tacoma in 1882, became the first City Marshal of the City of Tacoma. New Tacoma's combined police station and jail on the southeast corner of 12th Street and Cliff Avenue served as Police Headquarters until 1899.

City Ordinance No. 77 formally created the Tacoma Police Department on April 15, 1885. Under this ordinance, a chief of police was to be elected by the City Council. The person in this role would be responsible for identifying and hiring officers. Because the role of City Marshal was established by the City Charter, the City Attorney determined that the Chief of Police and City Marshal would continue to serve simultaneously without one taking precedence over the other. The Mayor, R.J. Weisbach, appointed himself Chief of Police while E.O. Fulmer remained City Marshal. In 1886, the City stopped paying Fulmer and he successfully took legal action for lost wages. An 1896 ordinance established funding for the police department at a rate of $25.00 per month.

The development of the police department followed patterns of change nationally. Horses and a bicycle squad preceded the acquisition of the department's first motor vehicles in 1910. During Prohibition, local police were said to have met bootleggers at the docks to safely escort them to their warehouses. As the Great Depression took hold, the Tacoma Police Department and Tacoma Fire Department challenged each other to a football game. Admission was charged and the money was used to purchase flour and beans to distribute to hungry families in Tacoma. In the 1940s, police were responsible for enforcing Executive Order 9066 by forcing local families of Japanese descent into incarceration facilities and confiscating their cameras, radios, and other banned items. Controversial "vice squads" were active in the 1950s. While some supported the work of cracking down on gambling and prostitution, the department was accused of using unlawful tactics and the entire squad was demoted to patrol by Mayor Ben Hanson. "Community based policing" was embraced by the department in the 1960s. Officers began wearing name badges and being assigned to specific neighborhoods. The department came under national scrutiny over tactics used by police during violent clashes with local Indigenous tribes over fishing rights in the 1970s. In the 1980s, there was widespread coverage in local media about racial discrimination and use of excessive force by Tacoma police officers. In the 1990s, officers staged a protest against Chief Phillip Arreola in response to his accusation that officers were covering up the misdeeds of other members of the force. The 2000s saw the establishment of the Marine Services Unit and the opening of a new headquarters at 3701 South Pine Street. In 2020, nationwide protests broke out in response to police violence against people of color. Locally, these protests intersected with the killing of Manuel Ellis, a Black man, by police in March 2020.

As of 2022, the Tacoma Police Department has the following mission statement: "To create a safe and secure environment in which to live, work, and visit by working together with the community, enforcing the law in a fair and impartial manner, preserving the peace and order in our neighborhoods, and safeguarding our Constitutional guarantees."

Tacoma Fire Department

  • 1.3.2
  • City of Tacoma Department
  • 1884-

The first local firefighting company, the "New Tacoma Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1," was established on May 29, 1880. The company was made up of volunteers using donated equipment. When New Tacoma and Old Tacoma merged to form the City of Tacoma in 1884, the two volunteer fire departments were also combined. Lack of equipment and an inadequate water system led to significant fire destruction in the early years of the department. The City Council considered multiple plans to respond to the problem, even a proposal that all households stores 40 gallons of water on their roofs to assist with a fire response if needed. Beginning in April 1885, a new water system, the installation of 40 fire hydrants, and funding for equipment allowed the department to improve their response and reduce fire destruction.

After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the Tacoma City Council was determined to invest in its fire department to prevent similar destruction. Tacoma became one of the earliest cities in Washington to convert the volunteer positions to paid jobs. An alarm system was also installed that year which connected 28 alarm boxes with the alarm tower on I Street. In 1899, the tugboat "Fearless," owned by the Tacoma Tug and Barge Company, was outfitted with a pump and hoses to be made available to the department when needed.

By 1900, the department had a fleet of 33 horses. Seven years later the first motorized vehicle had been obtained. The complete transition from horses and steam fire engines to motorized vehicles was complete by 1919. The Tacoma fire fighters organized as the City Fireman's Federal Union No. 15601 and were charted by the AFL in 1917. The following year, they became a charter member of the International Association of Fire Fighters as local number 31. A bond issue passed by Tacoma voters in 1928 led to increased funding and the purchase of the department's first fireboat.

