Table of Contents


NSHD, the first Tacoma Residential Historic District In the beginning there was an idea. This report tells how the idea changed the neighborhood into the largest residential historic district in Washington.
NSHD Street Map The district started on North J St. and grew to include the area indicated in the map.
It started with National Night Out Neighbors got together 24 years ago at National Night Out and decided to save the historic neighborhood.
Keep our "Architectural Bones" Intact Julie Turner talks about NSHD formation, 20 years later.
The people that got the NSHD started North Slope Residents Active in Formation of the Historic District. It was a grass-roots effort.
EIGHTEEN Words Hidden in a section of the Growth Management Planning, the RCW's, are 18 very important words that talk about historic preservation.
FIRST STEPS TOWARDS THE NSHD Looking back 20 years, Bill Johnston tells us what he remembers of the formation of the NSHD.
Denny tells his story. Denny Faker, a long time NSHD neighbor, tells us what he remembers of the formation of the NSHD.
Who Was Valerie Sivinski? Valerie was the Historic Preservation Officier who helped the neighbors form the NSHD.


The Tacoma Register of Historic Places falls under a city ordinance administered by the Landmarks Commission, with guidelines based on those required by the National Park Service for the National Register. The ordinance includes protections for individual properties against exterior alterations that would degrade the structure's historic architectural integrity. The City of Tacoma has documented how it protects our historic neighborhood. A couple of references are:

  • Historic Preservation Office 253-591-5220 reuben.mcknight@cityoftacoma.org.
  • web site www.cityoftacoma.org/HistoricPreservation

Tacoma boasts one of the largest residential historic districts in the country with the North Slope Historic Special Review district, which is listed on the Tacoma (1994, expanded in 1996 and 1999), Washington State, and National Registers of Historic Places (2003).

The North Slope Historic District encompasses more than 950 properties. This district was created in response to an initiative from residents who value the atmosphere these historic homes create in the neighborhood.

The three Tacoma Register Nomination Forms contain a description of the physical appearance and predominant architectural styles found in the neighborhood. The notable architects, those who designed the homes, are listed.

Tacoma Register Nomination Forms:

Why is the NSHD historic? Elizabeth Anderson, a former Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer, answers the question using our history for the answer.
The Original J St Nomination 1995 It all started on North J St. Ordinance No. 25747, August 8, 1995
First Expansion 1997 Added to the district were North I, K, L, and M Streets. Ordinance No. 26144, October 28, 1997
Second Expansion 2000 The last expansion added Sheridan, Cushman, Ainsworth, Grant and other streets. Ordinance No. 26611, April 4, 2000 
Tacoma City Inventory of NSHD homes This inventory lists all of the homes in the NSHD and gives historic status, whether contributing or noncontributing. Updated as of 2/27/19.


Do You Own Property on this Map? Design Guidelines Six pages of information about Design Guidelines for the NSHD.
Tacoma has a 29-page detailed Design Guidelines report The Design Guidelines is a MUST READ if you intend to do work on your property.
Additional benefits for homeowners What NOT SAID in the Design Guidelines is that additional protection accrues to homeowners.
TMC 13.07.060 This TMC explains the overall process on taking a nomination and converting it into an historic district, through Landarks, Planning Commission and City Council.
City Building Permits and Historic Preservation in the NSHD An overview of the permit process in the NSHD.
Landmarks has a Design Review Process A 2-page starting point or quick overview of the Design Guidelines for the NSHD.
Complete TMC 1.42. Landmarks Preservation Commission was established for the protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of objects, sites, structures, buildings, and districts of special historical or cultural significance within the City.
A homeowners report on working with Landmarks Read Marcie's report on building her deck using help from Tacoma's Historic Preservation Officer and Landmarks.

CHAPTER 4 - NATIONAL REGISTER: How it was accomplished.

