Showing 71 results

Authority record

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).

Perry Keithley

  • 4.3.1
  • Person
  • 1907-1968

Perry Keithley was born August 7, 1906 in Castle Rock, Washington. He attended Centralia High School (Class of 1925) and Bellingham Normal School (1925-1927). After starting his career as an educator, Keithley attended summer sessions at Western Washington College of Education where he was a part of the first four year graduating class in 1933. From 1928 to 1930, he taught at Meadows School in Thurston County where he was one of two total teachers. He taught all students in grades 5-8. He then moved to Lincoln School in Gig Harbor where he served as principal and taught 7th and 8th grades from 1930 to 1931. In 1931, Keithley was hired as a teacher and superintendent of the Midland and Harvard School Districts in Pierce County. His early years working for the school district coincided with financial challenges caused by the Great Depression. During this time, Keithley served as superintendent, principal, teacher, coach, and school bus driver. He also organized summer recreational programs for students. For several years, he was the youngest superintendent in the state of Washington. He chaired the statewide legislative committee of the Washington Education Association and led an effort to consolidate the Midland, Parkland, Collins, and Central Avenue school districts into the Franklin-Pierce School District. Due to health problems, Keithley retired in 1957. He died at age 61 of pancreatic cancer in 1968. In 1960, Perry G. Keithley Junior High (later Middle School) was named in his honor.

Paul Meyers

  • Person
  • 1900-1985

Paul Meyers was an avid collector of railroad miscellanea, with a special focus on the Great Northern Railway. He was born in Leavenworth, Washington in 1900 and took his first railroad job at 12 years old as a water boy for a section gang. He spent 49 years working for the Great Northern Railway in a variety of different positions, and retired in Tacoma as general agent for freight and passenger service in 1966. He was also a member of the Tacoma City Planning Commission and was active in city clubs such as Tacoma Rotary, Tacoma Elks, and the Tacoma Executive Association. Paul Meyers died in Tacoma on August 11, 1985 at the age of 85.

Paul Jackson

  • CAC1001
  • Person
  • 1968-

Paul Jackson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 20, 1968. His mother, Vickie Cunningham-Jackson-Davis was born in Choopee, South Carolina. She was a twin and the oldest of ten children. She graduated from South Carolina State University and served as a civilian in the Army. His father fought in the Vietnam War. As a child, Jackson moved to Willingboro, New Jersey, a suburb 15 miles northeast of Philadelphia. The family purchased a home in the Levitt and Sons residential development, which had been successfully sued in the late 1950s for refusing to sell to Black families. While in grade school, Jackson lived in Fairfax, Virginia, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Cambridge, his mother attended MIT. It was there that Jackson saw his first computer when he was in the 6th grade. He played violin in the Cambridge Youth Orchestra and began playing guitar.

He attended Prairie View A&M University in Texas where he played bass in an award winning funk band. He received a National Science Foundation scholarship to obtain his PhD in computer engineering. His research focused on augmented and virtual reality within the aerospace industry. He completed three summer internships with Boeing and, after graduation, was hired full time and relocated to Seattle.

He has presented nationally and internationally on a range of topics including deep space exploration and digital media authoring. Jackson is the co-chair of the Swedish MS support group. He is a Chronic Disease Self-Care Manager and is certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid through the African American Reach and Teach Health Ministries. He and his wife, artist and educator Jasmine Brown, now reside in Tacoma.

Orpheus Club of Tacoma

  • Organization
  • 1903-1990s

The Orpheus Club of Tacoma was formed as a chorus that would offer both musical fellowship for its members and provide public concerts for the community. The club was founded on May 4, 1903 when a dozen men met at St. Luke's parish house and formed a temporary organization. Later that year the permanent organization was officially established. Members began practicing once a week in January 1904 under the direction of Keith J. Middleton, conductor and founder. The Orpheus Club's first public concert was held at the Masonic Temple at 734-36 Saint Helens Ave. on June 20, 1904. At the height of its membership from the 1930s to the 1950s the club consisted of over 70 singing or active members. Members sang at the opening of Stadium Bowl in 1910 and for the opening of the Camp Lewis Theater in 1918, and performed with the Seattle Philharmonic orchestra and the New York Symphony at the Tacoma Theatre. In addition to concerts, the club provided services to organizations such as hospitals, schools and retirement homes. Members from all walks of Tacoma's business and civic communities were long-time members of the club, such as Judge Hal Murtland, architect John Richards, grocer Iver Belsvig, early pioneer and wholesale supplier Frederick Mottet, and former mayor W. W. Seymour. From its founding until it was disbanded in the 1990s, the chorus performed two concerts a year and practiced once a week September through May.

