Tacoma, Washington History, Businesses catagory

These photos & images are private property, and may not be copied nor duplicated in any form or part without expressed written permission



Due to the large quantity of businesses in this catagory, they have been grouped in sections within this page. You can either view the entire page by scrolling down- or select from the list below to go straight to that group.

To view the Group listed below just click on that Group's Name.

LUMBER        RAILROADS/TROLLEYS        POLICE/FIRE/MILITARY

BREWERY        HOUSEHOLD ITEMS        WATERFRONT INDUSTRIES

FOOD/ ENTERTAINMENT        DEPARTMENT STORES        HOTELS

SERVICES- BANKS, ETC.        MISCELLANEOUS        NON-TACOMA



LUMBER


Here are a group of early lumberjacks chopping down what the Northwest was known for- trees. The region was plentiful in lumber, at least that was the common belief, so cutting & logging became the big industry. Planting replacement forests was not part of the plan until The Weyerhaeuser Company led a later effort to recover what had been removed.

Logging took a lot of manpower- and most of it was hand-done. This old photo shows a large group of men that have just finished felling a very large northwest tree. So large that many men could sit on it, and also so large that it took huge saws such as the one seen here, to cut thru the immense tree bases.

It was a popular theme to carve into huge trees for different purposes. Many Northwest trees were 20 to 30 feet across, which allowed for some radical cutting. Some were cut through at the base, as this one was- to have autos pass thru, some trees were actually felled and the remaining base was cut so as to make a house out of it.

A common Northwest industry was logging trees, this stock being from the Liberty Logging Company dated in 1918. World War I was foremost in people's minds at that time, so the patriotic theme was used for many business names- i.e. the "Liberty" Logging name.

text


text


text


text



RAILROADS/ TROLLEYS     


Here is Tacoma Daily Ledger newspaper from when Washington was not a State in the Union yet, but was a Territory. It is dated January 1, 1886, and the front page drawing shows the Northern Pacific Railroad's tracks thru Tacoma and heading south to Portland, north towards Seattle, and east past Puyallup's hop fields & the Carbor River coal fields, heading thru the Cascade mountain range by way of a 9,850 foot long tunnel, and on to Yakima in Eastern Washington. Tacoma got a big place in history when the Northern Pacific Railroad selected this city as it's western terminus. Since that time the railroads, and public transportation in the form of trolleys, have remained in the hearts of the people here. The photos below show just a portion of this great industry.

A beautiful photo of Tacoma Eastern Railroad's engine #3. This 4-6-0 locomotive is pulling a mail car along with 2 passenger cars up a modest grade.

Another neat view, this one of Tacoma Eastern Railroad's engine #6. The 2-8-0 loco rolls thru a mill, with wood stacked up all around.

Some of the crew of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway pause to get their picture taken.

Seen above is an original photo of the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Company's shay No. 5.

This is St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber's shay No. 8.

Another of St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co.'s shay, this one is No. 12.

The above 4-4-0 locomotive is the Columbia & Puget Sound Railway's engine No. 2, sitting on the turntable.

Here is an early look at a Tacoma Railway & Motor Company car, equipped to run on either cable or electric lines. The photo is courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society.

A look at a circa 1900 trolley going past St. Peter's Church in Old Town Tacoma.

Tacoma's Point Defiance Park has been a destination of visitors for over 100 years, and it started with cars like this wood-fueled streetcar.

This is one of the cars at the Station in Point Defiance.

This photo is of the Point Defiance line's car number 117. Cow-catcher guards on the front were an important part of Tacoma's trolleys; not only in a park that had roaming animals, but they also saved some inattentive people from getting run over.

People on this Columbia & Puget Sound train shown above have stopped to get their picture taken. When travelling on a trolley or train, it was proper etiquette to wear your Sunday best clothing.

The trolleys were very popular with tourists that came here to visit, with regular runs downtown and travelling to local view areas. You would go on a tour, and during it get your photo taken alongside the trolley. The photos were made into postcards that were sent to relatives & friends, this being one of those postcards.


