"War Memorial Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Tacoma Off The Beaten Path Tip by glabah
Tacoma Off The Beaten Path: 56 reviews and 237 photos
Tacoma seems to be very skilled at making do with what resources it has, and its War Memorial Park is no exception. This park has been set aside as a "living memorial" (as opposed to, say, a paved plaza or other "dead" memorial as you will find in many other places). Thus, colorful plant life is a prominant feature here, though there are paved walkways through the memorial.
The original park was built in 1952, but when the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge was to be built, War Memorial Park stood in the way of the widened road. It was moved to the current site as part of the construction process, but many of the memorials in the park were originally placed in the old War Memorial Park of 1952. The dedication ceremony for War Memorial Park, in its new location, was May 13, 2006.
The park's location appears to have started life as the original roadway leading to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It is a nice, gradual, sloping curve between the intersection of Skyline Drive and N 6th Avenue and the interchange between N Jackson Avenue and the last exit of Highway 16 before it crosses the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Tacoma has done very well in converting what appears would have become an otherwise unused piece of land into an attractive memorial to those who lost their lives in defense of their country during World War II. It has also done quite good at making the park appear to have been planned from the start to be at this location, rather than have been relocated from its original spot.
From the 6th and Skyline area, it is not easy to see the park, as the park and ride lot that has been build at the top side of that intersection obscures the visibility of the park from the top of the hill. However, continue down the hill through the park and ride lot, and eventually you will reach a small sheltered memorial, which is the start of the park. This sheltered memorial features a little bit of history about the park, plus some information about those it honors, and a ship's bell.
As you continue down the hill, there are smaller memorials on each side of the flattened graded way, with a small paved walkway on each side of this large smooth way. Some of these smaller memorials are for specific ships that had special ties to Tacoma and the surrounding area, or other such special connections to Tacoma.
Beyond these, on the edges of the cut, there are dense trees that provide a separation from the surrounding city and provide yet more life to the "living memorial".
At the bottom of the sloping graded way the graded way becomes much wider, and there is a flag pole, a general monument stone, and several layers of flower beds. On the east side, there are wild Pacific Northwest native roses, which bloom for a very long season (yes, there were fair number of blooms even in September), while the main part of the memorial appears to be planted in flowers that give the patriotic red, white and blue near the base of the flag pole.
The last distance between the last row of flowers and the huge, busy interchange of Jackson and Highway 16 is open and relatively wild grass, which creates somewhat of a barrier between what should be a peaceful place of contemplation and the busyness of the highway traffic.
How to Get Here: Highway 16 to the Jackson Street Exit (the last exit west before the Tacoma Narrows Bridge), then south to 6ht Avenue, and east to Skyline Drive. The bus stop at the park and ride lot at the top of the hill above the park is served by Pierce Transit bus routes 100 (the local that crosses the Tacoma Narrows Bridge) and 601 (an express across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge) and SoundTransit express bus 595. Several other bus routes, including the frequently operating Pierce Transit route 1, are reasonably close as well.
Web Site: The park is owned and operated by the City of Tacoma, not Metro Parks Tacoma, but I've not been able to find any information about this park on their web site.
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