National League for Woman’s Service

  • Organization
  • 1917-1918 (?)

The National League for Woman’s Service was a volunteer service organization created in 1917 from the Woman’s Department of the National Civic Federation's readiness and relief activities. In conjunction with the Red Cross, the NLWS offered classes in subjects such as sales, office work, and truck driving to train women to fill men's jobs while the men served in the military during World War I.

Murray Morgan

  • 6.1.1
  • Person
  • 1916-2000

Murray Morgan was born in Tacoma in 1916 to Henry Victor and Ada Camille Morgan. His father, a Unitarian Universalist Minister, was the publisher of a monthly religious periodical while his mother wrote children's plays and poetry. As a student, he wrote for both his junior high and high school newspapers. Before his 1933 graduation from Stadium High School, Morgan's article "How to Second a Boxer," was published nationally in Scholastic Magazine. He enrolled at the University of Washington where he studied journalism and edited the UW Daily. He graduated cum laude in 1937 and then moved to Hoquiam to report on sports and local news for the Grays Harbor Washingtonian. He briefly returned to Seattle to edit the Seattle Municipal News. While there, he reunited with Rosa Northcutt, who had also attended UW and worked on the UW Daily. On March 5, 1939, Murray and Rosa were married in Tacoma. The couple went to Europe for their honeymoon where they embarked on a kayaking trip through Germany and Austria. Murray's reports on the trip were published in the Tacoma News Tribune. He then wrote for the Spokane Daily Chronicle before returning to the Grays Harbor Washingtonian as the City Editor. In 1941, he moved to New York City to pursue a Master's degree in journalism at Columbia University. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, media outlets expanded their operations and Murray began working on assignments for CBS, Time, and the New York Herald Tribune. Rosa attended his classes and took notes for him while he wrote. With her help, he completed the Master's program and was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. He and Rosa moved to Lake Patzcuaro, Mexico where Murray intended to study and write about the Mexican press. Just a few months after their arrival in Mexico, Murray was drafted into the army. His first book, a mystery called Day of the Dead, was published under the pen name Cromwell Murray in 1946. While stationed in the Aleutian Islands, Rosa encouraged Murray to write about the history of the island. She conducted research and sent the information to Murray. This resulted in his first history book, Bridge to Russia: Those Amazing Aleutians (1947). Murray was then transferred to the Pentagon to work as decoder. While in Washington, DC, he worked with Rosa to research the CSS Shenandoah which resulted in the book Dixie Raider (1948). The Morgans returned to Washington and lived on Maury Island where Murray wrote a second novel, The Viewless Winds. They then moved to Trout Lake where Murray would live for the rest of his life. He wrote for dozens of magazines and newspapers including Holiday, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, The Nation, and the Saturday Evening Post. He also worked as the copyeditor for the Tacoma Times and taught courses and advised the student newspaper at the University of Puget Sound. He briefly worked the graveyard shift as the bridgetender for the 11th Street Bridge which would later be renamed in his honor. In 1951, Murray's most successful book, Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle was published. In the early 1950s, Morgan added the role of broadcaster to his growing list of occupations. He and Jim Faber co-hosted a morning news program on KMO and then KTAC where they discussed Tacoma politics and became known for exposing and discussing corruption. In 1956, Morgan joined KTNT to host a morning program called "Our Town, Our World," which would continue for 15 years. In 1963, he started a regular review column for the Seattle periodical Argus. Between 1969 and 1981, he taught a course on Northwest history at Tacoma Community College. During this period, he also taught at Highline Community College, Pacific Lutheran University, and Fort Steilacoom Community College. Over the course of his career, he wrote or co-wrote 23 books. He died on June 22, 2000.

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.