The Tacoma Fire Department today serves the city of Tacoma and provides contracted fire and EMS services to Fircrest, Fife, and Pierce County Fire District 10. They operate 16 fire stations, 5 medic companies, 4 ladder companies, and 2 fireboats.

Planning and Development Services 

  • 1.3.4
  • City of Tacoma Department
  • 1991-

In 1991 the Planning and Development Services Department was created through the merger of the Community Development Department and the Human Development and Planning Department (1). This department's mission is to partner with the community to build a livable, sustainable, and safe City by providing strategic, timely, predictable, cost-effective planning and development services with a culture focused on community engagement, customer service, creativity, accountability, and continuous improvement (2).

Tacoma Public Library

  • 1.4
  • City of Tacoma Department
  • 1894-present

The first movement toward creating a library in Tacoma occurred in “New Tacoma” in 1881. The four block area was established in 1869 by Anthony Carr who feared that the name “Tacoma” would be lost in favor of the more popular “Commencement City.” As New Tacoma grew, residents began discussing the need for a library. In 1881, the articles of incorporation for the New Tacoma Library Association were signed. A small number of books were accumulated but borrowing privileges were limited to residents of New Tacoma who purchased a share in the library.

In 1886, a group of three women were discussing books while they sewed. The city of Tacoma was growing rapidly, but books were difficult to find. What the city needed, the women concluded, was a circulating library which would be open to the public. One of the women, Grace Moore, applied her “untiring energy and lifelong devotion to the cause of education” to the effort and took action toward forming the library. By May 5, 1886, Moore had assembled a group of eighteen women to begin the Mercantile Library of Tacoma. The group ordered a collection of paper bound books and set to work binding them in pasteboard to make them more durable. The circulating library opened in Moore’s home before moving to several different spaces around Tacoma including the Otis Sprague Building on the corner of Ninth and C Streets. In order to pay for repairs to the books and the purchase of new items, a fee of 25 cents was charged to borrowers and an additional 5 cents for use of the space as a reading room. Through fees, donations, and fundraisers, the association’s collection quickly grew to 2,000 volumes.

The success of the Mercantile Library gained the attention of a number of prominent citizens and politicians who encouraged the Mayor and City Council to commit financial support to establish a city library. In January of 1889, incorporation papers were filed with the territory of Washington to form the Public Library. According to these original articles, the Library would be governed by seven trustees which would include the Mayor and two additional members of the City Council. The first meeting was held on April 24, 1889.

In 1890, a “gathering of public-spirited citizens” assembled to discuss municipal funding for the library and a new library building. “The people of Tacoma appreciate that hardly anything, aside from its special work, can advertise the city more than the establishment of a library such as is found in eastern cities,” said one attendee. A local businessman in attendance encouraged citizens to “think of the educational advantages derived from a place from which all who wish can get books.”

City Council soon passed a resolution to fund the Library at a rate of $75 per month. In 1891, the Library moved into the Ball Building on C Street. The following year, the City increased funding to $250 per month and committed the fifth floor of the new City Hall to be used by the Library at no charge. All materials that had been accumulated by the Mercantile Library were gifted to the City. William Curtis Taylor was hired as the first City Librarian and the library moved into its new City Hall quarters in 1894, becoming the Tacoma Public Library.

The Library soon outgrew the City Hall space, especially after facilities problems forced a move from the fifth floor to the second. A group of local citizens worked with librarian Reverend S.B. McLafferty to initiate work on a Carnegie grant to fund construction of a dedicated library building. In 1901, it was announced that Tacoma would receive $50,000 from Andrew Carnegie to fund construction on the condition that “the city will provide the site and guarantee $5,000 annually for maintenance of the library.” Soon after, the Carnegie gift was increased to $75,000 when the city agreed to earmark $7,500 annually for maintenance.

