In this series, the Sun explores the city from a thousand feet up. Drawing inspiration from a combination of the cheesy public television “Over..” series and Paul Dorpat’s Now & Then column in the Seattle Times, and using the newly added Aerial Photography layer of the City of Tacoma’s govME mapping website, we take a look at a few different landmarks and neighborhoods to see how land use decisions have impacted our built environment.
This week: Wapato Lake
In this 1931 photo we see a fair amount of development to the east of the lake. Meanwhile, the western side still looks to be mostly rural.
In this 1950 photo, a main entrance to the park has been added on the eastern side (notice the roundabout). A couple of bridges have been placed across the lake by this time. Also note the extension of major arterials to the area replacing dirt roads and paths.
The difference seen in this 1973 photo is striking compared with just 23 years prior. The eastern grid is nearly fully built out and the western side has become more developed as well. Post WWII suburban developments are crowding the north end of the lake while I-5 has chopped its way through connecting with a widened 72nd Street.
This 1990 shot shows a continued filling in of the grid, but also a commercial strip development has sprung up adjacent to the lake on the western side.
And finally a color photo taken in 2006. Note how the size of the lake appears to be shrinking compared with earlier photos.