Judith A. Jones



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Completion Date



Matthew Kelly


Introduction:Prior to World War II, the urban core area of Tacoma, Washington served as the hub of a culturally rich Japanese-American community. Beginning in the late 1880’s, the booming railroad, timber, and agriculture industries attracted workers to this region, including many Japanese immigrants. Tacoma’s “Japantown” or Nihon Machiencompassed the area between 11thand 19thStreets and Pacific and Tacoma Avenues. Japantownexperienced its zenith between 1900 and 1920. After 1920, “it began a slow decline, culminating with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II” (Morrison 2, 41,42). This once culturally dynamic area is now in need of recognition and preservation. The goal of this project, therefore, has been to collect and analyze primary data from various historical archive sources (such as books, old maps, and newspaper clippings) in order to identify any geospatial patterns that exist between the visual representation of Tacoma’s Pre-World War II Japanese community and contemporary Tacoma. These analyses can then offer insights into recognizing and preserving important historical elements.

Making the Invisible Visible: A Geospatial History of the Japanese-American Community in Tacoma, Washington 1888 to 1942