"Wright Park: Pathways among Shade Trees" Top 5 Page for this destination Tacoma Off The Beaten Path Tip by glabah
Tacoma Off The Beaten Path: 57 reviews and 241 photos
Located on the northwest edge of downtown Tacoma, Wright Park was opened to the public in 1890, after the land for use as a public park was donated to the city in 1886. The park is designed in a very classical fashion and is typical of the era, and includes a duck pond, gravel walkways, a bridge over the duck pond, horshoe pits, a lawn bowling green, a fairly nice playground, and a lot of picnic tables under the wonderful large trees.
There are some public works of art here as well, including a statue of Henrik Ibsen that was dedicated on May 17, 1913, on the 99th anniversary of Norway's independence. The huge lions on the south side of the park are designed to mimic those of certain parks in Europe. The two maidens at the north entrance to the park are reproductions of statues of maidens that are thought to have been created to serve as attendants to Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture. From time to time, these women are decorated with flowers or other artifacts.
The lions and the Greek maidens were brought to Tacoma from Europe by Colonel Clinton P. Ferry, and they have been named "Annie" and "Fannie" after Annie Wright Seminary School and Fannie Paddock Hospital.
The statue "Trilogy" is of three young people having fun, which should be part of what a good park is all about. There are a few others public artworks scattered through the park.
Another feature in the park is the "Spanish American War" Cannon (though the date on the cannon appears to be from the 1700s, and the name only describes the fact that it was captured in Cuba during that conflict.
When I visited on August 13, 2010, an extensive park construction project was underway in the center of the park. This will replace the old wading pool with a modern "water spray" area, replace the restrooms, and otherwise make improvements to the park.
The old restrooms near the playground are usable, but at least on the men's room side there is little privacy at all once inside the restroom.
This park is also the home of the WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory, which is a small greenhouse museum of living plants. The conservatory also has a memorabilia store.
Unfortunately, one of the most spectacular features of the park is no longer here. When the land was first developed, a huge cedar tree grew here, and it was cut down, most likely before the land was donated for use as a park. The huge stump was converted into a building (yes, it truly was a huge tree) that served as a bandstand and gazebo for a number of years. Alas, it burned in the 1930s, and was removed. However, please try to find some photos of this spectacular tree stump, and imagine what this huge tree must have been like.
The park is bordered by Division Avenue on the north, South I Street on the west, 6th Avenue on the south and South G Street on the east. The busiest road is Division Street on the north side, which makes that part of the park have quite a bit of traffic noise. However, the noise goes away rapidly after you get fairly deep into the park.
How To Get Here:
The north side of the park has bus service from bus route #11, which goes between Point Defiance Park and downtown Tacoma. The south side of the park has bus route #1, which also goes to downtown Tacoma. However, the theatre district and other features of north downtown Tacoma are nearby, and thus it really isn't that far to walk to many other places.
There are a variety of ways to get there by driving, but if you go north on Yakima it will run directly into the park at what is considered the main entrance from downtown.
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