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Tacoma Historical Society

Tacoma Historical Society

By Tacoma Historical Society
It's our mission to collect, document, and share the unique history of Tacoma, Washington — and our passion to share it with you. At Tacoma Historical Society, we forge connections between generations, foster an appreciation for the past, and cultivate a sense of place within our community.
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Homewaters Author Interview
THS Communications Manager Kim Davenport interviews David B. Williams, author of the new book Homewaters, now available from University of Washington Press. Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by settlement and resource extraction, Puget Sound and its future health now depend on a better understanding of the region’s ecological complexities. Focusing on the area south of Port Townsend and between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, Williams uncovers human and natural histories in, on, and around the Sound. In conversations with archaeologists, biologists, and tribal authorities, Williams traces how generations of humans have interacted with such species as geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish, and herring. He sheds light on how warfare shaped development and how people have moved across this maritime highway, in canoes, the mosquito fleet, and today’s ferry system. The book also takes an unflinching look at how the Sound’s ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction, and the effects of climate change. With thanks to Tacoma Creates for support of our public programming.
26:55
June 15, 2021
Sounds of our City: Twenty-One Musical Tales from Tacoma History
"Sounds of our City: Twenty-One Musical Tales from Tacoma History," written by Kim Davenport. Audiobook read by the author. Author's Note: Music is universal. Styles may change with time and place, but human beings have always created music for personal expression, communication, and entertainment. Music, therefore, can serve as a lens through which to explore history. What type of music did people make when, and why? The twenty-one stories in this book do not necessarily represent the most famous or successful musicians ever to create music in Tacoma. They do not give us a comprehensive understanding of any particular musical genre. Rather, they teach us more about the history of the city we live in, through exploring the lives of musicians who were in one way or another shaped by Tacoma. Music clips in the order in which they are heard: "Tacoma: The Rose of the West" (1910), performed by Drew Shipman and Kim Davenport. "You'll Like Tacoma" (1909), performed by Drew Shipman and Kim Davenport. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: "Pilgrim's Song," Op.59 No.20 (1905), performed by Kim Davenport.
01:17:59
May 27, 2021
Tacoma Opera
UW Tacoma student David Derouin discusses the history of Tacoma Opera with someone who knows it intimately, Lisa Ingraham. She has been the opera’s orchestra manager for about two decades and also serves as a violinist. David produced this podcast episode as an assignment in the UW Tacoma class “Musical History of Tacoma,” taught by Kim Davenport in Winter Quarter 2021. 
20:00
April 16, 2021
Becoming Nisei
For our April 2021 virtual meeting, THS Communications Manager Kim Davenport interviews UW Tacoma faculty members Dr. Lisa Hoffman and Dr. Mary Hanneman about their new book, Becoming Nisei: Japanese American Urban Lives in Prewar Tacoma.   Tacoma’s vibrant Nihonmachi of the 1920s and '30s was home to a significant number of first generation Japanese immigrants and their second generation American children, and these families formed tight-knit bonds despite their diverse religious, prefectural, and economic backgrounds. As the city’s Nisei grew up attending the secular Japanese Language School, they absorbed the Meiji-era cultural practices and ethics of the previous generation. At the same time, they positioned themselves in new and dynamic ways, including resisting their parents and pursuing lives that diverged from traditional expectations.   Becoming Nisei, based on more than forty interviews, shares stories of growing up in Japanese American Tacoma before the incarceration. Recording these early twentieth-century lives counteracts the structural forgetting and erasure of prewar histories in both Tacoma and many other urban settings after World War II. Lisa Hoffman and Mary Hanneman underscore both the agency of Nisei in these processes as well as their negotiations of prevailing social and power relations.   The book is available for purchase in the THS Museum Store, located at 406 Tacoma Avenue S, open from 11am-3pm, Wednesday-Saturday.  ***  With thanks to Tacoma Creates for support of our public programming.
