And here for your Monday morning bewilderment I offer the dazzling skills of Oluf Melby and his equally gifted, leotarded partner in a feat of daring balanced on a spring pole well above a foot off the ground. These acrobatic thrill seekers are members of the Tacoma Normanna Turn Club where apparently mustaches are kept in perfect parallel with balancing poles as members perform in front of a wall mural. Sashes and booties were obvious signs of manliness in 1895. Is this one of those Robin Hood vs Little John things or are these guys going for ironic silliness? Either way, the Barnum & Bailey Circus performed the last greatest show on earth last night and now its part of the same past that keeps these daredevils floating there in time.


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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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