One of the oldest parks in Tacoma, what was once Alling Fruit Farm is now a place for the community to play, shoot hoops and picnic.This 5.6 acre neighborhood park was established in 1912.
About Frank S. Alling
Frank Alling (1839 -1912) and his wife Nellie (1842 – 1908) moved to Tacoma in 1873 and purchased a large homestead near Wapato Lake. Frank was respected as an accomplished horticulturalist. Settling down on his homestead claim he developed part of it into a fruit and flower farm, naming it “Allington Fruit Farm” which became one of the beauty spots of the community and in which he took great pride. In 1891 Alling shipped twenty-six boxes of fine apples to Hong Kong. It was the first shipment of Washington apples to the Orient. The varieties sent were Baldwin, Rubicon, Red Cheek and Newtown Pippin apples.
In addition to the gardens, Alling had a fascination with beautiful birds. He ordered Korean and Japanese pheasants, Golden Pheasants and Bantams from Woo Sung, China. He built an aviary on the property to raise the birds. He later purchased a tract of land on Fox Island where the birds could run free. Field and Stream Magazine published an article about his pheasant raising efforts in 1897. Alling commented that he wanted to get “…a tract of land across the bay while the price was low as a refuge for birds and wild creatures of the woods when man and civilization had eliminated the forest.”
During his later years Alling often said to friends that since he had no immediate relatives dependent on him (Nellie predeceased him by four years and they had no children) or who needed any part of his estate it was his intention to donate his fruit farm to the City of Tacoma for a public park and playground for children.
Shortly before his death in 1912, Frank Alling called the mayor of Tacoma, W.W. Seymour, to his home to donate ten acres of his homestead to the city to be used as a park where the children of the city could play. Alling requested that the park be named Frank Alling Park and that his remains be buried in the park. Upon his death in April 1912, Alling’s ashes were buried under a Lombardy poplar that he had planted on the property.