World War I brought an industrial boom as lumber was used in local shipyards. The U.S. Army constructed Camp Lewis on 70,000 acres of land purchased by Tacoma voters on the Nisqually plain. The Tacoma Port was established in November 1918 to improve industrial waterways and facilities.
Agriculture suffered after World War I, and the price of timber dropped by half. Take a look at these stunning historical photos from the 1910s that show Tacoma’s street scenes, landmarks and every day more than a century ago. Vote your favorites, and don’t forget to share.
Busy street view of Broadway (formerly C street) looking north from 11th, Tacoma. Four streetcars, parked automobiles, and pedestrians are present, and the names of various Tacoma businesses and merchants (drug store, piano store, shoe store, and Y.W.C.A.) are visible on signs.
The Eugene Church Co. business is on the corner of the first floor of the building. The hotel was built in1884, McKim, Mead & White / Stanford White, architects, and demolished in 1935. An automobile is parked at the corner of the building. A horse-drawn vehicle is in front of the building in the left image. A totem pole is near the building, in the image right.
Black and white photograph shows large and small rocks scattered on the tracks of the Tacoma Rail and Power Company on the Tacoma Avenue line, July 16, 1917, during the strike by the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, Division 758, Tacoma, Pierce County, WA.
Tacoma City Humane Officer for many years. Here he is shown in a city automobile at 9th & Tacoma Avenue. The automobile was bought by friends for Van Voris when he was named Humane Officer because he had a disability, and his acceptance of the position would have been impossible without a car.
Stacks of lumber are visible on the dock. The buildings of the lumber mill are visible along the shoreline. In the distance are two houses behind the lumber mill and three additional houses on the bluff in the distance. A large plume of dark smoke emits from one of the stacks at the lumber mill.
The stern of another steamship is partially visible at the image's left edge. Warehouses along the dock are visible behind the ships. The Tacoma Hotel is on the horizon, above the Tacoma Municipal Dock building. The Mason Hotel and Old City Hall are right on the horizon. Sign on building above warehouses in the image left: Indianapolis & Chippewa. The S.S. Indianapolis was built in 1904 and ran the Seattle to Tacoma route from 1911 to 1930.
The row of elephants, including baby elephants in front of the F.W. Woolworth store, 1122-1128 Broadway. Built 1914. Building designed by Heath & Gove, architects. The elephants wear cloth advertisements for Columbia Brewery, Tacoma Marine Market, and an ad for the elephants' appearance.
There is an advertisement for Porters None-Such Bread on the false front. A sign for Pacific Laundry is visible on the left side. Attached to the right side of the porch is a sign advertising Vebo cigarettes, and another is attached to a lean-to, along with a sign advertising "Pearline for Easy Washing."
A Street is almost parallel to the right image edge, and South Tenth Street is lower. Lakewood Subdivisions, Lewis L. Tallman, president, and M. Roy Thompson, secretary-treasurer; Delmont Miller Co. Inc., Real Estate, Homebuilders, Insurance, Delmont Miller, secretary-treasurer.
Elevated view of aviator Harvey Crawford seated in his biplane on the Tacoma, following his flight near the Puyallup Valley Fair fairgrounds. A crowd of men surround the biplane; 3 boys are in the background. A watercourse runs horizontally above the photo center, and many piles of lumber are on the far shore.
Signs on banners above Street: Welcome Northwest Sign Craft; Speedway Tickets Here, Races July 4. Business signs on buildings in the background: Palace Hotel; Central Lunch; Doctor Keefe (John J. Keefe, whose office is 952 1/2 Pacific); Dayton Agency, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Repairing Supplies.
The bowl is filled with spectators, and Stadium High School is visible in the background. A grandstand, with possibly 2 musical groups seated on it, is at the far end of the field. A large group of women wearing light and dark gymnasium suits stands in rows information on the field. A group of women in light-colored clothing stands close together at the near end of the field.
The image shows an equestrian event taking place at Stadium Bowl. A group of horses and riders are riding in a circle on the field while spectators view the stands on the right. A large American flag hangs from the far lower left of the bleachers. There are hurdles set up on the left of the field. Commencement Bay and the tideflats are on the far left.
One man is holding a filled flour sack on a table built around the chute, descending from an upper story through the floor. A hand cart loaded with filled sacks is beside him. Another man stands by the table with an empty hand truck. Stacks of filled flour sacks are in the background.
The photo left is of a barbershop with a barber pole mounted on the building. The names printed on the album page by photo are Tanezo Niiyama (standing in the doorway) is identified as owner, and Moriichi Yamane (in dark apron), identified as a worker. However, the man in the photo is not identified as one. In the photo right is the shoe repair business of John J. Herzog; the man standing in the doorway wears a dark apron.
Several women sit on the float in a circle, surrounding an elevated central portion of a woman representing Lady Liberty. Some of the seated women hold umbrellas, parasols, and U.S. flags. Lady Liberty wears a headband with projecting spokes and holds a tall staff with a plume at the top. Four women stand on one side of the float. Two large U.S. flags are on the corners of the float.
The float, pulled by 3 teams of decorated horses, has 3 levels. Eight girls wearing sashes across their chests with light-colored, Swiss-style crosses and illegible writing are visible on the lowest level. Seven girls wearing sashes with state names sit on the next level. Two women with long robes and one probably dressed as Lady Liberty sit on the highest level at the back of the float under a canopy with the word Liberty on top. Flowers and bunting arranged in designs decorate the sides of the float.
The ship in the water at image center left, visible from the starboard side, is undergoing construction of its superstructure. In the image center right, a ship's hull under construction in drydock is visible. Buildings on land or possibly on pilings in the water are visible in the image center background.
The image looks from behind a low wooden partition down the length of a room with several bank teller windows in the image right and across the back wall in the image center. A telephone is on the wooden partition in the lower-left corner, and a closed rolltop desk is in the right foreground. A stairway descends to a lower floor in the image left.
The image shows a woman posing outside a store located at 3615 South G Street, across from Lincoln High School. Lettering above the storefront identifies the business as Clark's Confectionary and reads partially "Clark's Confectionary, School Supplies, Lunch." The woman stands to the right of two screen doors at the entry to the store. She wears a white blouse and apron and a long dark skirt. Two large double-hung windows are on either side of the doorway.
Shoe boxes are stacked floor to ceiling on the side and rear walls of the narrow room, and a ladder is in the photo left. Seats for customers and a low seat or stool for the salesman are in the photo center. Shoes are visible in a glass case in the photo right, and some hang from a display board hanging behind customer seats.
Another man sits at the scale controls. A man wearing a suit, vest, and hat stands beside this man as if he is supervising the process. Two more workers are standing by partially loaded hand trucks in the background in the image center. They are standing beside a platform on which 3 men sit, filling flour sacks from openings in the tall wall beside them. Stacks of empty flour sacks are piled beside these men.
A uniformed nurse, a woman wearing an apron, and a man pose at the corner of the building. Sign on front of the 3-story building: The Jones Private Hospital. Sign on building's side: The Jones Maternity Home and Convalescent Hospital. A large, possibly maple tree covers part of the right edge of the building in the image right.