Mikado at the End of the Line

During the golden age of streetcars it was common to build a folly or amusement at the end of the line to generate traffic on weekends and create an exotic destination costing travelers full fare. For New Yorkers the end of the line at the end of the 19th century was Coney Island. In Tacoma it was Point Defiance Park Marvin_D_Boland_Collection_BOLANDB7359with its roaming buffalo and caged bears, its carousels and thrill rides and its beaches and deep dark forest. Finished just three years after Union Station, a movie set replica of a Japanese Pagoda once greeted streetcar adventurers to the park and today the century old survivor remains as one of Tacoma’s more quirky and charming landmarks. Like a prop from a Gilbert & Sullivan opera, the pagoda just keeps on entertaining us with wit, wonder and one too many near death experiences. To quote the Lord High Pooh Baa in the Mikado “I’m not nearly finished!”.

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