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Jack - Tacoma’s most famous downtown bear

Tacoma’s other, more famous, downtown bear was named Jack.

He lived the good life – for a while – as a resident of the Tacoma Hotel, built in 1884. The Tacoma occupied an entire block of A Street between South Ninth and 10th streets, until it burned down in 1935.

On some occasions, guests could find the 800-pound brown bear standing at the bar of the grand hotel and drinking a beer.

The captivity of Jack the Bear began after two hunters killed his mother but didn't have the heart to shoot Jack and his twin sister, Jennie. The hunters brought the cubs home and raised them as pets.

No one knows what happened to Jennie, but as Jack grew, he was sold to the Tacoma Hotel, where he was a star attraction in the 1880s.

One night Jack slipped out of his pen and startled a policeman who shot and killed him.

The beloved bear was stuffed and placed in the hotel, where he greeted guests outside the dining room for years before he was obtained by the Washington State History Museum.

In 1958, the museum removed the stuffed bear from its collection and gave it away, ending his public history.

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