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Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation in Tacoma

The City of Tacoma has one of Washington State's oldest historic preservation programs, dating back to 1973.  In 1974, Old City Hall, at 625 Commerce Street, became the first building added to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places, followed closely by Union Station at 1717 Pacific Avenue. Since that time, the Tacoma Register of Historic Places has grown to include over 160 properties, sites, and places, as well as six local historic and conservation districts.

Why Preserve?

Preservation is not just about preserving the past:  it is essential for creating a future Tacoma that retains its identity and uniqueness.  Preservation is a key strategy for economic development and urban revitalization in Tacoma.  From the Federal Courthouse at Union Station, to the University of Washington Tacoma Campus, to the numerous office and residential developments, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in Tacoma's historic buildings, bringing people and jobs back to the core of the city.

Preservation is also key to sustainable development in the future:  the greenest building is the one that is already built.  Versus demolition and new construction, historic preservation reduces waste stream impacts and the environmental costs associated with the manufacture and transport of materials.  Moreover, historic buildings are often constructed of high quality materials that are no longer available, and historic rehabilitation tends to drive more dollars to skilled trades and less to materials, as compared to new construction, supporting the local economy.

Information on the program, including the Tacoma Register of Historic Places, Design Review, Financial Incentives and other useful information is located in our website, TacomaCulture.

About the Program

The Historic Preservation Program is part of the Planning Services Division within the Planning and Development Services Department.  The Historic Preservation Office provides support to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, maintains and reviews nominations to Tacoma's Landmarks Register, reviews applications for changes to historic landmarks, and provides assistance to the public and other government agencies regarding historic preservation issues.  We are also developing new programming and events to share Tacoma's unique history and culture.

Where to Find Us

The Historic Preservation Office is located in the landmark Tacoma Municipal Building (Medical Arts Building, 1930), at:

Planning and Development Services Department 
747 Market Street
3rd Floor  
Tacoma, WA 98402-3793 

Phone: (253) 591-5577

Additional Information

Get quarterly insight into Tacoma Historic Preservation.


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