historic preservation

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Welcome to the City of Destiny

Tacoma is a city rich with culture, history and historic architecture. From the earliest Native American inhabitants, to the first Euramerican settlers, to the subsequent waves of immigrants from both the United States and abroad, many peoples have contributed to Tacoma's cultural landscapes and the city that visitors and residents view today. Over the course of its history, Tacoma's appearance and form have changed as a result of the activities of its residents. The Tacoma area has numerous archaeological resources of cultural, ethnohistorical and scientific importance.

In addition, Tacoma has a rich architectural legacy in the form of buildings dating from the 1870s through the 1960s, which demonstrate the activities, hopes, and aspirations of its people as well as represent significant contributions to design thought. Incorporated in 1874, Tacoma became an important destination as the western terminus for the transcontinental railroad system. The railway connection to the deepwater port on Puget Sound established the city as a major link in national and international commerce, and attracted laborers, investors, and industrialists to the South Sound area.

Tacoma's downtown features several shining examples of urban adaptive reuse that have won local, state and national awards. Downtown Tacoma represents the wealth, hope and vigor of the early days of industry and speculation in the Pacific Northwest. Nationally renowned architects were commissioned for Tacoma's industrial, residential and commercial buildings. High style examples include the Chicago School, Beaux Arts and Art Deco. Neighborhoods developed around streetcar lines in a rich tapestry of styles, from examples of vernacular working class homes, to middle class Victorian and Craftsman styles, to high style homes exhibiting a range of design fads from the 1880s through the 1930s.