Clock Tower Tacoma, WA
The Old City Hall in Tacoma, Washington was once the city hall and is a five-story building that reflects the Italian Villa style. The building’s southeast corner features a ten-story clocktower facing the intersection of Pacific Avenue and S 7th Street. The structure’s foundation is made of local Wilkeson stone, while its walls are eight feet thick at the base, tapering to six feet at street level, and are covered with a façade of red brick faced with yellow Roman brick. The tower is a freestanding masonry structure that features a clock on each face and a set of four bells, weighing 8,000 pounds, cast by the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, the same company that cast the Liberty Bell.
The building’s design includes masonry bearing walls combined with numerous windows, with the second and third floor windows being of equal size, the fourth floor windows arched at the top, and the fifth floor windows smaller and narrower. The building is a trapezoid in plan, and small round windows appear below the corner line, while three large round windows occur below the corner on the tower. Terra cotta decorations embellish the tower and areas of the entablature.
The Old City Hall’s construction was completed on April 23, 1893, at a cost of $257,965 and was used as the city hall until 1957. The building reflects the ebullience of spirit that characterized the city of Tacoma in the late 19th century, combining a romantic feeling for the spirit of fifteenth-century Florence with the mercantile spirit of nineteenth-century America. Businessmen from the Midwest brought this culture to Tacoma, which acted as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad.