Dave_L's Tacoma Occasional

Feb. 12, 2009 at 5:39pm

That Tacoma Home O' Mine

More Tacoma Sheet Music


Almost two years ago Cole Cosgrove wrote an article for the Grit City blog about the "You'll Like Tacoma" song. 


Alan Gorsuch of Sanford and Son told me he has seen many pieces of Tacoma-themed sheet music over the years.  Here's one:  A piece copyrighted in 1923 called, "That Tacoma Home O'Mine."


You know the reason why I'm lonesome, You know the reason why I'm blue.

I got a letter from the old folks, And they are feeling lonesome, too.

I've got a longing for my hometown, The little place I'm wild about.

I'll feel very extraordinary when the train pulls out.



All aboard, I thank the Lord I'm going home to that Tacoma home o' mine.

I dropped the folks a line, To say that train o' mine, will

Rattle past Seattle, And I bet that I will get a lot of everything that

I've been longing for, I'll eat oodles of my ma's noodles, She

Hides 'em behind the pantry door. Engineer, can't you hear, "feed her coal," let her roll;

Let us cover lots of ground.  Got my fare, parlor chair, everything like a king;

'Cause you now I'm homeward bound.  I'm longing for my home, what's

More I love the apple trees, the ones I used to climb; And I'll take

Home a kiss to my Tacoma Miss in that Tacoma Home o' mine.


I'm glad the trip will soon be over, I know I'll never sleep a wink.

And still I know I won't be dreary, I'm gonna stay awake and think.

About the homestead in the morning, That little place where I can rest.

I'll feel very very, very merry, when my train starts West.


(Repeat Chrous)

comments [5]

Jan. 26, 2009 at 5:03pm

1988 MISL All-Star Game, Tacoma Dome

With the Tacoma Stars

I decided to postpone a few other topics I had planned to post.  So today I just have a memento from some happier times at the Tacoma Dome.  Were any of you there? 


The TNT supplement for the 1988 MISL All-Star Game:




The players and coaches:



Tacoma's 1988 All-Stars:








Referee Signals:




Tiffany, "the latest teen singing sensation" to entertain soccer fans:


Links with additional info:








comments [3]

Jan. 11, 2009 at 9:56pm


Dave L. Dusts-Off an Old Issue of the Seattle Weekly

1991.  The Gulf War begins.  The Warsaw pact is dissolved and the Soviet Union collapses.  Pan Am and Eastern Airlines disappear.  Super Nintendo is released. Names in the news include Kevorkian, Yeltsin Paul Reubens, Bill Clinton (Wikipedia)

April 17, 1991:  The Seattle Weekly features a cover-feature on the Tacoma Renaissance written by Fred Moody.  The article pretty much speaks for itself, then and now. 


"Tacoma?  A civic and cultiral mecca?  We didn't believe it either."


The fairly-balanced ten-page article is fascinating in the fact that is the Seattle Weekly reporting it with so much ink, and the 1991 perspective is enlightening when read from today's perspective and 18 years of progress (or lack thereof).

On page 40 begins Moody's fascinating take on the then-current state of Tacoma.


Of course, it begins with several Tacoma jokes.   It then quotes then Mayor Karen Vialle describing her view of Tacoma: "a view of all that needs to be done."  And Fred Haley (yes, THAT Haley) "It's got nowhere to go but up."  With that out of the way, Moody then leads off with "There are signs now that 'up' is on the immediate horizon."   He sets the stage with facts including how in the prior decade the city grew by 11.5 percent.  The Port is handling seven times the amount of cargo.  Haley is quoted again as saying "There has never been a pulse like this before."

"Artist Antje Kaiser grabbed up a loft-space in a city-sponsored warehouse conversion"


The article then describes Old-Town, and highlights McCarver Books and owners Ted and Marie Hong, located next to the Spar:

"Bookstore Owners Ted and Anne Marie Hong said Tacoma needed a mini Elliott Bay Books."


