Diver Deep

So this fellow works for the Northern Pacific Railroad and in 1924 he was about to inspect trestle pilings along Commencement Bay. The heavy bell style helmet and weighted iron boots work against his own buoyancy and that of the air filled suit anchoring him to the dark silty bottom. Just a little creepy to think that if he tears a serious air leak in the suit not only will his air supply be cut off but most of his lift will be gone and pulling him up quickly will be nearly impossible for the three guys helping above. In the few moments following this photograph, the man on the right fixed that small glass face plate in his hands onto the helmet and the diver went down to work.

Diver deep

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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.

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