01:05:22
April 13, 2021
Exploring Tacoma's Nihonmachi
In conversation with his wife Dahlia, UW Tacoma student Jonathan Ohashi shares his research into Tacoma’s Nihonmachi (Japantown), with a specific mention of the music that would have been experienced by Tacoma’s pre-war Japanese-American population.  Jonathan produced this podcast episode as an assignment in the UW Tacoma class “Musical History of Tacoma,” taught by Kim Davenport in Winter Quarter 2021. The podcast is dedicated to Jonathan’s Japanese immigrant grandmother, who was lost to COVID in March 2020. Jonathan utilized the following resources in conducting his research: Hoffman, M. Lisa, and Mary L. Hanneman. Becoming Nisei. University of Washington Press, 2021. May, Elizabeth. “The Influence of the Meiji Period on Japanese Children's Music.” Journal of Research in Music Education, vol. 13, no. 2, 1965, pp. 110–120. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3344448. Accessed 08 Mar. 2021. Nimura, Tamiko. “Tacoma Neighborhoods: Japantown (Nihonmachi) – Thumbnail History” HistoryLink.26, Oct. 2016, https://historylink.org/File/20177. Temple History. Tacoma Buddhist Temple. 10, Mar. 2020, https://www.tacomabt.org/history/. Wadland, Justin. “Tacoma Buddhist Temple” HistoryLink. 16, Nov. 2018, https://historylink.org/File/20668. Wadland, Justin, and Tamiko Nimura. “Tacoma Buddhist Temple” HistoryLink. 16, Nov. 2018, https://historylink.org/File/20668.
20:57
March 23, 2021
Telling the Stories of our Lives
Join us for our March 2021 virtual meeting as we host a conversation between writer Anthea Karanasos Hubanks and retiree and book artist An Gates. THS Communications Manager Kim Davenport will interview the two women about their recent experience with capturing and sharing An's oral history, as part of the "Telling the Stories of our Lives" project. Learn more about Hubanks' oral history project, and An's life story, by visiting our Tales of Tacoma blog, where we have shared several oral histories resulting from the project. Tune in right here, on our YouTube Channel, or on our Facebook page to watch the broadcast on Monday, March 8 at 7pm. *** With thanks to Tacoma Creates for support of our public programming.
31:33
March 9, 2021
Black Voices from Tacoma's Musical Past
In this presentation, THS Communications Manager and Tacoma music historian Kim Davenport shares stories of black musicians from Tacoma's past who left an important legacy in our city. Some made Tacoma home while others were merely guests for a time, but all added to the artistic vitality of our community while confronting the realities of discrimination.  Presented in partnership between the Tacoma Public Library and Tacoma Historical Society, with support from Tacoma Creates.
47:08
February 21, 2021
A Pioneering Spirit: A Conversation with Artist Dionne Bonner
Join us for our February 2021 virtual meeting, as we share a conversation with artist Dionne Bonner. Bonner's exhibit, "A Pioneering Spirit: A Fight for Liberty and Freedom," is currently on display in our Tacoma Historical Society museum. The exhibit features oil paintings and biographical information which bring to life the journey of a handful of African American pioneers who fought tirelessly for liberty for their community in spite of their situations. For Bonner, these historical accounts encouraged her at a pivotal time in her life when she needed to see examples of strength and agency reflected in her community. Bonner joins THS Communications Manager Kim Davenport for a conversation about her work. 
26:52
February 9, 2021
Earthwise & Second Use: Salvage Stories
The City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office presents Virtual Heritage Cafe: Broadening Horizons in Historic Preservation. Co-sponsored by Tacoma Historical Society and Historic Tacoma, with thanks to Tacoma Creates for its support of their public events. In this episode of the Virtual Heritage Cafe series, Aaron Blanchard of Earthwise Architectural Salvage and Amanda Harryman of Second Use Building Materials share stories from their work in architectural salvage.
59:24
January 25, 2021
Preserving What Matters: Building A More Inclusive Practice
The City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office presents Virtual Heritage Cafe: Broadening Horizons in Historic Preservation. Co-sponsored by Tacoma Historical Society and Historic Tacoma, with thanks to Tacoma Creates for its support of their public events. In January of 2020, the National Register of Historic Places shared that, of the more than 95,000 entries on the list, only 2% of those places focus on the experiences of Black Americans. The follow-up question is usually "Well, how do we fix that?" but perhaps we need to start with a different set of questions. In this conversation, Jackie will share examples of work she has done to support and broaden the reach of preservation work. She will also share some ideas for where to begin, and a series of questions that may be helpful for discussing in participants' organizations and workplaces. Jackie is an independent museum consultant with a focus on exhibit development, curation and writing for history museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions. With over twelve years of exhibits experience, she has worked nationally with museums, communities and stakeholders to uncover and illuminate meaningful stories to create authentic, truthful and enlightening exhibitions. Jackie leverages the power of language and narrative to create exhibitions that attest to the nuances of our human experience, spark conversation and bring people together. Much of Jackie’s independent work has focused on storytelling through exhibitions highlighting the experiences and lives of African Americans in Washington State. Prior to pursuing an independent consulting career, Jackie served as a content developer and coordinator at the exhibition design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates Inc. in New York. Jackie is passionate about equity in the museum field and grounds her work in the framework of diversity, access, equity and inclusion (DEAI). She serves on the steering committee for Museums & Race, an initiative that seeks equity and justice for people of color in the museum field.