A number of possible sites were discussed before the City settled on the northwest corner of Tacoma Avenue and 12th Street, which was accessible by many street car lines. The building was designed by Jardine, Kent, and Jardine of New York and included “an eclectic Renaissance style punctuated by tawny Tenino sandstone and yellow brick from Seattle.” Construction began in 1902 and the library was dedicated on June 4, 1903. It was the first Carnegie Library completed in the state of Washington. The Carnegie building remained the only library facility until the South Tacoma branch opened on May 3, 1911.

n 1946, Tacoma voters approved a library construction bond. While several sites for the new “Main Branch” were considered, the decision was made to build a new large addition onto the Carnegie building. Initial plans by architect Silas E. Nelson included a rooftop parking lot and renovation of the Carnegie building to match the new construction. However, these measures were eliminated due to cost. Some plans even called for the destruction of the Carnegie building altogether. Groundbreaking for the 64,700 square foot building took place on March 20, 1951 and it opened on November 2, 1952.

Jacqueline Noel

  • 1.4.7
  • Person
  • 1880-1964

Jacqueline Noel was City of Tacoma Librarian from 1924 until her retirement in 1943. She was born in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 1880, to Jacob Edmund Noel and Eleanor Fresneau Leadbeater Noel. Jacqueline Noel graduated in 1913 from the Library School of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. She would continue to donate to the Pratt Institute throughout her life. Before joining the Tacoma Public Library staff in July 1924 as an assistant in the reference department, she was an assistant librarian in La Grande and Portland, Oregon.

While serving with the Tacoma Public Library, Jacqueline Noel became the Head of the Reference Department and was elected as the librarian to succeed John Kaiser. Jacqueline Noel is credited with expanding the branches of the Tacoma Public Library. She obtained the funds to build the McCormick and Mottet branches by raising donations from citizens. From 1938 to 1941, Jacqueline and the Tacoma Public Library worked with the Works Project Administration. She played an active role in the Washington Library Association.

Tacoma confectioner Harry Brown (1893-1960) created a butter-crunch toffee covered in milk chocolate and chopped almonds in 1923. Henry Brown then passed out samples of the candy to Tacoma residents. At the Tacoma candy company Brown & Haley, company lore credits Jacqueline Noel with the name Almond Roca. The name came about because of the hard crunch when eating the candy. Furthermore, most almonds were imported from Spain, and "Roca" is a Spanish word for rock.

Jacqueline Noel was an active member of numerous organizations. She was a member of the American Library Association and had previously served as vice president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association. During the American Library Association's 1933 conference in Chicago, Jacqueline presented a paper describing the business and technical books held in the reference library, which Tacoma citizens used widely. She had also participated in the North End Shakespeare Club. She was a past regent of the Elizabeth Forey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of the Huguenot Society of America. Jacqueline Noel passed away in Tacoma, WA, on May 19, 1964.


Noel Family


Noel, Edmund Jacob:

Jacqueline's father, Jacob Edmund Noel, was born in Cumberland County, PA, on January 25, 1847. His grandfather immigrated to America after serving in Napoleon's army and would later die during his service in the War of 1812. Jacob Noel's father was a captain of the Pennsylvania volunteers during the Civil War. Jacob served as a drummer boy early during the conflict; however, his father obtained an appointment in West Point. He would graduate from West Point in 1865. His class was sent out on a gunboat at the naval academy after the Confederate cruiser Florida off the Long Island

Sound. He spent twenty-six years in the Navy, where he rose to senior lieutenant commander. From 1871-1872 he participated in the first surveys of the Nicaragua canal route, and from 1872-1875, he led an investigation into the dangerous aspects of navigation. He married Eleanor F. Leadbeater on March 18, 1879, in New York City.

In 1889 the Noel family moved to Tacoma, WA, where Jacob Noel took up civil engineering. He served as deputy county engineer for two years, and for eight years, he served as the county engineer for Pierce County. Later, he began a private practice in 1912 and focused his energy on Masonic service. He became a freemason in Lisbon, Portugal, in July 1867. He died in Tacoma, WA, in 1918.

