Morgan's Brain

Jan. 9, 2009 at 12:24pm

Fate of Historic Hilltop Building Sealed

If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of historic buildings - no matter how small. Last month, I posted photos of a little building slated for demolition near the County/City Building. Now, on the same street no less - South 11th - the fate of another old building became apparent recently. The long vacant structure has been on the market for years by Joseph DeCosmo.

DeCosmo has an interesting real estate strategy: buy very low (and distressed) and sell very high. In the meantime do nothing. Some people hold him in low regard, but having met him I sense that he does actually care for the neighborhood.

The 1926 building at 1007 S. 11th St. was currently listed for sale at $585,000, but Martin Luther King Housing Development Association picked it up for $402,800, according to public records.

The building has some history behind it too. Known for a long time as the Tally Ho Tavern (since 1935) there was also an incident reported in the TNT. On November 18th 1953, the owners of the Chicken Basket Restaurant were fined for refusing to serve a customer, a Mrs. Dolores Silas. I haven't seen the old article (come on TNT! open up the archives!), but one can assume that this was racially motivated.

While a demolition date set has not been set, the building will eventually come down to make way for the massive project Martin Luther King Housing Development Association has been working on.

comments [15]  |  posted under Tacoma


by Jake on 1/9/2009 @ 3:19pm

4 Tacoma Taverns Closed In Alleged Fencing Scheme
By Wayne Wurzer

TACOMA - Following early-morning raids, city and state authorities yesterday ordered the closure of four taverns and arrested four people who they allege operated a group trafficking in stolen cigarettes, liquor and food stamps.

The four taverns operated as fences, buying the stolen cigarettes and liquor from thieves at low prices and reselling them at retail prices at the taverns, said Charles Meinema, Tacoma police assistant chief.

The taverns that were closed: the Tally Ho Tavern, 1011 S. 11th St.; the Iron Horse Restaurant, 754 Pacific Ave.; the Hideaway Tavern, 754 S. 38th St.; and the 43rd Street Tavern, 4302 Pacific Ave.

Three men and one woman were arrested at their homes and booked into the Pierce County Jail. They were expected to be arraigned today

by morgan on 1/9/2009 @ 4:06pm
Interesting find, Jake! What was the date on that article? The link didn't work for me but knowing that you can search their archives will keep me very occupied in the near future.

by Jake on 1/9/2009 @ 6:30pm
Thursday, June 30, 1994

That link might work. I actually remember eating breakfast at Iron Horse (now BrickCity, formerly Destiny's) and have been inside Tally Ho once when I was kid. An old family friend did some work in there and I remember being in there.. when they were closed of course. I hear there are some rental apartments or "rooms" under the place.

by Jake on 1/9/2009 @ 7:11pm
It appears Dolores Silas was a city councilwoman during the 1990's.

"Dolores Silas has not always been a friend of the police," he said. "But she listens to what we have to say and conducts herself professionally."

"Community and civil-rights activist Dolores Silas has been chosen to replace Tom Stenger on the Tacoma City Council. Silas"

"According to the latest police report, Hilltop is the safest place in the city," said Dolores Silas, Tacoma city councilwoman

dang they said that in 1999 and are still saying it today in 2009..

by Tracy on 1/9/2009 @ 9:31pm
I went to the Tally-Ho with some friends in the early nineties. It was fun, but a little scary.

by NineInchNachos on 1/9/2009 @ 9:35pm
wouldn't mind getting my hands on some of those haunted bricks.

by fredo on 1/9/2009 @ 10:57pm
Shame to tear this down. The style appears to be sort of Moorish and there aren't many examples of that left.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 1/10/2009 @ 12:14am
It is ironic that the MLK housing association would be tearing down this building with Mrs. Silas' history there at the Chicken Basket.

by morgan on 1/10/2009 @ 12:51am
fredo: No, the Moores haven't been in town since the 80s :P

I agree with your first sentence though.

Crenshaw: True - that hadn't occurred to me. I didn't make it down to the Civil Rights exhibit at the Washington State History Museum, but I guess she's interviewed about her experience on a video that's available down there.

by Girl Who <3 JUNK on 1/10/2009 @ 9:22am
Demolition of old buildings is so sad.

One of the things I loved about England is they will do anything to save a building.

I remember walking into this HUGE castle looking building and they put a mall in there.

You would of never known it was a mall from the outside.

My cousin is an architect there and he said they will do what ever to save the old historic buidlings. Even if it's more money to save it.

Here is one example of an old building/church they turned into a furniture store.

Oh! How do you put a picture in anothers blog?

by fredo on 1/10/2009 @ 9:42am
Diedre@ Yes the Brits do seem to have an inclination to refurbish the old structures. They see the old buildings as an important link to the past, which they are!

I would like to see more local interest in this regard. Look at the impressive reuse by the Methodist Church which took over the old art deco Bekins storage building on Tacoma Ave.

Of course we can't save every old building, and some are just inconsequential, poorly designed rubbish. But when the building has nice design and history behind it like the subject property it's really shameful. I can envision a stunning remodel of the Tally-Ho which would make it the jewel of the Hilltop.

by morgan on 1/14/2009 @ 12:09pm
A city with no past has no future.

It's not just England. In Italy, they had a choice after the destruction caused by WWII to rebuild in a modern style or rebuild in the style of what was there. They went with what was there and now you can't tell that they were even rebuilt- they blend in with other centuries old buildings. I was blown away by that.

one store: you have to use HTML-speak like this

by Dave_L on 1/14/2009 @ 12:32pm
Morgan, in another extreme example from Europe, in the Old Town section of Warsaw, Poland, what wasn't destroyed by the Luftwaffe in the invasion of Poland was systematically blown up, building by building, by the occupying army after the Warsaw Uprising. Shortly after the war, in an amazing statement of long-term priorities, defiance, patriotism and culture, a total reconstruction began, meticulously rebuilding it out of the rubble in exacting detail it, based on photographs and memory. Completed in the '80's, Warsaw's Old Town was placed on the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites as "an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century." That's a long time. (A little older than Job Carr.)

by Erik on 1/18/2009 @ 1:16am
Looks like the Tribune has quoted "Morgan's Brain" on the issue via Callaghan:

The Martin Luther King Housing Development Association bought the building Nov. 4 for $402,800 as part of a long-anticipated and often-delayed project. The fact that itís threatened was first noted by Tacoma preservation advocate Morgan Alexander in his blog, Morganís Brain

Nice work Morgan.

by fredo on 1/18/2009 @ 11:01am
Yes, Morgan's blog was credited with bringing this news to light and deservedly so. Can this valuable link to our past be saved? Callaghans column doesn't go that far. Kudos to Morgan for exposing this story.