Category Archives: Tacoma Parks

Walking In The Park On Wednesdays #3: Alling Park

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Which Park?  Alling Park

Who Or What Is It Named After? Frank Alling

Where Is It? 1134 South 60th Street, Tacoma WA, 98408

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Child Area? Yes

Bathroom? No

Amenities? Tennis Court

Overview:

In early 1912, a man named Frank Alling visited the mayor of Tacoma, W.W. Seymour. Frank was well known in the community. He had created a bird sanctuary on Fox Island. He had a fruit stand that was literally world famous with his being the first Washington Apples to be shipped to Asia. His wife had died four years before this meeting and at the age of 73 he knew he did not have long left. He had no children and no other family. He told W.W. Seymour that upon his death he wanted to donate the land he owned near Wapato Lake to the city to make a park where children could play. He wanted that park named Frank Alling Park and he wanted to be buried in that park. Frank died later that year. His wishes were granted. His ashes are buried near a Lombardy poplar tree at the park that he planted.

Established in 1912 Alling Park is among the oldest parks in the city. At just under six acres it is not a large park. It has a small play area for children with big toy and a swing set. (Unfortunately no one has let me borrow their six-year-old to determine the quality of these play areas and my own 19-year-old son is useless in this particular endeavor.)

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The rest of the park is mostly a giant sloped field surrounded by a gravel path. When my girlfriend and I visited the park, there was a man walking his dog, Ruby through the lap around the park. There are few trees, but each of them is different and some are very old.

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In the opposite corner from the playground you’ll find a tennis court. The net appeared to be in good shape which was a bit surprising because to be honest the park gives off a bit of a vibe of being neglected though I cannot point to anything in particular that made me feel this way.

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It is nice to see that over a hundred years after his death, Frank Alling’s wishes are still being respected.

Next: Baltimore Park

 

Walking in the Park On Wednesday #2: Alderwood Park

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Which Park?  Alderwood Park

Who Or What Is It Named After? As far as I can tell, Alder, a kind of wood.

Where Is It? 208 Brown’s Point Blvd. Road,  Tacoma, WA 98422

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Child Area? Yes

Bathroom? No, but the Library next door has one.

Amenities? Picnic Tables, Benches, Covered Area, Trails.

Overview:

It’s easy to forget that Northeast Tacoma is even part of Tacoma. Situated just across Commencement Bay, many if not most people look over there not even realizing it is still part of Tacoma. For the second park in this ongoing series we went to Alderwood Park.

At first it appears to be just a small park with a play area for the kids located right next door to Mary Rose Kobetich Library. This makes it a perfect place to take kids if you’re in the neighborhood. The play area is substantial, but this park has much more to offer.

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The majority of the nearly 7 acre park is full of wooded trail that wind all around it. These are easy to follow trails that take minimal effort. In many ways it reminds me of a tiny version of the trails in Pt. Defiance Park.

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Alderwood Park was created in 1980 but there were significant improvements made around 2010. While some of those improvements remain, the Wildflower Garden is now truly wild.

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Lastly, just beyond the play area you’ll find a small grass field big enough to play Frisbee but not big enough for soccer. As parks go, Alderwood Park has a little bit of everything. With the library right next door, this is easily one of my favorite places in Northeast Tacoma.

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Photos and Content by Jack Cameron

Next Week: Alling Park

 

Walking In The Park On Wednesday #1: 21st Street Park

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Which Park?  21st Street Park

Who Or What Is It Named After? It is named after S. 21st Street. If Highway 509 did not start directly after you cross Pacific Avenue heading out of town,21st Street would lead to this park.

Where Is It?  2101 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA 98402

Amenities? Bathrooms

Overview: There are over sixty parks in the city of Tacoma. I have decided to visit all of them and write about them here on TacomaStories.com. For the most part, I will be visiting a park once a week and going through an alphabetical list.

First up is one of Tacoma’s newest parks. 21st Street Park was created as part of the recent efforts to revitalize Tacoma’s waterfront. It was created by Tacoma’s Metro Parks, designed by firm AHBL, and is maintained by the Foss Waterway Owner’s Association, the owners of the nearby building full of condos, The Henry. AHBL used century-old lumber in constructing an arbor covering in the center of the park as an effort to commemorate the old mills that used to dot Tacoma’s waterfront.

This is one of those parks where if you blink, you’ll miss it. Just past the glass museum and partially under the Highway 509 overpass, you’ll see a parking lot splitting two grassy areas. You’ve arrived at 21st Street Park. As you pull in, on your left side you’ll see a sizable grass area perfect for playing fetch with the dog, playing Frisbee or just sitting on the grass.

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On your right you’ll find public restrooms, another grassy area and an arbor. The long flat stones in the small field are good for sitting on (or climbing if you’re a small child). They are similar to stones used in the nearby Chinese Reconciliation Park. This sort of symmetry is a nice touch.

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The park is bordered by Dock Street on one side and a sidewalk on the other. There are a few benches for those who don’t want to sit on the stones. There is a small perhaps unintentional trail to the nearby water. You’ll also notice the near constant sound of trains going by as the tracks are just on the other side of Dock Street.

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The small amount of space 21st Street takes up is well used. It isn’t a good park for exploring, but if you’re looking for a piece of nature right by Downtown Tacoma, it’s a good spot.

Next Week: Alderwood Park

– Jack Cameron