Tuesday, May 28, 2019


image from tacomatravel.com


“In November 1885, a mob, led by the mayor of 
Tacoma, evicted several hundred Chinese from 
their homes, forced them to take a train to 
Portland, then burned their homes.
--Tacoma Tribune.

When I was a kid,
growing up a Seattle brat, 
30 miles south of us
was the sister city of Tacoma,
named after the Native American
term for Mt. Rainier--
Takhoma or Tahoma.

It had several pulp mills,
that fouled the air,
creating the Tacoma Aroma;
a stink like a cross between
rotted sauerkraut and rotten eggs.

After a decade
of living in California, 
I returned to the Pacific Northwest, 
finding that Seattle had become
high dollar real estate;
so I settled into the South Sound
and adopted Tacoma as home.
The pulp mills had been cleaned up,
which was a plus.

It’s a port city, built along
Commencement Bay.
It’s called the “City of Destiny”,
because in the late 1880’s,
it became the railhead
for the Northern Pacific,
before Seattle was connected;
starting a rivalry between them.
It is also called “America’s Most Walkable City.”

On a warm summer day,
one can have quite a walkabout,
walking along the Foss Waterway,.
passing by several yacht clubs
and fancy seafood restaurants,
dry docked fireboats, beaches, & parks.
There is an Old Town that runs parallel
to the waterfront, dotted with Pioneer
buildings mixed with new condos.

At the end of the walkway
there’s a city park, complete with
a huge Japanese Temple 
that is surrounded with Asian art and sculpture.
Then you come upon a ferry terminal;
connecting you to the many islands
in Puget Sound. It is inexpensive to walk on,
pick an island, and extend your walking tour.

Above the terminal there’s a winding road
that leads to a very large County Park
at Point Defiance. You start by checking
out a restored and relocated Hudson Bay
fur trading facility--Ft. Nisqually.
Walking further, you come to a fabulous
Zoo & Aquarium. Then you discover
an Arboretum, adjacent to a large garden.
Lastly you come to a viewpoint where one
can see the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Walking south out of the park, you enter the 
suburb of Ruston, a lovely mix of Victorian
homes and antique shops. A strong walker
can manage this seven mile jaunt
in one long day.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub--Poetics


Kim M. Russell said...

Thank you for the tour, Glenn!

Anmol (HA) said...

It's so good to get a view of the town and its walking sights through your words — I admire how you captured the history of the place as well, along with a bit of your own. Such an enjoyable read!

Gillena Cox said...

You took me there Glen. Thanks for the walkabout.
Happy you dropped by my blog


robkistner said...

Yo dude, that was fabulous! Had no idea about Tacoma. Lived in the PacNW 30 years, snd have never visited the city of destiny. My grandson knows about the aquarium from neighbors here in Kirkland. So word is we are going down this summer. I will make certain my scooter battery is fully charged. That’s for the info, bro!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

My goodness, for someone who has never set foot in the "City of Destiny," you sure made me felt like I was a part of it! Gorgeously rendered, Glenn ❤️

Jade Li said...

That quote at the beginning, about driving the people out and burning their homes 200 years ago. Seems so out of place for what sounds like a fabulous city. I started watching a documentary series on New York where it talked about how they swindled Manhattan away from the tribes who hunted and fished it; seems like a variation on a theme. Your poem is very structured and very thoughtful, as always, Glenn.

Jane Dougherty said...

A 'walkable city' that's the kind I like. Thanks for the tour :)

sarah said...

Great tour. I love cities that have traces of an industrial past. It sounds like Tacoma has lots of layers, and lots to offer.

brudberg said...

I love how you let that walk be one going back in history of a town... I do know the reek of papermills... something that we sometimes could feel in the wind when I grew up

Kerfe said...

It's interesting to contrast the image of tolerance with the reality of the area's history. I suppose it's that way most places if you dig deep enough. A great combination of past and present.

JIm Feeney said...

Fascinating walk, Glenn, I am just north of you in Vancouver, will have to check out Tacoma, the next time I am down that way. By the way, I worked on pollution control in pulp mills for a period of time, I am familiar with that smell! I had to keep my clothes in the garden shed after my return from visiting a mill! JIM