It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest is rich in history. So rich, in fact, that according to some locals, the early Pacific Northwest settlers don’t want to leave-even after death. Local Tacoman’s Charlie and Andrew Hansen, a father/son duo are two of those people. Knowing their beautiful old city had so much history to share, Charlie and Andrew started digging through the city’s archives. Through incredible research, they have been able to bring Tacoma’s history back to life, and ultimately started Tacoma Ghost Tours to shed some unconventional (and completely fascinating) light on the early people and places of Tacoma, Washington.
Being a total history nerd myself, I knew I had to take part in this ghoulish downtown tour. Believe what you want about hauntings, spirits and all that jazz, but being a creative person, my mind is open.
We started the walking tour at Brandy’s Attic on Broadway in Downtown Tacoma. Our first stop was the very old, very cool and very creepy Pantages Theatre. At 99 years old, it is the oldest known theatre in the West to still be used for its original purpose. The theatre itself has a complex history involving greed, scandal and believe it or not, the Kennedy Family. You’ll have to take the tour to get the full scoop, but it is reportedly one of the most haunted places in Tacoma!
We continued our tour walking down 9th street and heading towards Pacific Avenue. There, our guide gave us an amazing overview of the significance of Pacific Avenue itself. The Native American’s actually used what is now Pacific Avenue, as their main access trail.
As we continued to walk, our guide showed us astounding historical photographs depicting buildings that were long gone and replaced by other structures and parking lots. He gave us historical accounts of what each building was used for, when it was built as well as some shady business happenings that included mummies, Egyptian curses and gruesome deaths.
What I loved about this tour is that all of the information given to us was extensively researched and based on facts found in the towns archives. That being said, I felt confident that the information being told was based on truth according to the best of their knowledge.
We walked along Fireman’s Park, up Tacoma’s Spanish Steps and peeked through the supposedly haunted City Hall’s windows. City Hall was one of my favorite stops. It looks nearly identical to what you would see when it was built in 1893! The building is currently under renovation making it appear a smidge creepier (to my delight)! The history of the building is extensive, but the best part was learning that it housed the town’s jail. At one point, the jail detained serial killer, Jake Bird. It is proposed that he placed a curse on everyone involved in his trial, and still resides in the City Hall building decades after his death sentence. That is just one of the many hauntings involved with the building, and you will have to take a tour to hear the rest for yourself!
Tacoma Ghost Tours officially opened in 2012 and has been running three popular walking tours ever since. Later this summer they are also launching a new driving tour! Check out the Tacoma Ghost Tours Website for pricing, senior and military discounts and tour times! They also offer further discounts on Groupon! Book your tour with Tacoma Ghost Tours today! You won’t regret it!
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a comped tour for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.