Old City Hall Tacoma Tacoma, WA

Old City Hall Tacoma

Old City Hall, a magnificent Italianesque style building in Tacoma, was constructed in 1893 during the depression era. The building, designed by Edward Hatherton and Colin McIntosh, cost $257,965 to build and was completed on April 23 of that year. Although a clock and bell tower were initially planned, the funds were unavailable from the beginning, and the city sought a benefactor.

Old City Hall served as the Tacoma city government headquarters for 64 years until 1957, housing the Tacoma Public Library, attorneys, and the city jail. The building survived through many eras, from the turn of the 20th century to the Great Depression and both World Wars, and covered an area of 80,000 square feet.

After the Tacoma city government left the building in 1957, OCH’s maintenance was neglected, and the landmark faced the threat of demolition. However, the Delphinium Gardening Club saved the building, and it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1974.

In the late 1970s to the 1990s, OCH was revitalized through modernization efforts and became home to approximately 40 local businesses, including Mama Limone’s, a beloved Italian restaurant among Tacomans.

Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis forced the last tenant to vacate the building, and it was abandoned after some small improvements were made by the owners.

Visit another Tacoma, WA Landmark: Clock Tower