Noel, Fresneau Eleanor:

Eleanor F. Noel nee’ Leadbeater was born to Edward H. Leadbeater and Lucy S. Dodge around1857 in New York. She would marry Jacob Noel on March 18, 1879, in New York City. They would go on to have two daughters together, Jacqueline and Anita. She had a deep interest in family genealogy and became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution on January 2, 1896. She died in Tacoma, WA on October 15, 1924.


Mason Family


Mason, Anita (Noel):

Jacqueline’s younger sister Anita was born to Jacob and Eleanor Noel in 1885. She would graduate from Tacoma High School on June 6, 1902. On July 17, 1907, Anita married Thomas Wilson Mason with her sister as a witness. Anita and Thomas had one son, Thomas E. Mason (Teddy), born on June 12, 1914. She passed away in Tacoma, WA, on June 22, 1964.

Mason, Wilson Thomas:

Thomas W. Mason came to Tacoma, WA, in 1888 with his parents, John Quincy Mason and Virginia Murdoch Mason. Thomas was born in 1883 in Missouri. He attended Tacoma High School and later worked at the West Coast Grocery Company with Charles C. Hyde, the founder. Thomas W. Mason also worked with the Northern Pacific Railroad engineering department during the Kalama to Vancouver line construction. After marrying Anita Noel on July 17, 1907, they homesteaded in Flathead County, MT. He joined an irrigation project workforce. Later, he worked at various smelters in Tacoma, WA, Great Falls, MT, and Sudbury, Ontario. Thomas W. Mason also worked at the Pierce County division of the Standard Oil Company and retired from the Pacific Wax Paper company based in Seattle, where he was secretary-treasure for ten years. Following retirement, he formed Mason Sales of Tacoma. He passed away on January 6, 1950.

Mason, Edward Thomas (Teddy):

Jacqueline Noel’s nephew Thomas E. Mason or Teddy was born June 21, 1914, to Thomas W. Mason and Anita Mason nee’ Noel. Teddy graduated from Stadium High School in 1931 and received his undergraduate from Puget Sound. He was an employee of the United States Postal Service for 28 years. He died on December 12, 1986, in Tacoma, WA. In his will, Teddy donated $360,000 to the Tacoma Public Library in 1988 to honor his aunt Jacqueline.

Jacki Skaught

  • 1.6.1
  • Person

In 1979, the City of Tacoma voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bond issue to build a sports and convention center, originally conceived of as a “Mini Dome.” The city decided to apply a “Design-Build/ no bid” process for selecting architects and contractors. This was such a unique process at the time that Washington State legislation had to be altered in order to allow it to proceed. The central concept of the Design-Build process is that project initiators have a set monetary figure in mind, and will only accept a favorable proposal from a design team willing to work within these parameters. A Jury of Recommendations was officially created by the city council to help make decisions in every aspect of the planning and designing phases of the building. This team consisted of seven members representing expertise in building management, construction, downtown area business, architecture, athletics, education, and the interests of the citizens of Tacoma. Jacki Skaught, the donor of this collection, was the official “Citizen at Large.” Jacki, a former children’s librarian, came into this position with a strong background in city development and government. She was a member of the League of Women’s Voters and had held positions on the Tacoma City Council. As such, she had worked closely with city management. For three years, the Jury worked diligently creating a plan for selecting the site, choosing the design and functions of the building, requesting construction proposals, developing timetables, and interviewing construction team applicants. Part of the Jury’s work involved travelling to other cities to view structures similar to the designs they had envisioned. Although it was not the jury’s role to make any authoritative decisions themselves, the well-researched proposals they presented before the mayor and City Council were the guiding factors that shaped the design of the Tacoma Dome we know today. Jacki describes the planning and building of the Tacoma Dome as a true “grass roots” project. The Jury of local representatives worked well together, the public and local government were tremendously supportive, and the final accepted proposal was from a local design team- the Tacoma Dome Associates. The building was constructed on time and under budget, and featured the world’s largest wooden dome (made from trees blown down during the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s), and state of the art acoustics. The work of the jury proceeded with a few glitches: residents of a house that had to be removed from the building site held out for some time, and there was a heated public dispute (that continued on through 1984) concerning the selection of Dome art for the building’s roof. The Tacoma Dome opened to the public April 21, 1983. A VIP Grand Opening Gala was held the evening before, and the ribbon cutting was the next day, followed by three days of festivities planned by Jacki and the other Jury members. Although the jury’s work was officially done following the acceptance of the proposal, they continued to work together throughout the building construction, selection of vendors and sports teams, and other pre-opening activities. Jacki was actively involved in planning the opening week festivities, selecting the first manager of the Dome, and is credited with shooting the first basket on the basketball court. The jury was never officially dismissed, but they were officially reconvened briefly in 1985 to review issues related to the Dome after two years of operations. The jury informally disbanded after 1985, although individual members, such as Jacki, continued to participate in Dome related events and issues. For example, Jacki oversaw the planning of the 10 and 20 year Dome anniversary celebrations, and helped lobby for a 2005 bond issue for Dome improvements, which failed. Following her official work on the Jury, Jacki has remained active in Tacoma Dome events and has held other positions with the city of Tacoma. She served as an Economic Development Specialist, concentrating on tourism, business recruitment and retention, marketing, special events and international trade relations. She also was employed as a city film commissioner, promoting the Tacoma area for film companies.

