Showing 66 results

Authority record

Tacoma Centennial Committee

  • Organization
  • 1968-1969

The Tacoma Centennial Committee was organized to plan and oversee all aspects of the city of Tacoma’s centennial celebration in 1969. The celebration included parades, productions, and many other large-scale events.

Frederick W. Keator

  • Person
  • 1855-1924

Frederick W. (William) Keator was a bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Olympia from 1902 until his death in 1924. During these years he resided in Tacoma where he was active in fraternal lodges and many clubs and societies, and served as president of the Tacoma Public Library board from 1907 to 1910 and 1912 to 1923. His tenure on the library board included chairing the statewide Washington campaign to raise funds for the American Library Association’s Library War Service effort during World War I. Frederick W. Keator was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania on October 22, 1855. He entered Yale University in 1876 where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1880 and a Bachelor of Law in 1882. After practicing as a lawyer in Illinois for several years, he became interested in church work. He graduated from the Western Theological Seminary of Chicago in May of 1891 and was ordained an Episcopal priest later that year. He married Emma Victoria Lyon of Chicago in 1894 and they had one son, Frederic, born in 1896. He was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of Olympia on January 8, 1902 and arrived in Tacoma on January 25th. He soon became involved in many civic causes and organizations not directly related to his church position. In addition to his service on the Tacoma Public Library Board and many other posts, he served as president of the board of trustees of Annie Wright Seminary, was an overseer at Whitman College, and served on the board of Tacoma General Hospital. Frederick W. Keator died of a heart ailment on January 31, 1924 in New Haven, Connecticut while visiting his son who was an assistant instructor in electrical engineering at Yale University.

Bertha Snell

  • Person
  • 1870-1957

Bertha Marguerite Denton Snell (1870-1957) was a prominent lawyer in Tacoma in the early 20th century. She was born in Ottawa, Illinois in 1870. As a young child she was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Galway, Saratoga County, New York. Her uncle, the Hon. Patrick H. Meehan, ran a law office and post office in Galway. In later years she would claim that the time spent at his office and under his tutelage sparked her interest in the law. Bertha graduated from the Teachers’ Institute at Saratoga in 1888. In 1889, she moved to Seattle where she worked as a legislative assistant and secretary to the governor of the newly established State of Washington. In 1893 she married Tacoma attorney Marshall King Snell. Bertha assisted her husband in his law practice, and was encouraged by him and others to continue her legal studies. In 1899 Bertha Snell passed the bar and became the first woman lawyer in Washington State. She became a partner in her husband’s firm and together they built a successful practice. Among their cases were suits dealing with land in Pierce and Whitman counties, and a controversial irrigation and water rights suit in Idaho (Nelson Bennett & Co. vs. Twin Falls Land & Water Co., 1906). Marshall and Bertha Snell were instrumental in the development of Ewan, Whitman County, Washington, where they owned property. They also owned property in Spokane, North Puyallup and elsewhere in Pierce County. The Snells had a personal interest in history and supported the establishment of the Washington State Historical Society. The Snell Law Office drew up the Constitution and by-laws for this organization in 1898, and Marshall Snell served as an early trustee. Marshall K. Snell died in Tacoma on April 19, 1939. Bertha Snell continued to practice law until 1953. She died on October 20, 1957.

Erna Spannagel Tilley

  • Person
  • 1887-1982

Erna Spannagel Tilley (1887-1982) was a dedicated supporter of the arts and theater development in Tacoma, Washington. She moved to Tacoma with her husband, Homer Tilley, in 1917. She soon became very involved in helping to initiate and develop cultural and artistic organizations in Tacoma. She was one of the founding members of the Tacoma Drama League in 1918 and continued to be an active member for over fifty years. In 1935, she helped to organize the Tacoma Art Association and supported its activities for many years. Erna Tilley wrote several books chronicling the histories and activities of Tacoma organizations and people, including: The History of the Tacoma Little Theatre; Random Impressions of Early Days in Tacoma; Remembrances of Five Notables: Allan Clark, Joseph Washington Hall, Donald Benson Blanding, Thomas Schofield Handforth, Elsa Behaim Nessenson; and Resume: Early History of Tacoma Art Association.