NSHD is on National Register of Historic Places It is an honor to be listed on the National Register and this report tells how it was done.
The National Register Nomination There are over 600 pages in the complete nomination. It contains historic data about most houses in the NSHD, a description of the neighborhood and the significance of the district.
A address-only version of the National nomination Use this shorter version for checking your address.
Getting the National Nomination approved Roger Johnson tells us the details in this report.
National Register of Historic Places Registration Form Section 7 Description A description of the neighborhood from its beginning to the formation of the NSHD, from 1880 to the NSHD formation in 1995.
National Register of Historic Places Registration Form Section 8 Statement of Significance The significance of the NSHD area related to Tacoma's history.
Is your house Historic Contributing The criteria for being called a Historic property is given along with what it means to be a "Historic Contributing" home.
Significance of a Large Historic District Jennifer Schreck, ex HPO Tacoma, gives us the reasons.
Brick and Stone Pavements to be Added To Historic Register Have you heard that blocks that pave N. 10th and N. 11th arrived here as ship’s ballast? Or perhaps you’ve heard them called “cobblestones “or that they were laid by Chinese laborers before the expulsion in 1888? "None of that’s true", says Marshall McClintock, "but the real story is more fascinating."
Brick and Stone Pavements, the full nomination. Marshall McClintock nominates our brick and cobblestone streets for inclusion on the National Register. NORTH SLOPE HISTORIC DISTRICT (AMENDMENT) – Brick & Stone Pavers. The NPS 10-900 submission document.
Three different Historic Districts in the NSHD Can you name all three and know the difference?

Many photographs were required as part of the nomination to place the NSHD on the National Register of Historic Places. The requirement stated that many had to be in black and white and printed on acid free, archival quality paper. Other photographs were in color.

We were instructed to document what was in the NSHD - - the good, the bad and the ugly. A few pictures were taken of accessory structures and these are included. When known, the dates the photographs were taken are given, but most were taken in Oct. 2002. The photographs were taken by Roger Johnson and Jay Turner.

HISTORIC NSHD PHOTOS All are clickable so you can easily increase the size or zoom in for detail. These photos were taken as part of the requirements of the nomination for the National Register


Correcting the zoning was always a priority of the residents of the NSHD. In the early days we were told by the City that they never change zoning. After 13 years of working with the city we found that they don't change, but they do modify. Thus - - -

It took 13 years to get protective zoning Looking back, read how we obtained our zoning, HMR_SRD
The HMR-SRD zoning code for the NSHD As defined by TMC 13.06.100.B.4 the purpose is to "protect, preserve, and maintain the historic buildings".
Tacoma up-zoning, HMR-SRD could suffer. Marshall McClintock explains proposed up-zone in an article from Historic Tacoma. .
Tacoma zoning summmary. A description of the various zoning codes in Tacoma and a map showing zoning areas.


How the North Slope Historic District Park Began This report tells the reason we have the NSHD park.
FROM DISTRIBUTION YARD TO PLAY YARD Read about the park before it was a park.
North Slope Park will honor essence of Valerie Sivinski Peter Callaghan, of the Tacoma News Tribune, wrote an article about Valerie and our Park.
The North Slope Historic District Park is dedicated to Valerie Sivinski Valerie guided us in establishing an Historic District to protect our homes and to instill neighborhood pride.


Current issue of Trolley Times The current issue can always be found here.
Back issues of Trolley Times The first Trolley Times was published in Nov. 1996. Over 82 have been published.


It's Official - - - NSHD incorporated as a nonprofit Velda McDonald tells about writing the 501(c)(3) for the NSHD.
NSHD Articles of Incorporation .
NSHD ByLaws with Changes Posted .


