TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Feb. 24, 2009 at 9:05am

Scenes from the Wedge

For the past five months, I've been reporting on an effort by a group of Tacoma's "Wedge" residents to designate their neighborhood an historic district. You can read earlier coverage here:

  • Will Tacoma's Wedge neighborhood go historic? (09/05/08) -- Link
  • A Slice of History: Two meetings will explore Wedge historic district (09/23/08) -- Link
  • MultiCare, Wedge residents discuss hospital expansion, historic district effort (10/02/08) -- Link
  • MultiCare weighs in on Wedge historic district nomination (02/09/09) -- Link
  • Big decision ahead for proposed Wedge historic district (02/11/09) -- Link
  • New timeline for Wedge historic district review (02/19/09) -- Link

The Wedge neighborhood stretches from Sixth Avenue to Division Avenue, and L Street to Sprague Avenue, and is within walking distance to Wright Park, the North Slope Historic District, and many of the city's oldest churches. It also sits in the shadow of MultiCare Health System's campus.

According to the historic district nomination:

  • The Wedge includes 67 residential homes built between 1889 and 1928;
  • The most unique residential home is the Titlow Mansion, which was built in 1899 and home to Aaron Titlow, who built Washington State's first tidewater hotel;
  • Homes boast a range of architectural styles, such as Victorian, Craftsman, Foursquare, Dutch Colonial, and Cape Cod;
  • In addition to Titlow, the neighborhood was also home to candy company entrepreneurs Frank and Ethel Mars, and Titanic survivor Anne Kincaid.

Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has tackled a section of the nomination at nearly every one of its meetings since September. A public opinion survey to gauge support / opposition of property owners is expected in May. The LPC is scheduled to make a final recommendation on the nomination July 22.

I've been following this story because I'm curious to see how it plays out. It's hard to believe a city as old as Tacoma has only one residential historic district (North Slope). An effort in Old Town failed years ago. Whitman and the West Slope have been researched. The Wedge has made it this far.

Here are some photographs I shot last year while on a resident-led walking tour of the Wedge neighborhood:

Titlow Mansion

Two vacant MultiCare-owned homes (built in the early-1920s)

Another vacant MultiCare home (built in 1908)

A former carriage house in the Wedge

(Photographs by Todd Matthews)

comments [4]  |  posted under Tacoma, Wedge Historic District


by Erik on 2/24/2009 @ 9:09am
Great post Todd.

An effort in Old Town failed years ago.

Yes, but they are trying again now.

by Dave_L on 2/24/2009 @ 9:31am
Great post. Despite all the good this non-profit monster with deep pockets does (and I admit to have received good care from their network), demolition by neglect is a crime against the neighbors and the historic fabric of Tacoma. As fellow residents of this city, we need to keep aware of what's happening to our neighborhood. Get involved. Come to meetings. Join groups like Historic Tacoma (.net) Don't it always seem to go....

by morgan on 2/24/2009 @ 5:11pm
Keep up the great coverage, Todd!

by chrism39 on 2/24/2009 @ 7:12pm
Why are all the multicare homes open? That blue four square is beautiful.


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