Metro Parks Tacoma

  • Park Finder
  • Register

History

Walking on Owen Beach circa 1910

Metro Parks Tacoma has its roots in the City of Tacoma Charter of 1880. The city set up a committee of city council members in 1883 to oversee the city's parks. That committee became the Board of Park Commissioners in 1890, with members appointed by the mayor.

Tacoma was ready for action when the Washington State Legislature passed a law in 1907 allowing cities to form separate park districts. Less than a month after the governor signed the bill, residents voted to establish the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma as a separate municipal corporation with the ability to collect property taxes for support. Metro Parks Tacoma was incorporated April 6, 1907, with a five-member elected Board of Park Commissioners.

The Early Parks

Kids Outside Ferry Park Building 1928  FERRY PARK - 1883
Tacoma's first park was the inspiration and gift of Col. Clinton Ferry, who wanted to replicate the broad boulevards and green spaces he enjoyed on his trips to Europe. 
 Statue at Entry to Wright Park WRIGHT PARK - 1886
In 1886 the Tacoma Land Company under the leadership of its president, Charles B. Wright, donated a parcel of land approximately 20 acres in size to the City of Tacoma for the sole purpose of being developed as a public park.
 Aerial View of Puget Gulch from 1979 PUGET PARK - 1888
Allen C. Mason donated the first section of Puget Park "to the uses of the public forever." The park included the small level area along Proctor as well as the gulch extending from Union Street down to the waterfront.
 Old Car at Entry to Point Defiance Park POINT DEFIANCE PARK - 1888
In 1888 Tacoma persuaded Congress to allow park development at Point Defiance. Tacoma proceeded to develop park features and on March 3, 1905 Tacoma was granted full title to the 638 acre park by US Congress.
 Kids on Swings in Lincoln Park 1928 LINCOLN PARK - 1889
The Tacoma Land Company donated 40 acres of land in the south end of town to the City of Tacoma for use as a park, which was originally known as South Park.

After more than 100 years, Metro Parks Tacoma continues to maintain and care for Tacoma's park resources with a combination of earned revenue and tax support.

People on Owen Beach in 2002