25 YEAR ANNIVERSARY A 28 page pamphlet highlighting 25 years of NSHD history.
Research Your Home's History An EASY step by step procedure using the internet to find basic information about your home.
Library items available for Home Research New article (4/2017) from the NorthWest Room of the library on how to research the history of your home.
Researching the History of Your Tacoma Property A long load time but worth it if you are serious about research.
In Praise of the Northwest Room Velda McDonald tells us about the great library we have and how to use it.
How Tacoma Became Leaders in Public Power in the PNW Tacoma’s power and water system started in 1893 when the citizens of Tacoma purchased a system started by Charles Wright and General Sprague in 1884.
Historic Design and Timeless Ways How would you describe a comfortable home? Roger Johnson tells us in his words.
Our House on the Home Tour Alias Let's Get Chores Done Fast! Read what Julie Turner says about 1000 people going through her house. Be sure and ask her about the GREEN bathtub!
American Dream Holly Minniti tells about her dream home.
A new NSHD neighbor gets ready for tour Kathryn Cullen, a new owner to the NSHD, has hope,and a hammer and opened her home for the Tacoma Historical Society tour. Then she took time to write about it. Thanks Kathryn!
Shelley's new home in an old house Shelley found the right new house in the NSHD and made it into her new home. Thanks for telling us about it.
A Tale of Two Tours Two owners get ready for HOME TOUR. Read what they did to get ready.
Charm of Yesteryear and a hidden stairway! Marilynn and Mike Sabo buy their "Old World Charm" and describe their experiences of a "fixer".
Painting Your Historic Home According to Marshall McClintock, many North Slope homes built before about 1920 would have had a minimum 3 paint colors and more likely 4-5 colors. Read his article.
TacomaFirst 311 Geogia Daniels tells us how to use the general information phone for Tacoma, 311
Bungalow Heaven, Pasadena as well as the NSHD Read about the similarities between Pasadena's Historic District and the NSHD. In both cities, the common problem was the city itself that did not want to save the historic homes! How do we protect ourselves from poor city government?

Little Free Libraries, display the map and addresses for printing. Fourteen Little Free Libraries in the NSHD and six near by.
North Slope Historic District Celebrates 10th Anniversary on the National Register of Historic Places Jennifer Schreck tells us "Most people cannot deny the intrinsic value of a well preserved historic neighborhood."
Three different Historic Districts in the NSHD Can you name all three and know the difference?
Free TV! and Free MOVIES! The NSHD is ideally located to get get free TV. Several NSHD families have "cut the cable". They are using a small antenna to get FREE TV! You can save money this way this too.
SIDEWALK requirements for the NSHD An article about SIDEWALKS in NSHD including Public Works Standard Plan for NSHD sidewalks.


SIX NATIONAL REGISTER DISTRICTS Six districts, on the map, are on the National Register of Historic Places.
1. Wright Park and Seymour Conservatory Historic District Wright Park and Seymour Conservatory is the first of six national districts around the NSHD to be on the National Register.
2. Stadium-Seminary Historic District Stadium-Seminary Historic District is about 200 acres and the second district on the National.
3. NORTH SLOPE Historic District North Slope Historic District is 228 acres. The NSHD was the third to obtain National status.
4. The Wedge Historic District The Wedge Historic District is the smallest, of the six, residential districts. The application was accepted 12/13/2016 for National Register status.
5. Buckley's Addition Historic District Buckley's Addition is about 118 acres and follows plat map of 1883. It was accepted 12/20/2016 and is now on the National Register.
6. College Park Historic District College Park Historic District is about 120 acres.

Source Material, the COMPLETE NOMINATIONS for the NATIONAL REGISTERS including property listings

Map of 6 historic districts Download your own copy of the map of 6 National Register Historic Districts
Wright Park - Seymour Conservatory Complete Nomination Wright Park - Seymour Conservatory Historic District, complete NPS 10-300 nomination. 3/31/1976
Stadium-Seminary Complete Nomination with property inventory. Stadium-Seminary Historic District, complete NPS 10-300 nomination. 5/2/1977
North Slope Historic District Complete Nomination with property inventory. North Slope Historic District, complete NPS 10-900 nomination. 2/7/2003
Wedge Historic District Complete Nomination with property inventory. Wedge Historic District, accepted 12/13/16, complete NPS 10-300 nomination. 12/13/2016
Buckley's Addition Complete Nomination with property inventory. Buckley's Addition Historic District accepted 12/20/2016, complete NPS 10-900 nomination.
College Park Complete Nomination with property inventory. College Park Historic District accepted 10/10/17 NPS-10-900 nomination.

Chapter 11 - WALKING TOUR

A Walking Tour of the NSHD A Walking Tour of the North Slope Historic District. This project was funded by Historic Tacoma, the North End Neighborhood Council and your very own, North Slope Historic District.

DO IT YOURSELF TOUR - - - The following were taken from from the National Register nomination and published in various issues of the Trolley Times. They are collected here for easy review. Make your own walking tour of these houses starting with houses near where you live.