Tacoma-Pierce County Opportunity and Development, Inc.

  • 1.7.1
  • City of Tacoma Department
  • 1964-

Tacoma-Pierce County Opportunity and Development, Inc. was formed "to employ the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Public Law 88-452, 88th Congress, as a means of providing stimulation and incentive for the mobilizing of the resources of the Tacoma-Pierce County community to combat poverty."

Richards Photography Studio

  • 2.1.1
  • Business

Turner Richards Studio was founded by Tacoma-born Turner Eugene Richards (1901-1968) (1). The Tacoma-based studio operated from 1919 through 1980 and its output included: moving images, portraits, industrial, society, business, advertising, news, and aerial photography.

The studio was first operated out of the Chamber of Commerce Building (2) where it provided both photograph and moving image services such as the recording of public performances and events for distribution with companies specializing in newsreels (3). One of these events filmed was a local parade staged for the opening of the 1920 film “Last of the Mohicans” that played before the film at the Victory Theater in Tacoma in 1921 (4).

In 1935 the studio moved its location into the Tacoma Hotel the same year the hotel caught fire (2). According to the Tacoma News Tribune, two policemen had to keep Turner Richards from entering his shop to save his expensive equipment. "He made several runs for the smoke-filled doorway but was stopped each time by the two policemen" (5). In the late 1930s, Turner Richards traveled to Hollywood to work as a photographer for Warner Brothers Studio (6). Richards also developed Technicolor and animated films later used in Walt Disney productions (1).

In the 1940s Richards expanded and opened Nancy’s Baby Portrait Studio located at 736 Pacific Ave in Tacoma (7). By this time Turner’s sons, Bob and Nelson, became the photographers at their main studio located at 734 Pacific Ave (8). Richards Studio expanded again in 1963 and opened another portrait studio at Villa Plaza, in Lakewood (9). On Sunday, February 18th, 1968 the Richards’ housekeeper found Turner Richards in his front yard and he is rushed to the hospital where he died. His death was caused by apparent suicide (10). The Studio was then run by Edmond Paul Richards (1905-1984) and continued to operate until 1980 when it closed (11) (12).

Stephen Cysewski

  • 2.1.2
  • Person
  • 8/25/1945-7/20/2020

Stephen Cysewski was an American photographer known for his self-described "wandering" style of street photography. Born in Berkeley, California he primarily grew up in the Tacoma area and graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 1967. After college, he moved to Alaska as a VISTA volunteer where he lived for a year in the village of Shaktoolik. There he worked many jobs including as a high school counselor for Indian Education at West Anchorage High School. He earned his master’s of Liberal Arts degree from Alaska Pacific University and then was employed as an assistant professor in Information Technology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1991-2009. He retired as a professor in 2007 and was granted emeritus status. Throughout his life, he traveled the world to such places as Korea, Thailand, Europe, Alaska, and Washington State to take photographs. In 1979 Cysewski traveled to Tacoma where he took hundreds of photographs of the downtown and residential areas in the city. Cysewski passed away at home in Alaska on July 20th, 2020 after battling pancreatic cancer.