Comparing Ted to George Francis Train, it quotes Ted as saying "When you start digging behind Tacoma's image, you find this huge wealth of interests. A lot of Seattle creative people, professional people, are getting priced out of that market and coming down here.  Asarco should be out in a years' time.  It should be a greenbelt all the way from downtown to Point Defiance."

Moody spends a lot of time quoting City Manager Ray Corpuz as he talks about downtown projects, including the Union Station Federal Courthouse, Governor Booth Gardener's budgeting funds for the History Museum, the projected $80 million UW branch campus, the theater district, a new $20 million Pierce Transit hub, a new $138 million highway around the Blair Waterway, $23 million expansion of the Bicentennial Center, the purchasing of $11 million of land on the Thea Foss Waterway.  Corpuz imagines transforming the entire waterfront from downtown to Point Defiance Park, "our own Grand central Park" and a "people place" with carefully-planned mixed-use private and public development. To make the waterfront an asset.

Most fascinating, especially from a "what-if" standpoint, is illustrated on the cover of the issue and the leading pages of the article.  It is a huge wooden pedestrian bridge, made to resemble a railroad trestle.  Designed to extend from the end of 12th Street to the Thea Foss, the bridge was to be funded half with city public-arts money, and half with city public-works money.  The bridge was designed by Russian architects Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin who came to Tacoma for the Goodwill Arts Festival.  The plans were brought closer to reality by a Seattle design firm, the Buffalo Group.  "Trestle: Ancient, the bridge, when completed, will be an evocative symbol of Tacoma History, of the Tacoma psyche, and of the ingenious, often visionary civic zest that has seized present-day Tacoma" wrote Moody.  Can you imagine if this bridge was built?  Timber columns rising 70 feet, a 30-feet wide deck paved with stone extending 320 feet.  "Fez-topped creatures" guarding the approach.  (One can at least see sketches of the bridge at the Tacoma Art Museum, and Michael Sullivan, instrumental in championing this bridge idea has a huge scale model of the bridge.)

(For you, R.R. and members of C.L.A.W.:)

"Fez-topped creatures guard a jumble of wooden timbers lined with potted firs."


"The scale and energy of the current Tacoma Renaissance is an almost incomprehensible combination of pent-up frustration, civic vision, careful planning, political clout, an unprecedented spirit of cooperation among public and private-sector elements, and public and private largess." explains Moody.   Ray Corpuz again: "I think we're finally realizing we can be a Tacoma and be successful."  Corpuz points to the settlement of a long-standing claim of tideflat lands with The Puyallup Tribe as a nexus of the current leadership and community that hadn't existed before.  

Manager of the city planning department's Cultural Resources Division, Michael Sullivan gets the spotlight and is described as an "unlikely galvanizing force," and in many people's opinions, the man behind the renaissance, the "soft-spoken" man with an "owlish gaze" (Michael, you owe me one for not including your 1991 photo!) was clearly a good orator then, as he is now.  The article quotes Sullivan as explaining, "I think it's just a different time and a different attitude..."  Sullivan credits Norm, Dicks and House Majority Leader Brian Ebersole and the Executive Council of Tacoma, and arts commission chair, Bob Slaton.  Moody quotes him further, "I don't know how to explain it, exactly.  I think there's a sense of comfortableness here now, with being sort of a second city....Our asset is that we are a traditional, mature city, with traditional buildings."  What an important point, then and now.  Sullivan respects the role of architecture in a city, and the article explains how he recognizes that Tacoma is an "absolutely a child of the railroad."  Quoted further, he says, "So Union Station perhaps means more to our city than just a nice building.  There's an essence to our spirit, sort of a symbolic hearts there.  As long as that thing sat there  languishing, it was always a barometer, or a bellwether of rotten times.  And now that it's coming back to life, you can see things happening around it."  Perhaps our Union Station is the Elks Lodge or the Winthrop. 

