The Tacoma Sun


Half Moon Yard

By Morgan Alexander

Half Moon Yard 1931

What would you do with a former railyard near the core downtown?

Over the past few decades, Half Moon Yard has been used less and less. I’m not sure why, I’m not a train guy. But I have heard rumors indicating that Burlington Northern, owner of the property, is considering selling it. It’s an interesting chunk of land, I’m not sure how you would access it if it were developed: an active freight line on one side, Schuster Parkway on the other. Still, I bet the views would be great!

Half Moon Yard through the Years –

Half Moon Yard, 2005:


Half Mood Yard, 1990:

half moon yard 1990

Half Moon Yard, 1951:


Half Moon Yard, 1931:

Half Moon Yard 1931

published December 4th, 2007

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jen // Dec 4, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Hmmmm… future home of the Seattle Center fun forest?

  • 2 Erik B. // Dec 5, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Great photos. Wow.

    A dead zone separated by a cliff.

    I would put in mixes use buildings with retail that related to the waterway. A cool public plaza separated by restaurants and other activities would be nice too.

  • 3 drizell // Jan 22, 2008 at 11:48 am

    A creative developer could make accessible to pedestrians from Stadium Way, but it would have to involve a skybridge of some sort. The building would kind of be cut off from the water–they would have to building some kind of walkway over the mainline tracks to access it.

    I say it’s possible, but the developers would have to be pretty creative to get it to work. The access issues would probably be the most challenging.

  • 4 broadweezy // Jan 22, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Does anyone know why it is called the Half Moon Yard?

  • 5 Dave // Jan 23, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Here’s an idea… how about a ‘hands on’ railroad museum?

    Let’s bring in some old locomotives and rolling stock, and let tourists pay to drive them and play train engineer.

    … just a thought.

  • 6 rock rabbit // Jan 23, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Isn’t there some LID proposal in the works for Stadium Way above Half Moon yard? Maybe redevelopment of Half Moon yard could be incorporated into that.

  • 7 The Gulag // Mar 24, 2008 at 1:55 am

    What’s to say it’s a former yard? BNSF brings in about 1 to 2 trains in there a day. True however that most of the yard has been torn up, mainly because of efficiency and consolidation in its grain transport business with the waterfront grain tower, and the discontinuation of Prairie line traffic through downtown, via the Pacific Ave. crossing.

    Given that this yard was the first thing built in “New Tacoma,” that it used to be the main yard terminus\facility for the Northern Pacific (the second and last land grant transcontinental railroad) I love Dave’s idea for a rail museum! I would incorporate it into what SHOULD be the other HALF of the Working Waterfront Museum.

    As for the name Half Moon, just look at its shape. This space used to be called Half Moon Bay until the N.P. Railway filled it in shortly after its 1873 arrival into what became downtown Tacoma. The former N.P. headquarters building (One Pacific building) was constructed on the bluff as it is so the Railway Heads could lord over their creation below.

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