Beerladies, 1953

Beer sellers wives. It was Wednesday December 16, 1953, Dwight Eisenhower, a former Tacoman and commander at Fort Lewis was president, I-5 was being built and shockingly the half century old Columbia Breweries had changed their name to Heidelberg. The new brand brought marketers and sales people from all over the west, along with their wives, to a Christmas time gathering at the Winthop Hotel complete with formal banquets, movie excursions, shopping trips to the busy (pre-mall) downtown department stores and sightseeing junkets. Mid Century prosperity shows in the fashionable design of coats and hats and the extravagance of mink and fur. The shiny streamline Greyhound charter bus was a thing of luxury and exclusivity for these middle class women who still reflect a bit of the tight knit regimentation of post world war two America. But these are not church ladies and to them beer is a very good thing and Tacoma is the place for a good time.

beerseller's wives 1953

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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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