Save our residential history; regret only goes one way!

DESIGN GUIDELINES PROMOTE ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY

Historic homes that are located in the North Slope Historic District or the Wedge Historic District are granted special protection from inappropriate architectural changes because they are on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. The National Register gives honor to the homes in its historic districts, but it takes being on the Tacoma Register to get protection.

Protection from what, you may ask? Old historic homes that are located in the North Slope Historic District or the Wedge Historic District have special protection from inappropriate architectural changes; all changes made to these homes must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This group of expert volunteers oversees changes made to structures on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places, and approves changes to the structures.

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GOOD THINGS NOT SAID IN THE DESIGN GUIDELINES

In the Nov. 2017 “Trolley” our Landmarks Commission Ex Officio member, Marshall McClintock, wrote about how the Design Guidelines for NSHD and the Wedge promote architectural integrity to enhance our neighborhood. The Design Guidelines are explained in the column to the left.

Now, some things not said in the Design Guidelines help our neighborhood, too. What not said is that additional protection accrues to NSHD homeowners, over time. The following reasons, implied but not spelled out in the Design Guidelines, are very evident to those who have lived in the NSHD and Wedge Historic Districts for any length of time.

1. By keeping historic homes’ architecture true to the original design, a certain “pride of ownership” takes place; homeowners not only like the house they live in, they love their historic neighborhood. They realize that to have an historic district endure, owners must help by willingly following the “Design Guidelines.” thus creating protection via owner diligence.

2. The integrity of the historic district is kept true, maybe even be improved, as historic homes are fixed up and maintained as close as possible to their original architecture. Outsiders who come into the neighborhood to do work find out that they, too, must follow the guidelines.

3. In short, if you can’t tear it down, you can’t build a non-historic house! Nothing of non-historic character can be built by tearing down a contributing structure, because demolition is not permitted, except by Landmarks, per the NSHD Design Guidelines. This preserves all the historic properties, along with the entire historic neighborhood.

PURPOSE OF NSHD, INC.

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.

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.