“Tacoma’s Great Pride” is Point Defiance Park — that’s according to an 1892 quote! Melissa McGinnis, Metro Parks Tacoma’s Historic & Cultural Resource Administrator, provided great information and stories about the history of Point Defiance Park, which continues to be a jewel in our region.
Established in 1907, Metro Parks Tacoma is the first park district in Washington. Point Defiance is even older! Charles Wilkes mapped it in 1841, and it was declared a military reservation in 1866. Tacoma was granted permission to develop Point Defiance into a park in 1888. The first streetcar arrived in 1890!
Melissa talked about the boat house, street cars, Pagoda, baths, breakwater, zoo, aquarium, Fort Nisqually and more! She says the waterfront is the park’s “greatest treasure.” Check it out for yourself soon! Thank you again, Melissa, for your time and wonderful stories!
Envision our Waterfront
Andrew Austin gave an overview of the “Envision our Waterfront” project. Andrew explained that the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma are just starting a project that would envision the future of Ruston Way in the next 50-100 years. Public input is important! The City and Metro Parks are interested in knowing what people like about Ruston Way and what improvements would be needed. They are looking at infrastructure and other aspects such as wayfinding, signage, art and activities on the waterfront. This project is just starting, and Andrew will come back to TWA to provide more information. To learn more and be involved, sign up for Metro Parks’ email updates.
Scott Knox, TWA President, gave the board report. Items included:
- The geographic area of the Tacoma waterfront. The Board recently agreed that for TWA the Tacoma waterfront includes the area from Dash Point to Day Island. Previously, TWA’s area encompassed the shoreline from Browns Point to Point Defiance.
- Calendar of speakers. TWA plans to have a calendar of speakers for at least three months in advance.
- Outrigger canoe race. Andy Michels with Kikaha O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club announced that Kikaha will hold an outrigger race on Ruston Way on Oct. 21. People are welcome to race and/or cheer the paddlers on! TWA added this event to our calendar.
- Stanley Selden Maritime Fund. Sue Schaeffer said that people are applying for grants from the Stanley Selden Maritime Fund. They plan to announce the fund’s first grant award winners soon. TWA will help get the word out about the grant winners. Find out more about the Stanley Selden Maritime Fund, including ways to contribute or apply for a grant here.
The next TWA meeting will be on Nov. 8 at 11:30 a.m. with Hartleigh Caine, TOTE Maritime. See you then!
By Liz Satterthwaite, Communications@tacomawaterfront.org