Resources

Whether you want to know how to nominate a property to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places, discover more about Tacoma's architectural heritage, or learn how to get involved in advocating for preservation, we've got the information you're looking for.
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WALKING TOURS & SPECIALIZED TOURS+

What does historic preservation look like? Discover Tacoma's history and its architectural heritage through these self-guided walking tours:

Partners in Historic Preservation+

The work of historic preservation takes partnerships! Here are some of Historic Tacoma's local, statewide, and national partners.

Local

City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Program - A dynamic site which includes up-to-date listing of the city’s 1300+ land marked properties and historic districts, standards and financial incentives for rehabilitation of historic properties, details on how to nominate a landmark, and research tools.

Tacoma Historical Society - The Society celebrates the rich and vibrant history of Tacoma and its people. Check out the site for monthly lectures and tours, including the ever-inspiring May Historic Homes Tour.

Pierce County Historic Preservation - The website of the county’s preservation program features the Pierce County Register of Historic Places which includes a number of Tacoma sites.

Statewide / Regional

Washington Trust for Historic Preservation - The state’s premier preservation organization is devoted to education, advocacy, collaboration and stewardship. The Trust addresses public policy issues, advocates for rehabilitation and re-use of historic structures such as courthouses and schools, funds studies and rehab projects across the state, and produces the annual Endangered Historic Properties List.

Preservation Trades and Consultants Directory - Published by the WA Trust for Historic Preservation, this directory is an important resource for bring people and projects together.  It is published annually online but updated monthly; organizations and businesses can add a listing anytime.

Docomomo WEWA - This group is devoted to the DOcumentation and COnservation of the MOdernist MOvement in WEstern WAshington. A brilliant site with great information on modernist architects, building styles, individual structures and neighborhoods… betcha you’ll find a few Tacoma favorites.

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation - The site provides information, documents, maps and photos on the state’s archaeological and historic sites. Their new online GIS mapping tool, WISAARD, provides easy access to historic sites listed on the state and national register.

National

National Trust for Historic Preservation - A leader in the preservation movement, the Trust promotes advocacy and education. Their website offers a wealth of information ranging from technical advice to financing options, while raising awareness of important public policy issues. Their national conferences and workshops are first-rate.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training - A National Park Service initiative, the Center offers technical programs and resources on archaeology, architecture and engineering, historic landscapes, heritage education, and more.

Preservation Action - This non-profit group lobbies to protect federal funding and regulations that support historic preservation. Tacoma funding examples include transportation enhancement funding for Tacoma’s Foss Waterway Esplanade (1.25 million) and the Spanish Steps ($944,000), three historic property inventories since 2003, and federal tax incentives for dozens of Tacoma redevelopment projects.

Partners for Sacred Places - “A national, non-sectarian, non-profit organization devoted to helping congregations and their communities sustain and actively use older and historic sacred places.”

Researching Historic Places+

  • HistoryLink.org  Icon: External link
    A continually evolving online encyclopedia of Washington state history.
  • Nominating a Landmark  Icon: External link
    To successfully nominate a building to the Historic Register, you must document both its physical and cultural history using the City of Tacoma's nomination form.
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Buildings Index  Icon: External link
    Brought to you by Tacoma Public Library, this invaluable resource provides archival news articles and photos documenting sites and structures throughout the county.

Nominating a Property to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places - A quick tip sheet to answer your questions and guide you through the process, produced in collaboration with the City’s Historic Preservation Office.

Tacoma/Pierce County Buildings Database - The best place to start your research. Access is via street address and keyword searching.

History Link - This online encyclopedia of Washington history provides over 4000 articles on both prominent and obscure events, people, and sites. Easy to use, the site includes several Tacoma cybertours and a series of study aids for students and educators.

On a Small Tacoma Bookshelf+

If you only had a small shelf on which to keep a library of books on Tacoma, what would you choose? Local preservationist, historian and former director of the City's Historic Preservation Office, Michael Sullivan has some great suggestions. His tastes range from conventional works of history and memoir into the realm of fiction, pop culture and the simply odd artifacts. An ardent preservationist and a co-founder of Historic Tacoma, his list includes titles on the building of the city and its reach. With a few words of explanation and intellectual defense, his bookshelf choices and recommendations are worth considering for your own bookshelf.

Preservation Resource Guide+

Historic Tacoma’s Preservation Resource Guide, 10 chapters and more than 150 pages, addresses basic preservation questions and answers. It covers everything from the economic benefits of historic preservation, to how the Landmarks Preservation Commission and local historic districts work, biographies of local architects, a resource list for do-it-yourself projects, and a chapter listing tax benefits and grant opportunities for historic properties.

Nominate a Property to the Watchlist+

Are you concerned about the fate of a historic property in Tacoma? We’re now accepting nominations to expand our Watch List. More info.

Making the Case for Historic Preservation+

The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in WA State is a study by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation reveals that historic rehab activities, qualifying under federal and state tax credit programs from 2000 to 2004 generated average spending of $83.5 million per year.  The study builds the case by studying the impact of heritage tourism, the WA Main Street program, jobs and labor income, and property values on the state’s economic development.  Data for Tacoma and Pierce County is itemized in the report.