Special Reports

Not even Depression, war can stop good times

Despite the Depression and war, Point Defiance continued to evolve.

Crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration went to work in the park, creating many of its lasting features. Among their handiwork: the Owen Beach bathhouse, picnic shelters and numerous infrastructure improvements.

With the help of relief agencies, Tacoma’s Young Men’s Business Club spearheaded efforts to move remaining Fort Nisqually buildings from DuPont and re-create the Hudson’s Bay trading post at the point.

Residents seeking diversion could choose from old favorites and new offerings.

Families flocked to the Funland amusement park to ride the Merry Mixup, Tilt-a-Whirl and miniature train.

Explorers could rent a horse from the Point Defiance Riding Academy and get lost on the forest trails.

The growing number of drivers could take a spin on Five Mile Drive, which had been vastly improved by relief workers.

And children could discover undersea wonders and delight at Dub Dub the seal at the waterfront’s new aquarium.

Endless special events – such as dance contests, fishing derbies and water carnivals – brought out thousands of area residents.

Amid the fun, World War II cast its shadow on the park. An Air Corps rescue crew set up on the waterfront, while Fort Lewis troops trained on the shores.