Special Reports

Was the park for sale?

In 1921, the War Department alarmed Tacomans by announcing a plan to sell Point Defiance Park, Vashon Island and other property considered surplus.

Officials speculated that it was a bureaucratic mix-up.

“The war department must have slipped a cog,” Mayor Crocker Riddell told The Tacoma Times.

But the paper’s editorial board didn’t laugh it off, suggesting that darker motives couldn’t be ruled out.

“Either Secretary of War (John) Weeks has blundered. Or the War Department is actually, seriously planning to sell Tacoma’s great park,” the paper said in a front-page editorial. “Maybe – just maybe, of course – there are influences in the national capital that want to put over a big steal.”

History suggests it was just a mistake.

The park wasn’t sold, of course, and it appears there was no more discussion beyond the initial announcement.