The Tacoma Sun

LIGHT FOR ALL
 

Tacoma Moment of Zen: 1502 Pacific Ave

By Morgan Alexander

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come. Or how far gone Tacoma was. Thankfully, Stephen Cysewski captured Tacoma at the lowest of lows on 35mm film for posterity. We’ll be featuring one of his images periodically to keep us in Zen. Here’s one to reflect on, as you head over to Pacific Grill for dinner.

From: Wandering in Tacoma

published February 22nd, 2008

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RR Anderson // Feb 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

    great bananas

  • 2 Andrew // Feb 22, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Amazing.

    Looking forward to seeing more.

    How about a before and after pic?

  • 3 Morgan Alexander // Feb 22, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I thought the folks over at Tacoma Then and Now (http://tacomathenandnow.org/)were working on that. Anyone heard from those guys?

  • 4 Andrew // Feb 22, 2008 at 11:39 am

    unbelievable

  • 5 Erik Bjornson // Feb 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Thankfully, Stephen Cysewski captured Tacoma at the lowest of lows on 35mm film for posterity. We’ll be featuring one of his images periodically to keep us in Zen. Here’s one to reflect on as you head over to Pacific Grill for dinner.

    Cysewski’s photo series is amazing. Downtown was almost abandoned in its entirety. Even the dive bars were empty. From what I hear, 1979 was about the low point.

  • 6 Mofo from the Hood // Feb 22, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    That photo is almost too funny. That’s the bus stop from where my two classmates Paul Williams and Mike White and I waited every morning to catch a ride up Pac Ave to Stewart Junior High back in ’69-’70.

  • 7 Erik B. // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:52 am

    That’s the bus stop from where my two classmates Paul Williams and Mike White and I waited every morning to catch a ride up Pac Ave to Stewart Junior High back in ‘69-’70.

    Interesting. Thanks for the memories.

    In your opinion Mofo, what year was downtown Tacoma most desolate? When do you think it hit its low point?

  • 8 tressie // Feb 23, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    See right there is The Attitude……—>Thankfully, Stephen Cysewski captured Tacoma at the lowest of lows on 35mm film for posterity. <—-
    Lowest of lows?
    Do you not realize people lived here?
    Obviously, they musta liked it somewhat…..or else they’da fixed it up. And they did. Homegrown Tacomans.
    But no, that wasn’t Tacoma at it’s most unkempt. Norton Clapp has a lot to answer for.

  • 9 Mofo from the Hood // Feb 23, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    E.B.: “From what I hear1979 was about the low point [most desolate].” “In your opinion Mofo, what year[?]…”

    I worked downtown from 1976-82 in what is now the Matador Restaurant Building. In 1979 I was a 23 year old journeyman printer-top of the union wage scale-college educated, bachelor apartment, 3 cars, 2 motorcycles, (Jack Daniels, women and song).

    Cysewski’s photos don’t reveal much about the local population and social structures of the time. Many people then as now were very concerned about Tacoma’s architecture.

    But for a lot of people then as now, who were quite well-off financially, the condition of downtown was just something that would eventually change and hopefully for the better.

    I really appreciate the advent of personal computers and especially blogging. I think this innovation has made Tacoma a lot more interesting for people like me who want to seek out ideas and possibly contribute to the community in an informed manner.

    In 1979 people weren’t any less sophisticated in terms of problem solving and resolution.

    Now there’s just a whole lot more of information and opinions from which to formulate propositions. For bad or good.

  • 10 Erik B. // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I really appreciate the advent of personal computers and especially blogging. I think this innovation has made Tacoma a lot more interesting for people like me who want to seek out ideas and possibly contribute to the community in an informed manner.

    The issue of the effect of the blog world on Tacoma is often a topic of discussion with a endless supply of opinions.

    I am hopeful it is a good thing. It certainly has brought alot more transparancy to city government.

    Certainly bizzare proposals like the brick wall in front of the bridge of glass get alot more attention sooner. Yet, the long term effect on the health of the city will have to be seen.

  • 11 Mofo from the Hood // Feb 24, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    RE: The effect of the blog world on Tacoma and the brick wall protest.

    Right. I believe you’re referring to an incident that I’m familiar with having read it (unknown to you) on your Tacoma Urbanist blog dated 1/19/08. There is an absurd photo posted of a proposed brick wall near the Washington history museum—an electronic protest of sorts by RR Anderson. Anderson’s montage was amusing, and maybe it helped to sway public opinion—I’m guessing that was his motivation.

    Some images do have the power to transcend words. But Anderson’s images just like Cysewski’s require interpretation when they’re used to frame an agenda.

    I know that you post photo’s regularly, and whether the image is a idealized neighborhood or a cup of coffee, the addition of one word or several can alter the purpose of the image.

    I don’t think the practice of shaping public opinion has changed much since 1979. The scale of the effort has certainly increased, maybe because of easy access to computers and the internet.

  • 12 Jimmy B // Nov 29, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    This building was at one time owned by my parents. We used to watch the Daffodil parade every spring from a room just above where the Pacific Grill now occupies. It always was a fun filled day. The new owner has done a superb job of bring new life into the building. Thanks

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