TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Apr. 25, 2012 at 8:22am

TDI's Pacific Avenue Ghost

The Tacoma Daily Index is moving its world headquarters out of the Washington Building in downtown Tacoma and into a building just steps away from Wright Park. Packing up my office has been a great opportunity to uncover some historic "artifacts" related to our 122-year-old newspaper.

Here's another one: an old photograph of the newspaper's first headquarters.

The newspaper was first published on May 1, 1890 as a single-sheet under the name of the Daily Mortgage and Lien Record. The name then changed to the Daily Court and Commercial Index. At some point, the name permanently changed to the Tacoma Daily Index.

When it opened its doors in 1890, it did so inside a five-story stone-and-brick building located at 1110-1116 Pacific Avenue (formerly known as the California Building -- I would link to the Tacoma Public Library's Northwest Room Building Index search results, but sections of the site have been down since yesterday).

Last week, I decided to visit our old headquarters site -- easy to do; it's only a half-block away. Here's what I found . . .

According to Tacoma Public Library's Northwest Room, the cool old California Building (pictured in a black and white photo ca. 1890) was home to Merrick Brothers clothing and shoe store; St. John's Pharmacy; I.J. Sharick jewelers; and Fidelity Rent & Collection Company. A photographer and "crayon artist" named Arthur French had a live/work space there, too. 

The building was demolished in 1931 and replaced by (surprise!) a parking garage

comments [23]  |  posted under Downtown, History, Newspaper, Tacoma


by Jesse on 4/25/2012 @ 8:28am
Imagine if they recreated all the fronts of the old buildings that were on Pacific Avenue circa 1900. False fronts. GOOD and BELIEVABLE false fronts. What an awesome thing that'd be. So unique.

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 8:31am
it's available!

by L.S.Erhardt on 4/25/2012 @ 12:49pm
@ Jesse: it worked in Leavenworth.

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 12:51pm
hmmm... this guy kinda looks like a Daily Index reporter I know

by Maria on 4/25/2012 @ 1:12pm
That's a really great old photo!! And a cool backstory.

I'm starting to see all these parking lots and garages as scars. Yes, I do remember drug dealing and seedy squatters from the 1980's. Unfortunately the historic, neglected buildings became locations of illegal and "undesirable" activities.

I'm assuming that in many cases, owners just razed the edifices and decided to wait it out with vacant land for future building projects.

(I wonder if I broke the library database with all the Japan Town research I've been doing. Sorry!)

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 1:15pm
i'm loving the new watermarks.

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 1:23pm
the real scar is the out of town building owners who can afford to just sit on empty buildings.

by fredo on 4/25/2012 @ 3:27pm
The reason the buildings are vacant is because the owners live out of town. hmmmmm that doesn't actually make sense does it?

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 3:28pm
mentally checked out-of-town ?

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 3:28pm
RENT IS 2 DAMN HIGH is what i'm getting at here.

by fredo on 4/25/2012 @ 3:44pm
People who want commercial space can make offers appropriate to the market. I'm not so sure that vacant space indicates that lease prices are too high, but rather that there just isn't that much interest.

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 3:46pm
if they are empty it's too {damn} high

by fredo on 4/25/2012 @ 4:31pm
So if there's a copy of your cartoon book left unsold at the end of the day at King's books the reason it's still unsold is that the price is too high, right?

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 4:39pm
kings books is currently all sold out.

but yes, the high price has been a factor

by L.S.Erhardt on 4/25/2012 @ 4:39pm
Commercial real estate ≠ book of political cartoons

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 4:41pm
yes, maybe a commercial real estate is more like a blank sketch book?

by KevinFreitas on 4/25/2012 @ 10:43pm
I can say when we looked for new office space here in Tacoma we opted to stay where we are instead of moving closer into the downtown core because building owners were asking way too much based on the volume of spaces available in town. Supply and demand. Supply is high so price has to come down. Period.

by NineInchNachos on 4/25/2012 @ 10:45pm
eh? Eh!!!??? #winning

by fredo on 4/26/2012 @ 9:09am
If a company owns lots of office buidings and has hundreds of thousands of square feet for rent they probably don't really care about how their business model impacts any one small business.

Try this example. At the end of the day I doubt if a grocer goes home and worries about some product that didn't have many sales that day. As long as he sold 50,000 items that day it doesn't matter to him if one particular item didn't sell.

Same in commercial leasing. These people are looking at the big picture and the big picture inolves an allowance for vacant space. What if they rent the space for cheap and there's a big boom in real estate beginning next month? They wouldn't be able to take advantage. Period.

by NineInchNachos on 4/26/2012 @ 2:29pm

by KevinFreitas on 4/27/2012 @ 7:05am
Some good what if's @Fredo but any building owner who has lots of properties can indeed just sit idly by while the community he/she rents in languishes in inactivity. Sure it's not their problem, really, but I want local building owners who care about what goes into them and know what rates make sense for an area. Much like your grocery store example, a store owner on Capitol Hill in Seattle might charge more for an orange than a store owner in downtown Tacoma. Cost of living and demographics require that sort of thinking if they're to sell anything at all.

Hey, it's fine -- if the downtown core doesn't need/want more companies like SiteCrafting to move in then, by all means, keep lease rates the same!

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 5/15/2012 @ 9:40am
update . . .

by NineInchNachos on 5/15/2012 @ 9:55am
nice, take that fife!


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