The trolleys were marked on the roof edge as "Seeing Tacoma". With many of the same cards in my collection, but each showing different passengers, I have noticed that the same buildings are in the background; so the conductors seemed to have a particular spot they usually stopped at for these photos to be taken. Most likely this spot was right in front of the Pacific Avenue photographer's shop.

Seen above is a early 1900's postcard of South 11th Street, with a trolley going around the corner.

Here is a great look at an early 1900's scene of the corner of North First and Division streets, with a couple of trolleys on their daily runs. The building in the center of the photo was a pharmacy store owned by James Nelson Wells. This photo was provided by his granddaughter, Lani Peterson and her husband Jim Peterson.

This is a nice view of Tacoma Railway & Motor company's car #53, just coming out of the shop and looking spiffed up.

Here is Tacoma Railway & Power Company's car #61, also just coming out of the shop.

Equipped with a large cow scoop on the front, which actually saved a few people from getting injured or run over, this is Tacoma Municiple Belt Line's car #1.

Above is an original photo of Puget Sound Electric Railway's car No. 14, which is on a run to South Tacoma.

Tacoma Railway & Power's car No. 65 looks fantastic as it comes out of the shop for maintenance.

Here is Tacoma Railway & Power car No. 66 at a station awaiting passengers to load up.

Another of Tacoma R & P's cars- this being No. 67 with the conductors posing for the photographer.

Pacific Traction Company's car No. 108 is shown above. The company later became Puget Sound Electric Railway Company.

This is a postcard of a car in the Bellingham Electric Company's Harris Trolley line.

Another city is shown above, this being the Seattle Municiple Railway's car No. 809 on a run.

A look at Seattle Municiple Railway's car No. 824, shortly before the end of the trolley era.

The photo above is of a Climax geared loco; Hutchinson Lumber Co.'s No. 10, which is sitting in the yards of the Mt. Rainier Railroad by Morton. They have a collection of old-timers that are slowly being re-built.

The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad leaves the station at Elbe, Washington; pulled by Hammond Lumber Co.'s #17 steam engine, an Alco 2-8-2. This is a great railroad company that keeps the spirit of train transportation alive with tours during the spring & summer months.

Here is a postcard that shows the Mt. Rainier train rounding a corner. The train is being pulled by West Fork Logging Co.'s #91; a Heisler geared loco that was renumbered in honor of another 3-truck Heisler.

Another neat postcard is shown above. It has a pair of Vista Dome Zephyr trains going between Chicago & St. Paul.

The above postcard shows a beautiful look at a diesel North Coast Limited on a Rocky Mountains run.

A similar diesel-electric is seen here, but this is Northern Pacific engine No. 7012A; an EMD F9 locomotive. It is on a siding at the Mt. Rainier Railroad yard by Morton, Washington.

When you think of people-moving, Amtrak naturally comes to mind. The above postcard is of their Coast Starlight train between Seattle and Los Angeles.

Amtrak continues to be the main people-mover. This photo shows the afternoon run travelling below the Tacoma Narrows bridges.

Photos sometimes don't give the viewer the idea of which direction of travel is shown. This is actually the end of the Amtrak, heading away from the camera.

A beautiful look at Union Pacific's engine No. 5209 in combo, on an afternoon freight run to Seattle.

Above is Burlington Northern/Santa Fe's engine No. 6890 pulling freight south towards Portland.

Again the view doesn't show the direction- this being the end back-up BNSF engine No. 7783 pushing a heavy load. Note the door open on the front of the cab. Did someone forget to close it?

A distant view of BNSF's engine No. 6890 heading towards the camera. The engineers are great people- always honking the horn at the photographer; saying "Hi". Oh, alright..... they are really making sure the photographer doesn't get run over & squashed. But it's nice to think they are saying "Hi".

