Welcome to Tacoma Culture's new online
research tools page!
On this page you will find links to property research databases that
can provide a starting point for finding a historic property,
determining whether a property is listed on a historic register, and
locating additional bibliographical resources. For additional
resources, please visit the Resource Library
and Related Sites pages.
Historic Inventory Database (BETA)
What it is: compiled data from the City of Tacoma's
Community Cultural Resources Surveys from 1977-2005. Includes
maps, aerial photos, historical descriptions, and photos. It is
regularly revised and updated, so information may change.
Note: Most properties in this database are not listed
What you can do with it: This database is designed to be a
tool for property owners, investors, researchers and City employees to
access the City’s historic properties inventory. Allows you to
find potentially historically important properties--useful for
investors, consultants, and researchers.
Please note: this application is currently in development.
the Historic Properties Inventory Database
Is My Property Listed on a Historic Register?
What it is: map viewer showing properties that are
already listed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or
the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.
What you can do with it: find properties that are already on a
historic register. Useful for contractors, real estate
professionals, and current or prospective property owners.
Is My Property Historic database
Outside Resources - Pierce County
Pierce County Buildings Index
What it is: Indexed bibliographical information on Tacoma and
Pierce County Buildings, including permit references and newspaper
articles. Also contains photos. Maintained by Tacoma Public
What you can do with it: Excellent resource for researchers;
can help determine date of construction, designer, contractors,
historical events associated with a property, and the property
ownership. Indexed by address, construction dates, and keyword.
to the Pierce County Buildings Index
What it is: Mapping application developed by the
Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation,
showing properties and districts listed on the National Register of
Historic Places and the Washington Heritage Register.
What you can do with it: Locate properties listed on the
above registers, and access information about them, including the
original nomination documentation.
Outside Resources - National or Regional
University of Washington Digital Collections
What it is: The University of Washington has extensive
collections of digital materials, including photographs, architectural
plans and documents. (There is also the Pacific
Northwest Collection, which is a catalog of historical records
related to the region. Much of this is not available online, but
is a valuable resource).
What you can do with it: There are many records of
Tacoma related material, including photographs and architectural plans.
Go to the University
of Washington Digital Collections
Library of Congress Digital Collections
What it is: Outstanding archives chronicling American
history, including narrative material, newspapers and photographs.
What you can do with it: There are a number of
Tacoma-specific references and materials that can be obtained through
to the Library of Congress Digital Collections
Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering
What it is: Administered since 1933, the HABS/HAER
program has recorded America's built environment in multiformat surveys comprising more than 556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites.
Records available online include digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs, color transparencies, photo captions, data pages including written histories, and supplemental materials.
There are numerous Tacoma and Pierce County buildings in this
What you can do with it: Contains high resolution
photographs and drawings of many of Tacoma's iconic structures.
to the HABS/HAER collection