Kenneth G. Ollar

  • 2.1.3
  • Person
  • 1912-2007

Kenneth G. Ollar was born in Tacoma on April 29, 1912. He attended Stadium High School, University of Puget Sound, and Washington State University before beginning a career as a photographer. He served in the Signal Corps as Combat Photo Unit Commander for General Patton during World War II and continued to serve in the Army Reserve for 21 years. Between 1940 and 1977, Ollar was a staff photographer for Tacoma General Hospital where he started the Newborn Baby Picture Program. During his time at the hospital, he took over 80,000 photographs of newborns. He also worked as a Mount Rainier National Park Photographer and freelance photographer.

C.E. and Hattie King

  • 2.1.4
  • Business

C.E. (Charles) and Hattie King were photographers in Tacoma in the latter part of the 19th century. Charles King was hired by Northern Pacific in the 1870s to photograph land where the tracks were to be laid between Livingston, Montana and Tacoma. In the 1880s, Charles and Hattie were hired to photograph local churches, residences, and ships. Charles was known for being one of the earliest photographers to capture an image of Mount Rainier. Charles King would go on to serve as a Tacoma Police Captain.

Christopher Petrich

  • 2.1.5
  • Person

Christopher Petrich was born in Tacoma. He attended Bellarmine High School, Georgetown University, and the American University in Washington DC where he studied art, design, and art history. He also studied under fine art photographer Alan Ross. Petrich began his career at age sixteen as a Photographer and Lab Technician in the portrait studio of Bert Perler. In the early 1970s, he sold cameras at Barney Elliot's Camera Shop in downtown Tacoma. He was hired as a Photographer by the City of Tacoma where he worked with William Trueblood and Jerry Timmons to photograph city events. He worked on a number of aerial photography assignments in this role and performed darkroom lab processing for the City. He photographed notable Tacoma visitors including Leroy Ostransky, Jacques Cousteau, Bill Cosby, and Richard Nixon and he created visual documentation of the Hawthorne District which was removed during the construction of the Tacoma Dome. In 1985, Petrich and Jerry Timmons founded Image Market Studio on 6th Avenue. Over the course of his career, he was employed by the Weyerhaeuser Company, the Washington State Legislature, and Yuen Lui Studios. His work has been exhibited widely across Washington and shown in Colorado, California, and Vermont.

Lewis Law Jr.

  • 2.1.7
  • Person
  • 11/22/1929-1/23/1998

Lewis Law, born to Viva Berg and Lewis Law Sr., was a graduate of Stadium High School and served as a US Army reservist. As a lifelong Tacoman Lewis' career at Tacoma City Public Works Department spanned 42 years. There he worked as a sidewalk inspector, principal engineer aid, and in the city's traffic signs department. An accomplished photographer, he was a division chairman and later vice president of the Tacoma Photographic Society. In these roles, he presented on photographic composition and shooting color film, among other photographic techniques. Lewis was also an avid traveler who photographed many of his trips throughout his life. He retired from the city in 1995 and passed away on January 23rd, 1998.

James R. Merritt

  • 2.2.1
  • Person

James R. Merritt, a native of Tacoma, graduated from the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1970. He became a registered architect with the State of Washington in 1973. In 1975, he co-founded Glassie-Merritt where he was as a principal architect until 1979. He then went on to hold this role with several other firms including Tsang-Merritt (1979-1984), Merritt Associates (1984), Merritt + Pardini (1984-1998), Merritt + Pardini/PMX (1998-2001), and Merritt Arch (2001-present). He and his firms worked on a number of projects across Tacoma and the broader northwestern United States including the restoration of the Tacoma Union Station, the Pinkerton Building, and the Rialto Theatre.

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