This is an original photo from 1946 showing the employees of the Northern Pacific Railroad's Boiler Shop which was located in South Tacoma. It is hard to see, but the person in the middle front row wearing the coveralls & white shirt is actually a woman.

Railroad companies produced many beautiful calendars over the years, this being the Northern Pacific calendar from 1972.

This is a Tacoma Belt Line Railroad give-away ruler. The belt line railway is still in existance today, serving the Tideflats and Port of Tacoma needs.

A quite rare find is shown here, this being a canvas water bag complete with cork stopper, from the Northern Pacific Railway Company. I have not found much info about it, and guessing it is circa late 1800's.

These are box car tags from a few railroads. The left side is a Burlington Northern tag for a car needing repair, the upper right & lower right are tags attached to belongings in a freight car; the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern railroads.

The Tacoma Eastern Railroad was an important railroad in this area, serving many businesses for decades. Their lines ran from Tacoma to the east, including many logging towns. This is a stock certificate, dated in 1909.

A rare find is shown here, a check issued by the Tacoma Eastern RR to another railroad. This check is dated 1911.

This stock certificate was unused, but still a neat one. From the Tacoma Railway & Navigation Company, it features a beautiful engraving of an old-time steam locomotive and passenger car exiting a tunnel. This would also be circa early 1900's.

Seen above is a popular postcard for Tacoma trolley collectors. It shows the Point Defiance Park run arriving at the station in the Park. The old train station seen in the photo still exists, used for many events such as weddings and social occasions. It was built to be elaborate with what, at the time, was expensive materials.

This is a metal badge from a hat which was worn by a Tacoma Street Car Company Operator. They were quite colorful, and so many were saved through the years.

You might get removed from the trolley if you didn't have your ticket, seen here are a Tacoma Railway & Power School ticket stub, and weekly pass for the Tacoma Railway & Power/ Pacific Traction Company, dated in 1924. The previous statement is not actually true. For many years Tacoma transit systems of many types were slack about removing passengers who didn't pay their fare. In a lot of cases it was 1 conductor vs. a number of men who didn't pay; the conductor decided it was better to just keep going rather than get in a fight the conductor would lose.



POLICE/ FIRE/ MILITARY     

POLICE


text


text

FIRE


Here is one of the early fire stations in Tacoma, this being Station No. 2, which was located at 2701 Tacoma Avenue South. The photo is an original panorama view which was popular around the turn of the century, with the horse-drawn equipment and crew in full uniforms. The photo is circa 1913, and the firestation itself was renovated in 1935. It is still being used today. To the left side of the station is St. Paul's Lutheran Church, which is also still in existance today.

The horses look to have been arranged by colors, the top view, left group pulling what was probably the Captains & higher ranking men, the white horses pulling the old type pumper hose equipment, and the automobile was a new addition to the firestation. The ladder truck was enormously long, carrying a number of ladders stacked one on top of the next. Tacoma downtown buildings were many stories in height, and too many were made with combustible materials which resulted in large & hard to extinguish fires. Some spread to adjacent structures, and in extreme cases an entire city block would burn.

Another Fire Station is shown in this vintage panoramic photo. This is the famous Station No. 6, which was located at 823 "A" Street. What was then modern equipment was often photographed with the respective crews. This photo is circa 1913. The station was built in 1890, and lasted until it was torn down in 1974. The area is now known as Fireman's Park.


Horse-drawn equipment was being replaced with more reliable automotive equipment, and these rigs look to be either set up for traction in the snow, or perhaps for going up & down Tacoma's muddy streets. Note the tire chains on two of the vehicles.

A vintage post card is seen here, circa the 1910's showing the same Firestation No. 6 at "A" Street. The city had many firestations across the city, and a number of them were located in the downtown area as those buildings were susceptible to fire & needing protection. One of the problems that early buildings had was they were made with creosote timbers in their framing, even though many had brick exteriors. A small fire might start inside a structure from workers smoking a cigarette, or doing work that involved a kiln or flammable chemicals that ignited- but then the fire would go uncontrollable because the creosote timbers burned rapidly.

text


A post card from the 1950's with fire trucks by the famous Totem Pole, advertised for many years as the World's Tallest Totem Pole. This being located next to the "A" Street firestation and the popular Tacoma Hotel that ironically burned down in 1935.