01:11:50
December 20, 2020
Beneath our Streets
Dave Mylet's Digital History elective at Tacoma's School of Industrial Design, Engineering and Arts (IDEA) gives students the chance to explore local history through hands-on, project-based curriculum. Their first project as a class was to research, script and record a podcast episode for the Tacoma Historical Society. In this episode, Dylan O'Catherine explores the true story behind the legend of Tacoma's "Shanghai Tunnels." Dylan O'Catherine is a 17 year old senior at iDEA High School. They enjoy music art, and memes - which are an art form in Dylan's opinion.
11:48
December 16, 2020
Falling into History
Tamiko Nimura, a third-generation Japanese American and second-generation Filipina American, is a freelance writer, essayist, community journalist, and public historian. She has degrees from UC Berkeley (BA) and the University of Washington (MA, PhD). Her academic training in literature and American ethnic studies prepared her for her current projects in storytelling, biography, arts writing, public history, social justice, and community service. She is the author of ROSA FRANKLIN: A LIFE IN HEALTH CARE, PUBLIC SERVICE, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (Washington State Legislature Oral History Program, 2020) and has written several articles for HistoryLink on Tacoma’s Japanese American history. Other past projects include a tour of Japanese American farms on Vashon Island (RevisitWA.org). She is co-writing a graphic novel called WE HEREBY REFUSE: JAPANESE AMERICAN ACTS OF WARTIME RESISTANCE (Chin Music Press, 2021). Tamiko lives with her composer husband Josh Parmenter and their two daughters in Tacoma. This episode is part of the Virtual Heritage Cafe Series: Broadening Horizons in Historic Preservation, presented by the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office, and co-sponsored by Tacoma Historical Society and Historic Tacoma, with thanks to Tacoma Creates for its support of their public programs.
57:52
December 16, 2020
Aliens Were Invented in 1947
Dave Mylet's Digital History elective at Tacoma's School of Industrial Design, Engineering and Arts (IDEA) gives students the chance to explore local history through hands-on, project-based curriculum. Their first project as a class was to research, script and record a podcast episode for the Tacoma Historical Society. In this episode Bria Gold explores Tacoma's role in the UFO craze of the mid-20th century. Bria is a senior at IDEA High School who enjoys art, aliens and herbal teas. You might find her lurking at your local pond with some silkworms and a funny hat. An amateur podcaster, but a professional at being a cool gal.
13:50
December 15, 2020
William Rust
Dave Mylet's Digital History elective at Tacoma's School of Industrial Design, Engineering and Arts (IDEA) gives students the chance to explore local history through hands-on, project-based curriculum. Their first project as a class was to research, script and record a podcast episode for the Tacoma Historical Society. In this episode Jessica Christiansen explores William Rust and the Rust Mansion. Jessica enjoys painting and being outdoors. She has two pet guinea pigs who are the best. Her ultimate career goal is to become a general contractor and become one of the best in the business.
07:37
December 15, 2020
The Jake Bird Hex
Dave Mylet's Digital History elective at Tacoma's School of Industrial Design, Engineering and Arts (IDEA) gives students the chance to explore local history through hands-on, project-based curriculum. Their first project as a class was to research, script and record a podcast episode for the Tacoma Historical Society. In this episode Trinity Brigham explores the crimes, trial and curse of train-hopping murderer Jake Byrd. Trinity Brigham was born and raised in Tacoma. She is the oldest of three sisters. They are into the paranormal, crime, the supernatural, and are also geeks for many tv shows. She is a currently a senior at IDEA high school.
09:44
October 30, 2020
The Arts & Crafts Movement in the PNW
Please join us as Lawrence Kreisman shares the rich history of the Arts and Crafts movement in Washington and Oregon. Driven by the need to simplify our lives and surroundings during the fast-moving industrial and commercial growth period at the turn of the 20th century, a design celebration of grace, simplicity and comfort was born in the Arts and Crafts movement. From homes to jewelry, this influence is found in objects both public and private. Local artisans in the Pacific Northwest contributed to this rich heritage making furniture, metalwork, ceramics, and stained glass to fill Bungalow, Craftsman, and Mission style residences throughout the Pacific Northwest. Lawrence Kreisman co-founded and directed the Seattle Architecture Foundation tour program from 1990-2003. He served as Program Director of Historic Seattle for 20 years, developing tours, lectures, and special events, including a long-running Bungalow Fair and Arts and Crafts lecture series. He is the author of many articles and books on regional architecture and preservation. This lecture is based upon his 2007 publication, co-authored with Glenn Mason. Their exhibition, organized by the Museum of History & Industry in 2009, traveled to Tacoma, Spokane, and Bellingham for two years. This episode is part of the Virtual Heritage Cafe Series: Broadening Horizons in Historic Preservation, presented by the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Office, and co-sponsored by Tacoma Historical Society and Historic Tacoma, with thanks to Tacoma Creates for its support of their public programs.
