This makes my town famous. :-) Hey, nice shots of the old Elks building! One evening I got off work, was driving home, and decided to go downtown and explore for a little bit; so I parked right next to that building, and then I went across the street and entered the old Town Hall building.
As it turns out, the open door that I went through was propped open because the police were inside investigating some sort of after-hours vandalism. The officers inside apparently didn't find the vandal, but found me wandering around in there snapping pictures instead. They made me empty my pockets and questioned me briefly before allowing me to leave... so that's my funny experience surrounding that little part of town.
As always, seems to me like you did a great job reproducing the feel of the city - I've never really been able to grasp Tacoma, but this helps a lot. I did not expect that striking of topography downtown or the fairly robust commerical building stock..yeah, I can see Duluth + Grand Rapids there, with its own northwestern alchemy.
Nice pics but saying Tacoma's population is under 200,000 is like saying Seattle's population is only 600,000 because that isn't the metro population although the problem with Tacoma is that it is always included in Seattle's metro population and I don't think many people say that Tacoma is a city of 4 million people either. What I would like to know is Tacoma's metro population that is separate from Seattle's.
"Guys ain't dumb"-Money for Nothing by Dire Straits.
It's worth pointing out that Tacoma is also on an upswing. The new UW branch campus is probably 3,000 students right now, mostly in historic renovated buildings. There's a new public waterfront near the UW. Museums have moved in or expanded. The photos show some of the new housing that's popped up on the Downtown peripheries. The underused districts west and southwest of Downtown have sprouted a good number of townhouse developments. Tacoma has come a LONG way in my lifetime.
Too bad you didn't get outside of downtown. There are some very neat neighborhoods with some vibrancy. 6th Ave, Proctor, Stadium, Old Town, etc. Plus, Ruston Way (our waterfront just north of downtown) is pretty impressive. And I do like the Duluth comparison. I can't say much about Grand Rapids though.
Very soon, I will be out snapping my own photos. I love Tacoma. It's gritty and down-to-earth nature is a refreshing reality from that of Seattle's. Downtown really is bustling compared to just ten years ago. Crime is down. Possibly tomorrow I'll get out.
Its funny how on a map its a backwards version of Seattle. Both have a large port built on what used to be a delta from a river, and the downtown is up on a hill across from that. Only Seattle faces west across the water and Tacoma is on the eastern side. They really are twin cities, until Seattle grew rapidly and Tacoma stayed the same.
Downtown Tacoma is entirely a big steep hill, while Seattle had easier slopes and large areas of relative flat. Then Seattle removed hills and filled tideflats a century ago. All of that allowed Downtown Seattle to expand far more easily. Tacoma filled tideflats but mostly for seaport and industrial uses.
Looking at a map, it is pretty remarkable about how similar Commencement Bay and Elliott Bay are.