Here is a Fire Captain's hat from Tacoma. The firemen here had a reputation for bravery & distinction, often risking their lives in overwhelming infernos to save people and structures.

Another hat, this one being from a Marching Band in Tacoma, one of the many bands that performed at City events, as well as places such as Point Defiance Park.

The hat shown above is marked Tacoma 8, and on the other side is marked WW I. Assuming it is genuine, the markings denote the Tacoma Rotary Club #8, which was incorporated in 1910. The organization still exists, and it performs many civic & developmental programs for the city.

text


text


text

MILITARY


There have been several ships named the U.S.S. Tacoma, all different vessels. The 1st being built as the Sebago- which was re-named the USS Tacoma during the Spanish-American War in 1898. The 2nd USS Tacoma was a cruiser launched in 1903, and identified as PG-32, C-18, and CL-20. The 3rd USS Tacoma was a patrol escort ship, launched in 1943 and identified as PF-3. This ship earned three Battle Stars in the Korean War. The 4th USS Tacoma was launched in 1967 as a patrol gunboat, PG-92, and she served in Guam and Vietnam.
Seen above is a VFW hat of a man who probably served on board one of these vessels, at some point he was a Chief Petty Officer, and it seems the most likely USS Tacoma he served on was the PF-3; as it was involved in the Korean War, which explains the VFW association. The hat has the VFW logo on the other side (Not shown). Below the hat is a post card of the 2nd USS Tacoma ship, PG-32.

This is a vintage postcard of the PG-32, made around 1910. Because color photography was unheard of in the early days of taking photos, color ones such as this were originally black-n-white pictures that were hand-colored to give the viewer a more realistic idea of the colors.

The original photo shown above is of some of the crew, taken on the deck in 1916.

Seen above is the cover of an important booklet that was made to commemorate the crossing of the U.S.S. Tacoma over the equator on December 24, 1918. The event of this, or any ship crossing the equator is "celebrated" by way of a torturous number of initiations done to pollywogs, landlubbers, and sea lawyers into the Royal Realm. These tricks and tasks inflicted upon the first-timers of crossing were perpetrated by the veteran equator-crossers on board. For a week prior to the crossing, the events about to happen were seared into the newbies' minds as being so horrible that some crewmen would not survive. Then, on the day of the crossing the newbies endured numerous humiliating and not-as-dangerous tasks they were forced to perform, as the veterans, who were dressed up as various characters ensured each man completed his tasks.

This is a very rare original Neptunus Rex certificate that was presented to a crewmember who survived his initiation on that eventful day in 1918. The Petty Officer Third Class's (Storekeeper, rank of SK 3c) name was William E. Volz, a man who incidentally had made himself known a few years earlier when he wrote to, and was published in an important East Coast newspaper, stating his opinion that the large number of United States citizens that were, at the time, "stranded" in Europe and wanting to come back to the U.S., should be transported by the military ships which were in the area. This was done some years earlier in Vera Cruz, by none other than the USS Tacoma. Ironically, it was in Vera Cruz that years later- it would meet it's doom, along with it's Captain & 3 crew members.

Above is the autograph of the U.S.S. Tacoma's Captain at the time of it's demise. The ship crashed onto a reef by Vera Cruz in 1924. Herbert George Sparrow perished in attempts to keep communications open after the ship wrecked, in hopes of saving the ship. Captain Sparrow, and three of his crew died in that vain attempt, which was later recognized as a heroic act.

The photos above and below are original January 1924 photos of the PG-32, which at the time was the CL-20. These were taken after the ship had run aground onto a reef near Vera Cruz, and sustained heavy damages. The captain and three of the crew members drown during a week-long attempt to free the doomed ship from the reef. The Navy de-commissioned the ship right after this wreck, and then sold it to Vera Cruz in February of 1924.