Eldred Welch

  • Person
  • 1872-1947

Eldred Newell Welch was born on July 24, 1872 in Cordon, Iowa to Rev. William M. and Mary Ann Welch. Although he did not spend much time in Pierce County, he often corresponded with his parents and other family members who lived in the Tacoma area until the 1940s. These letters contain information about everyday news and life in Tacoma, and regularly touch on subjects such as the weather, farm work, local church activities, politics, and various local area events. Eldred Welch lived for many years in Portland, Oregon, and died on January 13, 1947 in Orlando County, Florida.

ASARCO

  • Business
  • 1888-1993

In 1888, Dennis Ryan built a smelter on the Tacoma Waterfront of what would become the town of Ruston. Under the leadership of William Rust, the smelter, called the Tacoma Smelting & Refining Company, processed lead. Ran successfully by Rust until 1905, the smelter changed ownership and names when it was sold it to the Guggenheim brother’s company ASARCO (American Smelting and Refining Company) for $5.5 million dollars. In 1912, ASARCO transformed the plant from lead to primarily copper smelting and refining. ASARCO received a lease from the Port of Tacoma in the 1920’s to expand the plant, which contained multiple processing buildings and the smokestack.

The smokestack, an integral fixture in Ruston’s landscape, transformed over the years. In 1905, it measured at 307 feet tall, and following complaints, was raised to 571 feet in 1917 to disperse smoke higher in the air in order to mitigate its impact to the surrounding area. Ruston’s smokestack was the tallest chimney in the world at the time. However, in 1937, following damage from an earthquake, the stack measured 562 feet tall.

ASARCO owned and operated the smelter until 1985, when it shut down the Tacoma smelter due to the falling price of copper. The smelter played an important role in the economy of Ruston and the South Sound area. Tacoma News Tribune reports that, “the Asarco plant had employed more than 1,300 workers at its peak” [1]. and the Tacoma Daily Index reports that “for most of its years in operation, it provided about 40% of Ruston’s tax revenues” [2]. Additionally, the operation of the smelter created unique environmental impacts in the surrounding areas. Throughout the years of operation, the smelter emitted arsenic both into the air and the soil, and the refining process included pouring molten slag into commencement bay. This resulted in the smelter being designated as a federal superfund site in 1987 [3]. The Washington Department of Ecology explains, “In the mid-1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required Asarco to start cleanup work in the Ruston/North Tacoma Study Area under the Superfund program” [4]. The process of this clean-up included demolishing the old smelter buildings, alongside replacing and capping the soil in and around the smelter site.

In January of 1993, in front of a crowd of nearly 100,000 onlookers, the smokestack was demolished with dynamite. The Tacoma News Tribune reported that, “The 75-year-old chimney was dropped in its tracks Sunday by strategically placed explosive charges that knocked away its underpinnings. Crushed by its own weight, the stack crumbled into a 250-foot-long pile of bricks, interspersed with metal bands and a few chunks of masonry up to 15 feet across” [5]. The demolition of the smokestack changed Ruston’s landscape as ASARCO continued the government-mandated clean-up process that would continue on for years. The Tacoma News tribune reports that, “In 2004, workers demolished the last building and finished burying the worst of the contaminated materials in a huge pit” [6]. Additionally, throughout this time, the neighborhoods and public parks in proximity to the smelter were being offered both soil testing and replacement. The Tacoma News Tribune reports that, “from 1993 to 2011, Asarco and the EPA lab-tested 3,570 properties’ soils for pollution, and 2,436 of them had at least a section of soil replaced” [7].

In addition to cleaning up yards, construction began in 2006 on the emerging commercial and residential hub of Point Ruston. Cleanup continued of the surrounding area, and Washington State received a settlement of $188.5 million from ASARCO’s bankruptcy claim in 2009, with $95 million initially set aside for the continued clean-up of the smelter [8]. In 2013, $5 million of these funds were put towards the Metro Trails Project, allowing for the contaminated soil to finish being capped, and the opening of the Dune Peninsula of Point Defiance Public Park opening in July 2019. Today, Point Ruston consists of restaurants, shops, residential facilities, and a walking path alongside Commencement Bay.

Results 61 to 66 of 66