The section of the Prairie Line that cuts diagonally through Tacoma’s south downtown warehouse district is more than just a former rail corridor. The Prairie Line represents the significant moment when the Northern Pacific Railroad completed its transcontinental line, which brought numerous people and goods to the City of Destiny. The Prairie Line continues to provide a means of transportation through the city now as the Prairie Line Trail—a newly created signature public space with history intertwining with public art and green spaces.
The PLT runs through an incredibly vibrant portion of Tacoma’s south downtown, which attracts residents, students, and visitors and includes the Union Depot-Warehouse Historic District—a historic district listed on both the Tacoma Register of Historic Places (TRHP) and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)—and the University of Washington Tacoma campus. The PLT runs west of bustling Pacific Avenue, with its lineup of restaurants, shops, museums, and Sound Transit’s Link light rail, before crossing the busy street at South 17th Street. Nearby museums include the Washington State History Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, the Children’s Museum, and the Museum of Glass. The Foss Waterway, with its industry and marine activity, lies just east of Pacific Avenue. The neighborhood revitalization continues as a few long-standing vacant buildings, particularly the Jet Building and the former Nisqually Power Station, have new owners and host new uses.