The photo below is supposedly of the very spot where Captain Sparrow was killed. Though I have yet to find info on the exact cause & location of his death other than the reported drowning, I can presume that if the caption on this photo (which is contrary to other reports) is correct- he may have been killed by the upper deck collapsing on him, and perhaps three of the crew that were also killed.

This photo shows a side view of the wrecked ship from a distance. The news reports described the ship, even after the storm, as being pounded to pieces by the ocean waves as it sat stuck on the reef. Note the ship's lookout on the foward mast, literally shredded.


Seen above is the original ship bell from the PG-32, U.S.S. Tacoma. The bell is on display at the War Memorial Park in Tacoma, as described below.

A memorial has been made in Tacoma to the Military and Veterans, named War Memorial Park, it is located near the Narrows Bridge on top of what used to be Olympic Boulevard; the road that first led up to the bridge. Shown is the memorial plaque & info on the PG-32 U.S.S. Tacoma. Highway 16 took the place of 6th Avenue and Olympic Boulevard in travel to & from the Tacoma side of the Narrows bridge, and Olympic Boulevard was closed in the 1980's. This park was built on the site of the old road.

text


text



BREWERY     


Brewing and bottling were big industries in Tacoma before prohibition. Seen here is a tip tray that was used in taverns, this one being a circa 1900 Columbia Brewing Company tray from Tacoma. This company made a number of highly decorated trays, with colorful graphics.

Here is a different tip tray from Pacific Brewing Company. They made a beer named Tacoma that was popular here, but it was made & bottled in California. This company also had colorful trays that featured Northwest themes such as this one showing Mount Rainier, which went thru a number of name changes; Mount Tahoma, Mt. Tacoma, and finally Mt. Rainier.

Heidelberg Beer was one of the best selling brands of beer for many decades, brewed and bottled in Tacoma. This is one of their jumbo size bottles, for men with a big thirst.

A common advertising item when alcohol was the norm were these cute flasks which had funny sayings on them, usually including the city name in which they were sold. Men often brought a flask of booze with them to work, or when they attended social events.

Another way advertising was done was to have shot glasses either embossed or etched with a business name and logo. Turn of the century shots were made of thin glass, this glass is a newer thick glass with embossed lettering of French Drug Company, Tacoma, Wash.



HOUSEHOLD ITEMS     


text


Many different products were bottled here, chemicals, medicines, food products, and other consumables filled local store shelves. Seen here is a vintage Drug Company product. Most of these types of bottled liquids labeled as Drugs were really just alcohol.
Here is a true chemical bottle, which really contained Citrate of Magnesia. It was bottled in Tacoma for Victor Pharmacy, and it has an unusually fancy label featuring a beautiful engraving of a Heron. This is circa 1890's.
Center>
One of the numerous food products made and packaged in Tacoma, this Paulson Table Syrup was probably a most delicious tasting syrup. This is circa 1930's.

Brown and Haley's Company has been a long-standing chocolate & candy maker in Tacoma, this being a rare counter display card circa 1930's.

Local companies usually advertised themselves on their own equipment & tools of their trade, this being a brush from the Dickson Company, circa 1915. They were general outfitters and gave a brush such as this one away with each suit purchased.

text


text


text


text


text


text


text



WATERFRONT INDUSTRIES     


This is the front page of the Tacoma Daily Ledger when Washington was still a Territory- not a State in the Union. The paper is dated April 27, 1884, and it shows the waterfront with some proposed improvements. At the top of the sketch, on the right side is the Puyallup River with both the channels drawn; the river flowed to the north and west towards Brown's Point, but it was re-directed to the south and west where it flows today. The Northern Pacific Railroad was fresh on the scene, and most of the structures on this map were mills.

