If you’re not from around here, you might not have heard about University Place. But you probably have heard about Tacoma. Here’s a few reasons why.
Ivan: A gorilla kept for years at the B&I Shopping Center in Lakewood, near Tacoma. He was later moved to Zoo Atlanta.
Harold LeMay: Known before his death to Guinness World Records as the owner of the world’s largest private collection of automobiles. He is now immortalized in Tacoma with The LeMay — America’s Car Museum.
Dr. Gordon Klatt: Tacoma surgeon who, three decades ago, walked alone for 24 hours around the University of Puget Sound track to raise money for the American Cancer Society. That effort led to the Relay For Life, a worldwide fundraising effort that has raised billions of dollars for cancer research.
Ted Bundy: Serial killer born and raised in Tacoma; died in a Florida gas chamber.
Bing Crosby: Born here; moved to Spokane.
Tugboat Annie: Movie heroine fashioned after Tacoma’s tugboat pioneer, Thea Foss.
Narrows Bridge(s): The first one blew down (there’s some pretty famous film of it twisting in the wind) and a replacement was built. A second bridge was later added.
Almond Roca: Brown & Haley makes it daily in Tacoma. (Incidentally, Frank Mars founded the candymaker Mars in Tacoma in 1911 with butter cream. Having gone broke, he later moved elsewhere.)
Weyerhaeuser: The timber giant was born in Tacoma and later moved to Federal Way and converted to a REIT.
The Sonics, The Fabulous Wailers, the Ventures: Garage rock began in Tacoma long before Kurt Cobain, who was born in nearby Aberdeen, played here.
Tacoma claims golfing great Ken Still and bowler extraordinaire Earl Anthony. Richard Brautigan (author), Dale Chihuly (glass artist), Frank Herbert (“Dune”), Pappy Boyington (World War II Marine Corps ace fighter pilot), Gary Larson (“Far Side” cartoonist), Ron Cey (baseball great), Sugar Ray Seales (1972 Olympic Gold Medal boxer): All were either born here or raised here.
John Ehrlichman (Watergate felon), Yaphet Koto (actor), Linda Evans (actor), Darrin McGavin (actor), all lived here. Adam West (Batman) attended the University of Puget Sound. Irv Robbins (Baskin & Robbins) started his career in ice cream downtown.
Frank Stojack, former Pierce County Sheriff and member of the Tacoma City Council, as a professional wrestler he invented the airplane spin.