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History of North Slope Historic District Park

North Slope Sub StationOriginally purchased by Tacoma City Light in 1951 for use as a 'Distribution Yard,' this Substation remained in active service until 1983. When the method of power distribution changed, the transformers were disconnected and later removed.

Local residents noted Tacoma Power had a vacant lot and wondered whether it could become a 'Pocket Park' instead of another huge apartment complex. The North End Neighborhood Council eventually secured the funds from the Thea Foss Bond Issue given to each neighborhood council and in April 2001 the City of Tacoma became the owner of the property.

Through an agreement with the City, Metro Parks Tacoma designed, developed, and now maintains this park which had its opening ceremony June 8, 2002. Neighborhood volunteers maintain the beds and plants. The small park contains a wooden piece of play equipment for small children, seating, and a handicapped ramp. The design and equipment in the park were approved by the Landmarks Commission.

The park is dedicated to Valerie Sivinski, former Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer, who provided guidance for the creation of the North Slope Historic District.

The North Slope Historic District includes more than 950 structures which are on the Register of Tacoma Historic Places. It's Tacoma's only residential historic district and one of the largest residential historic districts in the nation.

The buildings of the North Slope represent the homes of some of Tacoma's earliest citizens, with houses constructed from the 1880s to the 1940s. The district contains examples of local 'domestic' architecture, including Victorian, Craftsman Bungalow, Queen Anne Victorian, Four-square, and many variations of popular styles.

The neighborhood was settled by many of the people who did the real work of building Tacoma - merchants, retailers, clerks, shipbuilders, fishermen - as well as a variety of prominent politicians and financiers. Because the area was settled and built up sporadically due to 'boom and bus' times, there is an unusual variety of building styles and ages.

- Jay and Julie Turner, of the NSHD, contributed to this article.