text


The Tacoma Asarco Smelter was a landmark on Commencement Bay since the Tacoma Smelting Company days before the turn of the century. In 1993 the smokestack was brought down and the site has been undergoing cleanup. On the left is a vintage post card showing the stack at it's original height, the middle post card shows the stack after the height of it was raised with more brickwork, and on the right is a commemorative poster of the day the stack went down, the event being witnessed by huge numbers of Tacoma residents both on land and in the Bay. For many it was a sad event, as generations of families were employed at the Smelter.

text


text


The photo above is a multi-shot taken as the smelter was taken down by demolition. The first explosions blasted the metal retaining bands from the stack, which made a loud crash as they fell off. The next series of explosions knocked the base off in key places, in order to make the stack crumble & fall where it was suppose to. The after effects (not seen in this series of views) was a huge cloud of dust & debris which rose up & blew across the vicnity, catching many onlookers offguard, and made people run from the area as fast as their legs could take them.


text


text


text


text


text


text



FOOD/ ENTERTAINMENT     


text


text


text


text


text


text


text



DEPARTMENT STORES     


text


text


text



HOTELS     


text


text


The Hotel Winthrop was a high class downtown Tacoma landmark hotel. Tourists would stop there to enjoy Tacoma, many came by railroad. This is an ashtray from the Hotel, circa 1930's.
This hotel, like most others had matchbooks for advertising give-aways. The patrons would use and save matchbooks, or carry them around to other places. When people would see them, they may ask about that hotel's service & accomodations. The word would spead about how good the hotel was, or so the proprietors hoped.


SERVICES: BANKS, ETC.     


Here are two popular give-aways from local banks, designed to encourage youngsters to save their money. The left one is from Puget Sound National Bank of Tacoma, the right is from Tacoma Savings and Loan Association. They are metal lockable coin banks, circa late 1920's to the 1930's.

text


text


text


text


text


text


text


text


text


text


text


text



MISCELLANEOUS     


text


Eyeglasses were a necessity for some, this pair was made by Kachlein Brothers in downtown Tacoma, circa 1890's.

Here is a tool from long ago. Men used to shave with these straight razors (also known as folding razors), and some still do today. This is a period one named Western Gem, and sold at F.H. Schwan B.S. Company of Tacoma, circa 1900.

It used to be that shoes, or what the younger generation might call boots, had buttons instead of laces. This is a shoe button hook, used to get the loops over the buttons. Of course they were a source of advertising too, this one was from Hedberg Brothers Shoe Store on Broadway Street in Tacoma.

To facilitate quick & precise marking of documents, notices, and such, stampers did the task nicely. Here is one from The City of Tacoma, Department of Public Utilities, and it is fairly recent. Seeing as stampers are a reverse image of what they print, the photo seen here was reversed, so you can view the design easier.


Stock Certificates are a thing of the past, which is a shame as history can be seen in these old documents. Local businesses, utilities, and various companies sold stock to the public, involving the community in personal interest with growth. This one is from the utility company, Tacoma Light & Water, and it is dated 1887.

Here is a neat stock from the Tacoma Company, dated in 1902.

The same Tacoma Company changed their stocks to look older & fancier, but this is actually newer than the above one. This one is dated in 1903.

The Tacoma Poultry Association chose a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln to grace their stock. This one is dated in 1913.

The Big Indian Mining Company is a popular stock for collectors as it has an unusual name, refering to Indians at a time when there was much aggression towards them. The company's logo also was an Indian Warrior, but this stock's engraving shows the company's business, which was mining.

A family-owned local business was Tacoma Boatbuilding, in existence for generations and one of the main industries in this area. Before railroads arrived in Tacoma there were sailing ships, the Mosquito fleet of boats ran up & down the west coast, and across the Sound handling the transportation needs of the region. Even after the railroads, movement on the water was a necessity, with this company and others like it building the ships that made this possible.

text


text


text


text


text


text


text



NON-TACOMA     


text


text


text


text






Copyright 2014, Tacoma Narrows Bridge Funsite