Year Three

Well it’s the third anniversary of this TacomaHistory.wordpress blog. In the last year, 47 new stories have been added to the 317 total posts exploring the city’s further adventures, tragedies, triumphs and follies. We have continued to profile good people and bad and followed the events and misadventures of characters that both praise and dis this place we call home. This year we also dove into the mystery of people and places recorded in images without identities or context, a sort of lost persons investigation. The Clear As Glass series of photographs and portraits from a glass plate collection now held at the Washington State Historical Society drew a lot of interest and will be continued. 114,791 views have been recorded in 2018 bringing the site’s total since launch to 249,696. There have been hundreds of comments, corrections and scolds sent our way via the WordPress blog network, Facebook and Twitter.

As we have each year, we want to take a moment and recognize the vital role the Tacoma Public Library, Washington State Historical Society, University of Washington Digital Collections, HistoryLink and many other public archives play in telling our shared stories and understanding our collective past. I’m not sure wisdom or the better aspects of human nature are ever easy to recognize or find but if we want to go searching I think our shared history is a good place to start. It’s why we have memories and libraries and the stories we tell each other.

Some things to watch for in the coming year are more film, audio and media content in the stories. The search for backstories connected to individual pieces of the past will continue to be a lure as were the glass plate images in the Clear Series. And we have a backlog of biographies and architectural sketches to catch up on. Thanks for following and if you have a comment, lead or object of interest to share it will certainly be appreciated.

The most popular new stories last year were

Top of the Ocean, Part 1

Clear as Glass

Thea’s Boathouse

Wooden City

The Great White Fleet

Top of the Ocean, Part 2

Better Babies

Clear as Glass, Part 2

Clear as Glass, Part 3

A Movie in Two Frames, 1891

Written by

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 comment

  1. Love this blog. As a history buff, with a big soft spot for local history, this blog is eductional, informative, and pure fun. Thank you for it and keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

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