David Allen of Cornerstone Development, who helped build several downtown Tacoma buildings and tried to acquire more, says in the article, "We had hoped that that project would create a critical mass.  Well, it didn't happen."  Moody writes, "Like Morgan, Allen fears that the current city facelift may yet be another civic delusion....It is as if he is talking not about ascension in status, but a decline -- from a city that once saw itself as competitive with Seattle to one that is reduced to competing with Spanaway."  (Ouch!)  Moody also quotes a more optimistic Allen: "We're working on a plan for Northwest Waters, an aquarium on the Thea Foss.  It'll be a $30 million to $45 million project.  I think in one or two years we'll see a train from the waterfront to Mount Rainer.  There's quite a lot of interested by operators and the city already owns the line."

The article brings us back to ground with a certain amount of old-Tacoma skepticism.  Murray Morgan himself is quoted as saying about the rebirth of Tacoma, "I guess I'd be uncertain about it.  I've been through three or four Tacoma renaissances in my lifetime."   Moody closes his article by saying, "For now, the Tacoma renaissance is an artistic declaration of its leaders' faith in the city's future, a bet that Tacoma has finally made the right choice at the right time."

How certain are you about this Tacoma renaissance?   Is this time the right time?

comments [3]

Jan. 11, 2009 at 9:39pm

Sheepishly, Dave L's Occasional Blog:

(Digging into my pack-rat stash of Tacoma-stuff.)

O.K., here goes...

Inspired and encouraged by many, including but certainly not limited to Morgan, Kevin and Erik, I have decided to make the time to start a FeedTacoma blog to share things I have that may be of interest.  There will be few opinions and few references to what I did today.  Little politics and no personal attacks.  Not even a boat-load of factual information like History Link.  No in-depth reporting like the Tacoma Weekly.  No quality that approaches the Tacoma Then-and-Now blog.  Yet I think I have some interesting things that I can dig out and share.

Having lived in Tacoma and Lakewood since the 70's (when Lakewood was a Tacoma address) I have become more and more fascinated by this region, that, while not home (military brats often do not have a sense of "home"), has felt like my town more and more each year.  Back in the day it seemed that everyone I knew (outside the military families) were born and raised in Tacoma.  I used to think that was so weird.  Today, the vast majority of all the fine people I have met in the last few years are transplants from elsewhere.  Though it had been refreshing to learn that many FeedTacoma bloggers and commenters are also old-time Tacoma, there is a new influx of people who love Tacoma more than I have ever witnessed before, yet for better-or-worse, lack the benefit of long-term perspective.  This realization peaked in literal black-and-white when Cysewski's decades-old photos of old Tacoma surfaced.  And very often when a "new" development happens in Tacoma, I remember a time when something similar happened before, with either success or failure.  We older-Tacoma people wish we could take the newcomers in the Wayback machine to take a stroll down that Pac-Ave of yesteryear, see Ivan at the B&I, ride the Escalade to the Pie Patch... Still, I can't help but to recall what older Tacoma people tell me about a Tacoma before my time, about all the businesses and stores downtown, or the jazz-playing bottle-clubs, etc....  Someday all my new Tacoma friends will be telling (or texting or emailing or telepathically exchanging) to another generation about saving the Murray Morgan bridge, the resurgence of 6th Ave, the rebuilding of Tollefson Plaza, chalk competition at Larry Frost Park.....

So in this spirit of looking ahead while looking back, I will dig into my old Tacoma-related ephemera and mementos and dust off thinks that I think would be worth sharing.  I really don't know how far this will go, but I will post something new every week or month... I think I have enough things (some tiny), for several months of show-and-tell.  I hope it sparks enough interest that people would share their thoughts or memories or their own Tacoma mementos, from the new arrivals to old-timers who remember this stuff and can add so much to the long-term perspective.  I invite all to do so.  I think such a sharing of perspectives will be fascinating and worthwhile.  With little time and even littler skill, this is my first attempt at blogging.  If it weren't for this FeedTacoma forum, I wouldn't even try it.  I will see how it goes and see if I can figure out how to make it work.  My attempts will surely have many errors.  I'm so glad there's a preview-function now, but I'm still having some formatting issues. So kindly bear with me.  My first installment, coming to a monitor near you, will be something that is old, but still resonates with as much strength today.  I hope you enjoy it.

comments [10]


Dave L. dusts-off his stash of Tacoma-related stuff to share.

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