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Downtown Tacoma

Downtown Tacoma is the financial and commercial center of the city. The variety and quality of the collection of buildings attest to the prominence of the city overlooking Commencement Bay

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Perkins Building

The Perkins Building is significant as an archetypical example of early regional Commercial Style/Chicago School reinforced concrete construction, and by direct association with a central figure in the Washington State newspaper industry and national level polical policy, Sidney Albert Perkins.

Tacoma Building

The Tacoma Building, finished in 1910 and its addition from 1957, was built as the corporate headquarters for the Weyerhaeuser Company, one of North America’s largest wood products enterprises and one of the largest corporate land owners in the United States. The building parallels the company’s growth and expansion into the Pacific Northwest and reflects the power and social influence of one of the state’s largest employers and most dominant corporate entities.

US Post Office

The Tacoma Federal Building is an essentially unaltered example of a large combined post office, federal office building, customs house and court house. A distinctive building, occupying the historic core of downtown Tacoma, the building exemplifies the Beaux-Arts tradition that ruled the Office of Supervising Architect during the early Twentieth Century. In the Second Renaissance Revival mode, the monumental building stands as a symbol of the federal government. As the city’s first federal building, it is a legacy of those local citizens and their elected representatives in Washington D.C. whose efforts gained federal recognition during a significant era in the city’s growth.

National Bank of Tacoma

The National Bank of Tacoma Building, located in the heart of Tacoma’s Central Business District, was completed in 1921 with a significant renovation in 1941. Commerce is the area of significance demonstrating the building’s eligibility under Criterion A for its association with broad patterns of history, which led to the development of downtown Tacoma as a commercial center. The National Bank of Tacoma Building housed the oldest and longest-operating bank in Tacoma and was hailed as a monument to the city’s financial security. For fifty years (1921-1971), the National Bank of Tacoma (founded in 1885 and renamed the National Bank of Washington in 1937) operated a well-regarded financial institution in the building which served as its headquarters. The building is also eligible under Criterion C (area of significance: Architecture) as an excellent example of the work of one of Tacoma’s most prominent and prolific architecture firms, Sutton and Whitney. The building’s Italian Renaissance style serves as a good local example of that style.

Washington Building

Upon completion, the Washington Building was hailed as the tallest building in Tacoma and the “second tallest building in the Pacific Northwest,” only behind Seattle’s Smith Tower. After its completion in 1925, the Washington Building stood as a testament to the financial security and growing prosperity of the city. In 1929, with the publication of the novel the Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, the building also became an important character in a major work of American fiction and popular culture. From 1925-1980, the first floor was occupied by a handful of banks. The building is also a good local example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture.

Pythian Temple

The Pythian Temple is significant as one of Tacoma’s finest examples of Second Renaissance Revival architecture. It exemplifies the importance, influence, and contributions of fraternal organizations within the community throughout Tacoma’s development. Designed by prominent local architect Frederick Heath, the building was constructed by the Knights of Pythias Commencement Lodge No. 7 in 1906-07. Since its dedication, the Pythian Temple has been in continuous use as Commencement Lodge’s meeting hall. The building, which includes some of the most significant interiors in the city, is one of the best preserved architectural examples demonstrating the apex reached by fraternal organizations in Tacoma during the city’s early years of growth.