“How will we know it’s us without our past?” — John Steinbeck


The North Slope Historic District, Inc. is a neighborhood group, open to property owners and residents within the boundaries of the City-designated North Slope Historic District. The purposes of the organization are:

A. Preserve the District’s history.

B. Promote Community welfare and neighborhood interaction.

C. (Enhance) Community development, maintenance, and beautification.

The group has a Board of Directors, who direct programs and activities designed to be of educational, informational and social interest to the neighborhood. Browse our website to find articles about the history, activities, relationship with Tacoma’s Landmarks Commission, as well as program topics coming up.

Holiday Gathering for NSHD November Program

Thursday November 15th at Immanuel Presbyterian, 901 N J St
Basement Meeting Room, Entrance on North 9th

Coffee Hour at 6:30, Meeting at 7:00pm;

Deb Freeman’s Presentation at 7:15pm

The Holidays are right around the corner and there is no better way to get your “Holiday Groove” on than by attending the North Slope Historic District Holiday Gathering November 15th at Immanuel Presbyterian Church.

The board of Directors will be hosting this event, showcasing their Holiday Appetizers and Desserts. Deb Freeman, on the Board of Tacoma Historical Society, will test your knowledge of Tacoma history with an audience participation game about Tacoma in 1918, along the lines of “Trivial Pursuit.”

If you would like to join a NSHD, Inc. committee that helps make our group work, you will have the opportunity that night to speak with the Chair of the available committees to gather more information.


By Roger Johnson

The North Slope Historic District is rich with classic architecture from the early years of Tacoma’s infancy. Trees line the narrow streets first designed for horse and buggy and narrow trolleys. Beneath the pavement are the original utilities, installed shortly after the turn of the century. Water, sewer, storm drains and industrial gas pipes all reside under the surface. The industrial gas was produced by a coal distillation plant located on the Foss waterway. The coal gas provided fuel for gas lights, cooking and heat. The gas plant closed when natural gas became available and proved to be cleaner and cheaper. The water lines, sewer lines and storm drains, however, are still in use.


Tacoma's North Slope Historic District is a trapezoidal-shaped district bounded by North I Street to the north, Division Avenue to the east, and N Steele Street to the west. North Grant Avenue caps off the south end of the district. The North Slope has 1,285 resources and is one of the state's largest historic districts.

The District was settled primarily as a residential neighborhood and contains a wide variety of architectural styles including Stick Style, Queen Anne, Craftsman, American Foursquare,Tudor Revival, and Mission Revival. Within it you will find many churches, apartments, and a few business areas.

The neighborhood developed over time and it is common to find structures built structures built 20, 30 or even 50 years later.

There were three building booms within the district: 1888 to 1893, 1902 to 1915, and 1919 to 1929. Nearly 80 percent of the homes were built prior to 1930.

Tacoma's North Slope Historic District is a cohesive neighborhood that represents the social and economic history of Tacoma. The district represents a cross culture of individuals - both famous and ordinary - whose skills and talents played a role in the development and growth of the city. The early residents included professionals, trades people, business proprietors, railroad employees, and celebrities - all living in a close-knit neighborhood.

The district embodies the distinctive characteristics of residential development in Tacoma. Many of these dwellings represent the work of master craftsmen and architects. The period of significance for the district runs from 1881 to 1955. In 1955, the City of Tacoma changed zoning laws that allowed some of the neighborhood's older homes to be demolished and replaced by apartment buildings.

Residents of the North Slope Historic District are united by more than their affinity for old homes. The district's board is made up of residents who are dedicated to the betterment of our neighborhood. Board members discuss and take action on issues pertaining to safety, zoning, historic preservation and more. Each year the board plans a variety of educational and social activities for residents.