Tacoma’s War Memorial Park

While on a recent hunt to find new and fantastic ways to take photos of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Olympic Mountains in the distance, I stumbled upon War Memorial Park in Tacoma.

I’d often seen the narrow park and its two flag poles as a slice of it borders Jackson Street, which is the road we use to get onto Highway 16 to head to church in Gig Harbor.

The USS Tacoma was commissioned in 1903, broke up in high seas in 1924 and its bell was salvaged and sent back to Tacoma.

Upon parking, you come upon a structure featuring a large bell which comes from the USS Tacoma, which was commissioned in 1903 and later ran aground and broke up in high seas after serving in World War I. The bell was salvaged and shipped to Tacoma.

After you exit the small structure commemorating the ship, you can get a bit of exercise by taking the paved walking path down the hill toward the bridge. There are monuments to different wars, veterans and POWs spread out along the way, including a large one for the men and women who died in World War I and World War II near the base of giant flag located at the west end of the park.

The Olympic Mountains as seen from War Memorial Park in Tacoma.

The paved trail is part of the Scott Pierson Trail which runs from near Cheney Stadium in Tacoma to War Memorial Park across the Narrows Bridge and into Gig Harbor. It is a five-mile, paved path.

The Prisoner of War and Missing in Action wall.

In War Memorial Park, there is a side trail with a decent vista of the bridge and the mountains beyond, and a dirt path into the bushes with even better views – but there also appeared to be a homeless encampment of some sort up that path, so I figured I’d turn back.

I’m not sure who maintains the park, as it is not listed on the Tacoma Metro Parks, city of Tacoma or Pierce County parks websites. It was dedicated in 1952 and the Tacoma Historical Society is responsible for building the WWI and WWII monuments.

The US flag and the POW flag is reflected in the Pierce County World War II monument.

While this park certainly isn’t a go play frisbee park, it is worth a trip now and again to remember what our veterans have done to help protect our freedoms. And it offers stellar views of the mountains as well, a nice side benefit.

– Craig Craker

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