Wide Angle 2.0

Marvin Boland’s all seeing panoramic camera was busy in Tacoma during the first half of the 20th Century, scanning the city in full power and expansion and recording its people at work and play. His complicated optical contraption got lugged up to the most confounding positions to create sweeping horizontal images that force a sense of movement and grand scale. Its like Cinerama in black and white without moving.

Here’s another gallery of panoramics, sometimes called cylindrographs or head turners. Marvin Boland’s spectacular legacy of images is shared between the Tacoma Public Library and the Washington State Historical Society. These are from WSHS and can be viewed in amazing high resolution at their on line collections site. search under “Boland”



Stadium 1922Stadium 1919

Stadium Bowl pageants

From City Hall 1923Aug 20 1922May 1922sept 1922

Downtown Views

1932 tinted Fox DairyJuly 19, 1932

Hand Tinted Pastorals

The Men Who Built Victory Hall in a Day Totem Pole Square Tacoma Wash, March 24th 1918
Men Who Built Victory Hall in a Day.March 24th, 1918
WA letter carriers 2.22.1913
WA State Letter Carriers, Tacoma February 1913
Tacoma Biscut and Candy 1921
Tacoma Biscuit & Candy Co 1921
Weeler Osgood workforce 1931
Weeler Osgood Workforce 1931


Dash Point 1921
apr 3 1926
Tide Flats 1926




Written by TacomaHistory

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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