Michaels has teamed with the Tacoma Historical Society to mark the sawmills that, for more than 100 years, dominated Old Tacoma's Ruston Way - a 2 mile drive west, along the south shore of Commencement Bay. This stretch of shoreline, with it's deep moorage, offered perfect locations for lumber and shingle mills. The area became Tacoma's first working waterfront. 54 names of sawmill companies in Old Town have been found. The names of some mills changed with different ownership. Others were built on the ruins of previous mills. 25 sites have been identified.

Sponsors of plaques installed to date include;

Tacoma Northend Community Council

Port of Tacoma

Ben B. Cheney Foundation

Tacoma Longshore Union, Local 23

Gordon H Russ and Family

and the Tacoma Historical Society

 The shoreline along Ruston Way now features a beautiful promenade which passes through public parks and by fine restaurants. There are very few indications of the industrial past of this area. Six sites were marked in 2004, and two more in the summer of 2005. Four more plaques will be placed in 2006. Michaels and the Tacoma Historical Society hope to mark the rest of the sawmill sites and perhaps the locations of Old Tacoma's other industrial activity.

View the Tacoma Historical Society website at:


While researching the history of the lumber industry of the area, Michaels became acquainted with a scholar specializing in the history of Old Tacoma. This guidebook to the Old Town sawmills is the result of their collaboration.

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola