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Tacoma’s 2014 Historic Preservation Outstanding Achievement Awards

Each year, the City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission recognizes outstanding achievement in Historic Preservation during the Preservation Month of May. This year’s recipients represent traditional preservation projects, community leadership, as well as broader efforts to revitalize Tacoma’s historic downtown through innovative programming.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission and Historic Tacoma invite the community to join them at a public event on Thursday, May 8 from 6-8 p.m. at B Sharp Coffee House, 706 Court C (Opera Alley) honoring the following four award winners:

  • University of Washington Tacoma’s Joy Building Renovation - Stewardship in Historic Preservation - The 1892 three story, 47,000 square foot Joy Building was the last of the historic structures along Pacific Avenue to be repurposed for the University of Washington Tacoma campus classrooms and retail space. The 2011 reconstruction earned LEED-Platinum certification, one of the highest green building awards in the world.   The building was named for a local realtor and developer, Russell T. Joy, who hired prominent architects Pickles & Sutton to design a large brick, “flatiron” building with eight storefronts. Newspaper accounts of the day stated that the building was nearly fireproof, yet firemen from four stations battled a 1903 fire that destroyed much of the wood interior. Over the years, the building has housed a glove manufacturer, seed store, coffee company, machinery distributor, logging supplier and automobile dealerships. The Landmarks Preservation Commission feels that this reconstruction has carried forth a tradition of entrepreneurship while giving new life and purpose to a valuable Tacoma landmark.  
  • Spaceworks Tacoma - Downtown Revitalization - In 2010, the City of Tacoma and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce launched a joint initiative to activate empty storefronts and vacant spaces with art and creative enterprise. Landmarks Preservation Commission believes that Spaceworks has helped revitalize downtown partly by incorporating the use of historic buildings as part of their efforts. 
  • Sharon Winters - Leadership in Historic Preservation - Sharon Winters has been instrumental in historic preservation in Tacoma since joining the Landmarks Commission in 1999. In 2005, as chair of the Commission, she oversaw the first major overhaul of the historic preservation codes since the 1980s. Following her commission service she founded Historic Tacoma and served on the non-profit board through 2013. During this Historic Tacoma has become a significant voice for preservation matters, policy and partnerships.  Sharon championed Tacoma School District’s preservation plan establishment including the placement of several schools on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.  Landmarks Preservation Commission feels Winters’ influence on Tacoma’s architectural history will endure for years to come.
  • The City of Tacoma’s Old Town Dock - Stewardship in Historic Preservation - Old Town Dock, built in 1873, served the Tacoma shipping industry until operations moved to the tide flats. The dock then became a popular public space until it closed in 2008 after an engineer study found it too weak for pedestrian use.  Last May a $2.3 million renovation, funded by the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks, allowed the dock to reopen providing new life to a structure of great historical significance.

The City’s award-winning Historic Preservation efforts seek to support preservation of Tacoma’s unique community character that derives from Tacoma’s rich architectural legacy. For more information on other Preservation Month activities, visit cityoftacoma.org/historicpreservation.


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