Random Tacoma trivia

  • The name Tacoma stems from the Indian name for Mount Rainier, "Tacobet," meaning “mother of the waters.”
  • Tacoma is the largest city in Pierce County with a population of 198,397. It is also the third largest city in the state of Washington, behind Seattle and Spokane.  (Source: 2010 census)
  • The Tacoma Dome is the largest wood-domed arena in the world, constructed with 1.6 million board feet. 
  • Tacoma was founded in 1865 by pioneer Job Carr, who staked the first claim in what is now the "Old Town" neighborhood of the city. 
  • "City of Destiny" became Tacoma's moniker when it was designated — instead of Seattle — as the Northern Pacific Railroad's western terminus for its transcontinental route in 1873.
  • The altitude ranges from sea level to 440 feet in the metropolitan area.
  • Despite the Pacific Northwest's rainy reputation, the average annual rainfall is just 39.9 inches (less than New York), 75 percent of which falls October through March. The driest month is usually July and the wettest month is December.
  • Irvine Robbins, co-founder of the Baskin-Robbins chain of ice cream stores, got his start in Tacoma in 1927, selling ice cream and cottage cheese produced from his father's cows' surplus milk. 
  • Almond Roca, a Northwest favorite since 1912 is still headquartered in Tacoma today.     
  • The Mars Bar [also known as the Milky Way Bar] was created in 1911 when Frank and Ethel Mars began making and selling a variety of butter-cream candies from the kitchen of their Tacoma home. 
  • Dale Chihuly's stunning glass chandelier, "End of the Day," hangs in the rotunda of the Union Station (free and open to the public). It has 600 pieces and weighs 2,000 lbs.
  • The famous Steinway pianos are made with Northwest spruce supplied by Tacoma lumber company Fred Tebb & Sons since the 1920s.
  • The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, built in 1950, is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world.
  • The Port of Tacoma is the sixth-largest container-handling port in North America, covering more than 2,400 acres, and ranks in the top 25 for worldwide container trade. The Port services more than 15 steamship lines, two transcontinental railroads, 200 inter-and intrastate trucking lines and 20 air freight forwarders.
  • Union Station, built in 1911, began as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The landmark depot was designed by Reed & Stem, the architects who also designed Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
  • Bob's World Famous Java Jive, a concrete building in the shape of a teapot, has been serving drinks on South Tacoma Way for over 75 years, and is a historically-registered site.
  • Point Defiance Park, with 700 acres, is one of the largest urban parks in the nation, second only to Central Park in New York City.

Source: TravelTacoma.com; CityofTacoma.org