From beer to baseball: (left) a history of local brews by Brian Hutcheson; (right) Maggie Roberts’ tribute to local legend Stan Naccarato. Photos: Spaceworks
Tacomans take a granular interest in both the home-bred heroes and noir side of their city’s character. From legendary sports promoter “Stan the Man” Naccarato to famously feckless racketeers; from Galloping Gertie to a beer-guzzling bear, we honor (or at least own) our history. So, it seemed entirely appropriate that the 13th Annual Wayzgoose Festival, entitled (Un)Lucky Tacoma: Wayzgoose 13, should call attention to famous figures and high-and-low achievements from the city’s past.
Wayzgoose is Tacoma’s annual community letterpress and book arts extravaganza co-organized by artist Jessica Spring and King’s Books owner, Sweet Pea Flaherty. For this event, hundreds of citizens are persuaded to turn off their computers and come down to King’s Books where they can experience the joy of looking at hand-printed art and reading broadsides on thick, creamy paper. Local printers put out their wares, allowing visitors to print their own keepsakes, make paper and bind books. The highlight of the weekend is steamroller printing, where local artists carve 3 x 3 foot squares of linoleum and print on giant sheets of paper. George Orwell would be proud.
An exhibit of (Un)Lucky Tacoma steamroll prints is now on display in the Woolworth Windows at South 11th & Commerce St. Test your wits on the random sampling below and guess what stories from local history they depict – it’s like a game of Trivial Pursuit, Tacoma edition.
- (Previous page, above left) Like so many great Tacoma experiences, this one begins with a beer. Brian Hutcheson celebrates our local “champagne of beverages”, from old-school Heidelberg to newcomer microbrew, 7 Seas.
- (Previous page, above right) All hail Stan Naccarato (pictured) who engineered the rescue of the Tacoma Rainiers and Triple A baseball for Tacoma, in 1971. Artwork by Maggie Roberts.
- (Above) The sinking of the Andelena by Carrie Foster. Jessica Spring explained: The four-masted sailing ship Andelena sailed from Shanghai for Tacoma in ballast in January, 1899. In Tacoma, she discharged her ballast preparatory to taking on board cargo bound for England. The next morning, the Andelena was not lying at her moorings; two tugs were employed to drag the harbour and found the hull in about 30 fathoms of water. A diver was dispatched and reported that the vessel could be raised. During a second dive, his gear proved faulty and he lost his life. Altogether 20 men were drowned. The Andelena was not raised.
- “Tacoma Ties” by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary. This artwork “relates to the unlucky ‘Tacoma method’ whereby we expelled our Chinese population,” in 1885, explains Spring. The heinous “method” involved local men rounding up the population of approximately 200 Chinese laborers and families, driving them out of the city, and destroying their waterfront settlement. “The Chinese lucky knot encircles four words: reconciliation, honor, flourish and prosper,” that point toward a more positive future, she says. The border is composed of actual nautical knots.
- “Typephoon” by art students at Pacific Lutheran University led by printmaking instructor, Mare Blocker. This artwork references a literal artistic windfall – the awarding to PLU of the Thorniley Collection of Antique Type from West Coast Paper. Combined with artifacts from Elliott Press, the Thorniley collection makes PLU’s gallery of printing equipment the largest in the Pacific Northwest.
- “Reconciliation” by Katie Dean. “I really love talking about this one because it was a real magical process for me,” says Dean. “This was definitely one of those projects where it seemed like there was another force influencing the image.” In “Reconciliation” two stories emerge, one about Native American culture and the other about Chinese-American history. “As I thought more about ‘reconciliation’ it seemed like a perfect pairing of the two cultural stories” of people seeking their voices.
- A view of Stadium High School taking on water by Stadium HS students. In 2015, the century-old, chateau-like jewel of the Stadium District made national news when a violent downpour dumped .42 inches of rain in the space of 10 minutes, turning the football field into a lake. Ultimately, the storm overwhelmed the school’s drainage system resulting in severe flooding. For those present, the onslaught of water must have felt much like the tsunami, above.
8. “The Tacoma Hotel” by C.L.A.W. (Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians) led by Anique Zimmer. Built in 1884, the storied Tacoma Hotel was designed by New York architect Stanford White, and located at the western terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was known as the finest hotel north of San Francisco, with guests including Rudyard Kipling (who wrote about Tacoma) and Mark Twain. The city’s now-controversial totem pole once stood on its grounds, and it was home to Jack the Bear, a pet black bear who gained national celebrity for learning to drink from a beer mug with his front paws (sadly, he escaped from his pen one day and wandered downtown where he was shot by a startled policeman). The hotel burned down in 1935 from a fire that started in the basement.
Click here for more great images from (Un)Lucky Tacoma: Wayzgoose 13! ~Lisa Kinoshita
(Un)Lucky Tacoma: Wayzgoose 13 is on view at the Woolworth Windows, Commerce St. & S. 11th St., through November, 2017. www.tacomawayzgoose.com