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The Prairie Line — Tacoma, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Dunbar Loop
N 47° 14.825 W 122° 26.244
10T E 542574 N 5232775
Quick Description: In 1873 the North Pacific chose Tacoma as its western terminus and the Prairie Line rails-to-trails follows the last mile of the railway to the Pacific Ocean. Today this stretch goes through the centre of the University of Washington's Tacoma Campus.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 11/2/2019 7:41:22 AM
Waymark Code: WM11JMT
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Northern Pacific Railroad had already achieved a port on the West Coast of the United States, but this was on the Columbia River at Kalama. Starting in 1871 it began building to a new yet unannounced location on Puget Sound.

The people of Olympia thought it would be their city and a land speculation rush began. But the NP remained quiet until 1873 when it finally got to tidewater on Commencement Bay about a mile south of the settlement at Tacoma.

Quickly a new city sprang up at the railhead and the city was christened New Tacoma. And Tacoma became known as Old Tacoma. Over the years the two communities merged and grew to become the City of Tacoma that we know today.

This route through Tacoma was the main railway and around warehouse buildings were built. By 1914 the line became a secondary line as a new water level line was built along the shoreline around Point Defiance. And industry continued to prosper in the South Hill area, but the rail traffic gradually diminished until this rail line was finally closed in the 1980s.

But Tacoma was in decline in general and the Downtown district became desolate even on weekdays during the midday. Through time the area has returned life to the city streets with many important museums lining Pacific Avenue. The University of Washington took over many of the former warehouse buildings and converted them to educational buildings. And through the middle of the Tacoma campus, they created this walkway called the Prairie Line following the Northern Pacific's final half mile to the saltchuck.

Meanwhile, the former abandoned Prairie Line is now an operating railway again with Sound Transit's commuter rail and, hopefully, Amtrak's Cascadia services and the Coast Starlight passenger trains.
Country: United States

State/Province/etc.: Washington

Trail Start (town): Tacoma

Trail Finish (town): Tacoma

Trail Length: 0

Trail Surface: Paved

Pack Animals Allowed: no

Fees: no

Internet Link(s):

Rail-to-Trail Sign: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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