1224 N I ST. 1. A wealthy widow moved her house by barge from Gig Harbor to the North Slope to be near her daughter, who lived there.
714 N M ST. 2. Oldest house still standing in the NSHD.
Two movie stars in NSHD 1112 N J St and 914 N M St 3.The North Slope has had two Hollywood stars living here during their childhood.
715 N Sheridan 4. 715 North Sheridan was built on the site of land belonging to Job Carr.
1222 N 4th 5. In 1896 Ambrose Russell, one of Tacoma’s formats early architects, designed and built his own residence at 1222 North 4th Street.
1402 N 5th 6. The American Foursquare style house at 1402 North 5th was built in 1903 for Ernest Lister.
1617 Division 7. In 1922 Frank and Helma Alexander built the first condominium in Tacoma, the Gray Gables
RUST MANSION at 1001 North I 8. The William Ross Rust home at 1001 North I was built in 1905 with money from Rust's share of Bernard Baruch’s negotiation fee from the sale of the smelter to the Guggenheims.
K St. Park 9. North Slope Historic District Park was built on an old substation.
903 and 911 N K St. 10. Two houses remain of the 8 built by Lemuul Root.
520 North L St. 11. Carl Darmer, a noted Tacoma architect, built 520 N L St. in 1900.
1501 N 5TH 12. 1501 N. Fifth Street was designed in the Queen Anne Style. and was built in 1905 by Charles A. Bartz, owner of Tacoma Millwork Supply Co.
1417 Division 13. 1417 Division, was built in 1928 for Leonard and Kathryn Kolstad. Mr. Kolstad was a salesman for the Younglove Grocery Company. [An expanded article by Marilynn Sabo]
520 N Cushman 14. Home of Dix H. and Georgina Rowland, H.G. & Dix H. Rowland, attorneys. The house was estimated to cost $3,000 and contained six rooms. The residence was "...finished throughout in slash-grain fir."
1015 N 5th 15. This 1905 home was constructed by the Cornell Brothers Contracting firm of Tacoma. Besides homes, the brothers constructed many prominent buildings in Tacoma, such as the First Presbyterian Church, the Port piers and grain elevators, the Elks Temple and the Stone-Fisher Building.
Frisco Freeze 1201 Division 16. Friscoo Freeze, stop by and get a bite!
824 N K ST. 17. The Dutch Colonial house at 824 N. K St was designed by the prominent Tacoma architecture firm of Bullard and Hayward, circa 1893. It was the home of Charles and Nellie Drury.
1012 N 9th ST. 18. One of only two remaining houses known to be designed by Katherine Lockwood Squire, architect for the Tacoma Building Association. Squire was Washington's first professional female architect and designed more than two-dozen buildings in Tacoma.
923 N M ST. 19. Givin G. Hicks house. His grandfather having been among the first settlers to arrive in what was then Oregon Territory – before the days of Washington Territory or State.
912 N L ST. 20. Home of Leonard J. Brown and his wife Myrtle Soul. Leonard was President and Manager of Tacoma Engraving Co. Brown was a native of Washington Territory being born just south of Olympia. Leonard came to Tacoma in the early 1890's to attend Puget Sound College.
1721 N Steele 21. Home of William W. Glenn and his wife Ethyl. William was the Office Manager of of Sperry Flour Mills and the Centennial Flour Mills for 27 years. At one time, Sperry Flour Co. was the largest milling organization in the West. Mr. Glenn was a leader in Tacoma’s Boy Scout movement, serving as Scoutmaster of Troop No. 1 for over 30 years. He went on to act as district Commissioner for the scouts and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, as well as the American Legion’s Meritorious Service Award for his activities in support of the Boy Scouts.
1115 North 11th 22. Robert O. Duff and his wife, Rosa, lived in a house built by Robert in 1902. Duff and his partner, Alexander M. Bain, created many dwellings within what is now the North Slope Historic District. They acted as both architect and contractor for these projects. As a side note, the home is currently under renovation by R4 Construction. The contractor told me that the owner informed him that there is an old, disused bomb shelter with a basement entrance in the home.
Women in the early NSHD 23. Women in the NSHD had many roles documented in the NSHD National Register Archives. Four of them are highlighted here.
417 N Sheridan 24. A printer moved to Tacoma because of a promotional letter by Allen Mason.