Marjorie Jane Windus

  • 6.3.2
  • Person
  • 3/29/1920-12/29/2013

Marjorie Jane Windus was born in 1920 to Louise and Harold Windus. Harold was a movie theatre organist in Seattle during the silent film era. Marjorie attended the University of Washington and after graduating moved to Chicago Illinois where she worked as a hostess/cashier at the Blue Note Jazz Club while pursuing a singing carrier. She returned to Washington where she received her master's degree in social work from the University of Washington. After graduating she became a social worker for the Pierce County Community Worker Unit. She developed the first community-wide resource directory in Pierce County. She also played a role in helping the Puyallup Tribe get possession of the building which would later become their community center (the former Cascadia Juvenile Diagnostic Center). She retired from the Department of Social and Health Services in 1983 and moved to San Francisco until early 2009 when she returned to Tacoma. Until her passing, she attended the Monterey Jazz Festival. She died in Tacoma after a brief illness.

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.

League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County

  • 3.4.3
  • Organization
  • 1920-

As the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was passed by Congress in 1919, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) reorganized to form the National League of Women Voters. Women in the Tacoma area had been active in statewide and national efforts to secure voting rights for women. Emma Smith DeVoe, of Parkland, served as President of the National Council of Women Voters which provided assistance and support to new voters in states where suffrage for women had been secured. In March 1919, DeVoe attended the NAWSA convention in St. Louis where President Carrie Chapman Catt began the National League of Women Voters. In January 1920, DeVoe and other local members of the National Council of Women Voters joined this national effort and converted to the state League of Women Voters in Tacoma. The Tacoma League began the Woman Voter newspaper in 1922 and took an active role in local politics. While the League became involved in work around restructuring city government as early as 1946, it wasn’t until the 1950s that membership expanded as a result of increased attention to local politics and restructuring efforts. By the end of the 1950s, there were 200 members of the Tacoma league. As more women joined from other areas of Pierce County, the League began to expand their focus to cover local issues outside of the City of Tacoma. In 1962, the group officially became the League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County to reflect their broader membership and scope. In 1974, the League dropped their requirement that members be women to join, allowing anyone with an interest in local political engagement to become involved. The group continues to produce and distribute The Voter newsletter. They also produce studies on a range of local and regional political topics and TRY (They Represent You) directories of elected officials in Pierce County.

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.

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.

Joseph Seto

  • 3.3.2
  • Person
  • 1925-2021

Joseph "Joe" Seto was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1925 to Toraichi and Kiyo Seto. In 1942, Joe and his family were forced by the US Government to report to an incarceration camp in central California. They were then transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Camp in northern California. As part of a wartime labor program, Joe was temporarily released from Tule Lake to harvest sugar beets in Montana. He then joined his brother Matthew in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There he worked a variety of jobs before enrolling at Augsburg College. He completed a BS degree at the University of Minnesota. He then completed a Masters and PhD in Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin. In 1957, he completed his postgraduate doctoral studies at UCLA where he studied the Influenza virus under Professor Fred Rasmussen. He became a member of the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church where he met Grace Keiko Nakano. Joe and Grace married in August 1959. They then moved to San Francisco where Joe began teaching at California State University San Francisco. The following year, Joe joined the Department of Microbiology at California State University Los Angeles. He taught, conducted grant funded research, served as Department Chair, and managed the Public Health Program. He took four sabbaticals in Germany where he conducted research at the Institute of Virology at the University of Giessen. The Seto family, including his children Susan and Steven, joined him in Germany. He continued collaborating with his colleagues in Germany after retirement, traveling there annually until the 2010s. In 1998, he retired as Professor Emeritus. Seto died in 2021 at age 96.

