Metro Parks Tacoma

  • Park Finder
  • Register

Current News

Images of America: Tacoma's Point Defiance Park

December 1, 2012

It’s a perfect gift for family and friends who love Point Defiance Park. This pictorial history boasts more than 200 vintage images and provides readers with a unique opportunity to reconnect with the history that shaped their community.

Authors Melissa McGinnis and Doreen Beard-Simpkins have researched the history of Tacoma’s parks for more than 20 years as employees of Metro Parks Tacoma. Together they have authored two previous Metro Parks books published by Arcadia’s Images of America series, including:

  • Tacoma’s Parks (2007), Celebrating the independent park agency’s centennial
  • Tacoma’s Wright Park (2008), A retrospective of a grand dame’s restoration.

For more than a century, the citizens of Tacoma have valued Point Defiance Park as a forested refuge and an urban oasis. The community treasures its history and ecology as the crown jewel of the city’s public spaces. Ancient forest continues to cover the majority of the park’s 700-plus acres. Attractions of the past, a saltwater swimming pool, riding stables and an amusement park delighted earlier generations though they are now long gone.

The first boathouses, early zoological collections and gardens near the park’s entrance date back to the 1890s and now greet visitors in modern form. Today’s park amenities are designed to foster appreciation for the rich historic and environmental heritage of “Tacoma’s Great Pride” and serve an estimated two million visitors annually.

Historic images from both private and public collections highlight this memorable “walk in the park” through a beloved civic preserve.

Highlights of Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park include:

  • Tacoma’s Sound Shore Retreat
  • Handsome Ferneries, Golden Glories and a Velvet Sward
  • A Splendid Collection of Birds and Animals
  • The Forest, Hard Times and a Fort

Find it online and at local book sellers.