Tick of Time

A magnificent moment away from the hard work of plowing the rocky ground of Cromwell on Wollochet Bay in 1908. There is a sense of the moment in the way the boy’s hand is barely touching the smooth worn handle on the plow and in the shadow of a ferry and its trail of smoke passing behind the child on its way from Fox Island in the distance. An instant later the reins were snapped, the boy’s grip was tightened and the brut pull of the big white horse was roused but for this tick of time they all paused to look straight into the camera. Time and place posed.

The community was named in 1902 for John B. Cromwell, who was appointed post master of Tacoma in 1899. Cromwell had a post office from March of 1903 to September of 1931. The 1889 Atlas of Pierce County showed it as a place.Cromwell plowing

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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.


    1. That is Point Fosdick in the background, Jeff and it looks like the ferry landing there. Cromwell has a landing too.


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