Tag Archives: Tacoma Public Library

The Boulders Near the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch

stones on parking stripThe boulders were dropped on the parking strip on Earnest S. Brazill Street between Tacoma Avenue South and Altheimer Street in June 2015. The strip is between Tacoma Public Library Main Branch and a public parking lot and indeed it was often full of people prior to the great stone drop.  Prior to the drop, the area had been identified as one of seven “hot spots” for homeless encampments in Tacoma. When I went passed this evening there was a small group of folks on the still green strip uphill to the west of the boulders. The move was seen as controversial and it is indeed a difficult issue. It is the second boulder drop in Tacoma this year with the other drop being under I-705 near the Dock Street offramp.

Read more here.image image

Imperial Garden and Gift Center, Closed 1997

9034433036_6976a7f363_bI remembered that I use to go past this property at 2328 Tacoma Ave. South and seeing a man working on Bonsai trees here. So I wrote to the Northwest Room of Tacoma Public Library and they told me that the property was built as a residence about 1952 by Kenneth & Amy Hikogawa and in 1974 Amy Hikogawa opened the Imperial Garden & Gift Center on the site. Amy Hikogawa died in April 1995 but her son, Ben Kigowa, apparently kept the Imperial Garden and Gift Center open through 1997. Ben passed away in January 2013.

Thanks so much to TPL’s Northwest Room. They are such a valuable asset for our city!

Ben Hikogawa obituary can be found here.

Murray Morgan Room in the Northwest Room at Tacoma Public Library

8897981558_9d11e1498a_hI was lucky enough to have a brief tour of the Murray Morgan Room, which is situated in the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library. The Northwest Room is in Tacoma’s originally Carnegie Library.  I was lucky enough to meet Murray Morgan years ago when he spoke at this very same library. His obituary can be found here. The room is welcoming and houses Mr. Morgan’s personal book collection about the Northwest.


Next to Nature Pet Food

Next to Nature at 1624 Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, is a splendid pet supply store with friendly helpful staff. Today we stopped by with our two pups and purchased some holiday treats. Our pups were thrilled that the store had cats, though the store cats sensibly wanted nothing to do with them. I hadn’t realized that there are two other Next to Nature locations, one in Edmonds and the other in Seattle.

Per Tacoma Public Library, the building was originally the Coast House Materials Property which was founded in 1900 by Frank McHugh. In part of the 1980s and the 1990s, it was a hardware store.  It closed in 1990. In 2001 Coast House Furnishings
opened and in July Next to Nature Pet Food opened.


Giardini Gifts in the Proctor District

In December I try to make a point to go to local businesses and “Buy Local”. Today it was Giardini Gifts at 3815 N 26th St. in Tacoma’s Proctor District. The place was packed with unusual and good quality holiday gift ideas and very busy with shoppers. A youth band (the Salvation Army Band?) played in front of it. Dear daughter and I made a small donation. I did find an old photo from the Tacoma Public Library that showed the space as the Red & White Store in 1933. http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/buildings/bldg1image.asp?j=1&o=1&n=4027&i=9341#text

Update: Giardini Gifts closed after the holidays and Compass Rose opened in the summer of 2013.

Moore Branch Tacoma Public Library

Today I ran into the Grace R. Moore Branch of Tacoma Public Library at 215 South 56th Street to pick up a book (Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses). The library’s webpage says “Coming to the pioneering community of Tacoma in 1884, Grace Moore missed the easy access to books she enjoyed in her native San Francisco. In 1886, Mrs. Moore led a group of 18 women to organize a circulating library in her South Tacoma home. The club’s charter members donated their personal collections of books and patrons paid 25 cents for the privilege of borrowing from the Puget Sound area’s first circulating library. Bachelors, wishing to use the home as a quiet place to read, paid 50 cents.” http://www.tpl.lib.wa.us/Page.aspx?nid=55

The top photo was taken in October 2008 and the lower photos today.

Inspiration at Tacoma Public Library

 Today dear daughter and I went to the Tacoma Public Library Main Branch to hear William Kamkwamba who co-wrote the incredible book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope). Both of us had enjoyed the book, finding it uplifting. William, a young man of 23, is inspirational. More about the Tacoma Reads program here.


It was the first time that I had been in a Tacoma Public Library on a Sunday and it felt good to see all the people there. The history of the library can be found here.


Currently in the gallery of the library there is an exhibit of art tiles, old and new, that is well worth seeing. That link can be found here http://www.tpl.lib.wa.us/Page.aspx?nid=64

Tacoma Firestation #11


Today I took a moment to photograph Tacoma Fire Station No. 11 at 3802 McKinley Avenue. It is a relatively small, two story fire station and was placed into service on April 17, 1909. Looking at a photo of the station from 1910 (http://search.tacomapubliclibrary.org/buildings/bldg1image.asp?j=3&o=3&n=20900&i=6243#text), it looks much the same, though of course nowadays the fire trucks aren’t pulled by horses!

The particularly nice weathervane was dedicated on October 28, 1978.  The station was place on the National Historic Register on May 2, 1986.

There are 17 fire stations in Tacoma.

The City of Tacoma placed 11 individual fire related properties (9 stations, 1 ship and an alarm system) on the national historical register in 1983. The nomination form is located here:


Swan Creek Library will be closing

As of January 31, 2011, Tacoma Public Library System will have eight locations instead of its current ten. Both Swan Creek Branch and M.L. King, Jr. Branch will be closed. The main branch will also have its hours reduced from 66 to 54.


Swam Creek is the smallest of the libraries and shares its space with Tacoma Community House, which runs a literacy center for the local population. Per the library’s website, Tacoma Community Center has significant experience working closely with persons with little or no English language and comprehension skills, or without significant education experiences. Classes include English as a Second Language and computer skills. The library has an expanded foreign language materials selection and bilingual assistance is available in Russian and Cambodian, as well as Spanish and Vietnamese upon request. The door count (patrons entering the building) was over 4,000 in November, the last full month available. Many of the patrons walk to the branch and will soon need to take one or more buses to reach the next closest branch. It is true that Swan Creek had the lowest circulation statistics, which makes sense since they also had the smallest collection size.


Library materials and equipment from this branch will be redistributed to other branches, but the fate of the building and the Tacoma Community Center lease remains unknown. Although the building was built in 1989, there is deferred maintenance.

The closing of these two branches made me think of this Asimov quote. “When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.”

More info about the Martin Luther King Library closure can be found here


Tom Schuster Memorial Park

Today’s new place is the Tom Schuster Memorial Park, located on the southeast corner of McKinley Avenue East and East Division Lane. The original marker says Ray C. Roberts Post No. 969 V.F.W. and over that is a newer sign that says Tom Schuster Memorial Park. This is a relatively small park with some benches, a marker dedicating the park to veterans and a flag pole. It is nicely landscaped and well kept.

Information on the history of V.F.W. 969 can be found here http://webspace.webring.com/people/dv/vfw969/HistoryPost969.html

and their facebook site is here

Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room was kind enough to provide the following information. “The park was renamed in honor of Thomas M. Schuster, after his death on Nov. 5, 2000. According to his obituary, Tom Schuster was a lifetime member of the Ray C. Roberts Post #969 VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and had been very active with fundraising and numerous leadership duties within the VFW. His obituary states that he was “instrumental in acquiring the mini park near the post home, which is being renamed in his honor for the many accomplishments achieved with distinction as a #969 Comrade.”