John Boynton Kaiser

  • Person
  • 1887-1973

John Boynton Kaiser (1887-1973) was the director of the Tacoma Public Library from 1914 to 1924. During his time in Tacoma he was also a member of the Washington State Library Commission, the Washington State Library Advisory Board, the American Library Association Committee on Enlarged Program, and the Justice to the Mountain Committee, which attempted to change the name of Mount Rainier back to Mount Tacoma. Kaiser left Tacoma in 1924 to become director of the University of Iowa Libraries. In 1927 he took a position as director of the Oakland Public Library, and in 1943 he became director of the Newark Public Library. He retired from Newark Public Library in 1958. Kaiser was also a library educator and taught classes in library administration at the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University. In addition, Kaiser served as president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association, the California Library Association, the New Jersey Library Association, and the New York State Library School Association. He was vice-president of the American Library Association, and executive director of the American Documentation Institute. In 1908 Kaiser received a B.A. from Western Reserve University, and B.L.S. (1910) and M.L.S. (1917) from New York State Library School. In 1960 he was given an honorary degree from Rutgers University for his contributions to the library profession. Kaiser authored numerous publications, a list of which may be found in "Annotated bibliography of the writings of John Boynton Kaiser, published 1911 to 1958; prepared on the occasion of his retirement as director, April 15, 1943-July 2, 1958, of the Newark Public Library" (1958, Newark Public Library).

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.

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.

J. W. Roberts

  • 6.1.3
  • Person
  • 1836-1912

J. W. Roberts, born July 17, 1836 in Hollingworth, England, was a farmer and early pioneer in Spanaway, Washington. He was born to Elizabeth Wilson and Samuel Roberts and had four siblings: Matilda, Jane, William and George. In 1843 the Roberts family emigrated from England to the United States. Census records show that the Roberts family lived in Wisconsin (1850) and Illinois (1860), but in 1860 J. W. Roberts was no longer living with his family and had presumably headed west. The year when J. W. Roberts arrived in Washington is unknown, though his papers indicate he was living in Pierce County as early as 1866. Other family members, including his parents, brother, and niece eventually moved to Pierce County and purchased land near J. W. Roberts' claim at the southwest side of Spanaway Lake. Through inheritance and investment, J. W. Roberts continued to obtain and lease land in Spanaway and parts of South Tacoma. At the time of his death in 1912, J. W. Roberts was a wealthy land owner, landlord and farmer who had lived in Pierce County for over 40 years. Between 1868 and 1912, J. W. Roberts recorded his daily work on notebooks, loose papers, account books and pieces of cardboard. The journal entries average only a line or two a day and give accounts of details such as the weather and his daily work: tending to livestock, planting, clearing land, and various household tasks. He describes trips to Tacoma and other nearby areas to purchase or sell goods, and visit family. J. W. Roberts’ journals and correspondence also illustrate his family’s movements in Pierce County. His parents settled in Steilacoom in 1870, and his brother George Roberts lived in South Tacoma and ran Roberts Granite & Marble Works at 5304 South Alder St. In the last month of his life, J. W. Roberts’ journal entries made mention of “akes & pains,” swollen ankles, and being “verry sick.” According to his obituary, J. W. Roberts died May 12, 1912 at his brother George Roberts’ home in Tacoma. On May 14 his funeral was held in the Merrow & Storlies Chapel in South Tacoma. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery. J. W. Roberts died a wealthy man without a wife, children or a will. After his death there were several claims on his sizable estate, estimated at the time to be worth between $70,000 and $90,000. Claimants included his great-grandnephew Charles Larson who petitioned on behalf of himself and his siblings, and a woman named Marguerite Clark Mulroy Snyder of Rockford, Illinois who declared herself a long-lost granddaughter. Both petitions were eventually rejected by the courts, and the claim by Mrs. Snyder declared grossly fraudulent. Included in these papers is a full record of this court case which made front page news and attracted considerable attention in both Tacoma and Rockford, Illinois. In the end, half of J. W. Roberts’ estate was awarded to his only surviving brother George Roberts, and the other half was split between two nieces, Elizabeth Beck and Catherine Rossiter.

Illema Club

  • 3.7.1
  • Organization
  • 1901-1977

The Illema club was organized in 1901 by Mrs. Edwin Sharpe, Mrs. Frank LaWall, Mrs. J.W. Clare, Mrs. Stanton Warburton, Mrs. John L. Mills and Mrs. W.B. Coffee. The name Illema is taken from the first letters of all of the founding members' first names, although they kept this a secret in initial appearances in the Tacoma Daily News. The group met biweekly at rotating houses around Tacoma. The group appears to have always had a literary focus rather than social or philanthropic. The final recorded meeting was on September 25th, 1977. The club colors were green and white and the club flower was the white carnation.

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