Tacoma builds Washington's first municipal dock in January 1911.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 1/10/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5038
In January 1911, Tacoma builds the first publicly owned dock in the state of Washington. The dock is built on the tideflats north of 15th Street. Tacoma Mayor Angelo Fawcett, a staunch advocate of public ownership of all utilities, led the campaign for the municipal dock.

The dock was completed at a cost of $270,850. The grand opening took place in February 1911, and a newspaper enthused:

“On all sides today, Mayor Fawcett is being congratulated for the enterprise he showed in bringing the dock proposition before the people in the first place and for putting it through to a successful consummation.

“The opening is taken to signal a new industrial epoch in Tacoma. Tacoma now leads many cities in a variety of ways. She owns her own electric light plant and now she owns her own dock” (quoted in Magden).

The account envisions further municipal docks to be built, with room for all of Puget Sound’s mosquito fleet and larger ships as well.

Sources: Ronald Magden and A. D. Martinson, The Working Waterfront: The Story of Tacoma’s Ships and Men (Tacoma: International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 23 and Port of Tacoma, 1982), 9.

Related Topics:   Cities & Towns | Firsts | Maritime

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