01:08:07
October 21, 2020
Twulshootseed Language Revitalization in the Puyallup Tribal Community
Over the past 6 years, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians has valued and supported the Twulshootseed language revitalization efforts made by the Puyallup Tribal Language Program. This presentation will include the journey of the Language Program staff as they’ve serviced the Puyallup Tribal community through: Twulshootseed language use, language nesting, conversation, public speaking, working in the Tribal school and daycare, hosting storytelling nights and incorporating Twulshootseed into everyday life.   Amber Hayward is a Puyallup Tribal member, a descendant of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe and African American. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Native American Studies from the Reservation Based Community Determined Program at the Evergreen State College. She lives on the Puyallup Tribal reservation with her three children, and has worked for her people for over 15 years. Amber spent approximately 8 years working in the Puyallup Tribal Historic Preservation Department, sharing the history of her tribe with the community and schools. She then transferred to the Language Program as a Language Instructor, where she now holds the title of Program Director and works with an amazing staff. It brings her much joy to serve the Puyallup Tribal Community through txʷəlšucid use, material production, song, dance, storytelling and many other community events.  To learn more about the Puyallup Tribal Language Program, visit www.puyalluptriballanguage.org.  Tacoma Historical Society is proud to co-sponsor the Virtual Heritage Cafe: Broadening Horizons in Historic Preservation. Co-sponsored by the City of Tacoma Office of Historic Preservation and Historic Tacoma.  With thanks to Tacoma Creates for its support of our public events, funding has also been provided by Humanities Washington as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan of 2020.
01:06:43
October 20, 2020
Speaking Out: Twenty-One of Tacoma's Social Justice and Civil Rights Champions
"Speaking Out: Twenty-One of Tacoma's Social Justice and Civil Rights Champions" was written by Katherine Dorr, with research and editorial support from Tacoma Historical Society staff and volunteers. This audiobook version is read by Bill Baarsma and Kim Davenport. This book is part of our '21 Tales' series, books which are intended to share important stories from Tacoma history with students in local schools. The book was published in conjunction with our 2017-2018 exhibit "Dreams That Matter", which was funded by a grant from the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The printing of copies for use in Tacoma classrooms was made possible by generous support from KeyBank. For more information about this book and other educational resources related to the struggle for civil rights and social justice in Tacoma, visit: https://www.tacomahistory.org/ths-press
01:28:24
June 12, 2020
Leading Ladies: Twenty-One of Tacoma's Women of Destiny
"Leading Ladies: 21 of Tacoma's Women of Destiny," written by Deb Freedman, Michael Ann Konek, and Tacoma Historical Society. Audiobook read by Deb Freedman. Author's Note: We love Tacoma. We love its history, buildings and people. Most of all we love Tacoma's stories. But many history stories are just that, "his story." We think it's time to start telling her story. This book honors twenty-one of the many women who have played a role in the history of Tacoma, Washington: The City of Destiny. For more information about this and other titles from Tacoma Historical Society Press, visit www.tacomahistory.org/ths-press
01:14:45
June 11, 2020
Rising Up From Tacoma's Twenty-One Disasters and Defeats
"Rising Up From Tacoma's Twenty-One Disasters and Defeats," written by Deb Freedman and Tacoma Historical Society, read by Deb Freedman. Author's Note: These stories cover a wide variety of topics, from relatively minor defeats to major disasters and tragedies. Several depict poor treatment of animals and even worse treatment of racial minorities. They are not meant for children to read alone, but as a means for starting conversations and learning. The topics in this book were selected by 2012-2013 students of Seabury Middle School, and are not intended to rank as Tacoma’s top twenty-one disasters. That list would likely include the loss of Native American lands or the hanging of Chief Leschi. I feel strongly that those subjects deserve a book - and a perspective - of their own. For more information about this and other titles from Tacoma Historical Society Press, visit www.tacomahistory.org/ths-press
58:50
June 10, 2020