The Spar Tavern in Old Town

o6CThe Old Tacoma saloon opened in 1884 on this site.  The building was torn down and replaced in 1917 by the David Building. The first tenants were the Radonich Brother’s, who operated a men’s clothing store, a billiard parlor and a soft drink establishment and in 1920 a restaurant called The Spar.  In 1933, at the end of prohibition, alcohol replaced soft drinks for the workers of Old Town. The Radonich Brothers decided to remain a tavern and serve only beer and wine.  Today, The Spar is a landmark in Old Town and still serves up beer, wine, and now coffee!

Old Town’s Saint Peter’s Church

o7CSaint Peter’s Church, built in 1873, is the oldest church in Tacoma. and has been placed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It was built by the townspeople of Old Tacoma in seven days!  The second hand pump organ that is still in use today, came around Cape Horn in 1874.

Old Town’s Knights of Pythias Temple

o62Now known as Carr’s Hall, this venerable building was built in 1880 as the Knights of Pythias Temple.  An interesting group of tenants followed including the Bethel Mission, Presbyterian Sunday School, Star Grocery and Anton Bush’s Grocery Store.  In 1983 it was completely remodeled and opened as Grazie’s Restaurant.  Today it is home to the Connelly Law Office.

Too Many Saloons in Old Town

o75The Murphy Building was built in 1888 by Michael Murphy for $6000.00.  After completion of the building, Mr Murphy applied to the City Council for a saloon license for “The Murphy”.  The license was not granted.  The citizens of Old Town  said “there was one saloon to every twenty five voters already!”  The building had many other uses over the years including a barbershop, union hall for longshoremen and business offices.

Coffee and Cigars


Louis Stewart came to Tacoma from West Virginia in 1888. With his brother, he formed Kona Koffee in 1905. This Dutch Colonial, in the North Slope Historic district, designed by George Bullard in 1902 was his home. He only lived here a few years and the next owners were William and Catherine H. McDonald. Mr. McDonald was a cigar dealer.

Only Two Apostles Left of the Twelve Apostles


Designed by architects Bullard & Haywood and built by Lemuel T. Root in 1892, there were originally twelve Queen Anne homes on this block, that were nicknamed “the twelve apostles”. The “apostles” were built for Tacoma mover and shaker, A. C. Mason, in what is now the North Slope Historic District. In the 1960’s, the Tacoma Housing Authority razed 10 of the “apostles”, leaving these last two. Mr. Mason came to Tacoma in 1883 and went into the real estate business. Buying land along Commencement Bay in the North End of Tacoma, he later built houses there. Mr Root built more than sixty houses in Tacoma.

Wedding Bells


This beautiful Neo-Colonial home in the North Slope Historic District was designed and built in 1895 by William Bullard, one of Tacoma’s first architects. This was Mr. Bullard’s home and he married his wife, Anna Heath here. Miss Heath was a member of the Tacoma School Board, a teacher and an early principal of Lincoln High School

A Department Store, National Park and Hotel


This North Slope Historic District home home was built for Henry Rhodes in 1901. Originally designed by Spalding, Russel & Heath, in 1907 Frederick Heath designed the three-story addition on the north side of the home. Henry Rhodes came to Tacoma in 1890 with his two brothers, Albert and Charles and opened a tea and coffee shop. This enterprise grew into the Rhodes Brothers Department store. The department store was Washington’s first and for many years, the largest department store in the state. Mr Rhodes later established and headed the Rainer National Park Corporation that built the Paradise Lodge that is still in use today. He was also involved in building the Winthrop Hotel and the Medical Arts Building.