Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan is a principal at Artifacts, a historic preservation firm he co-founded in 1997, based in Tacoma, Washington. Since 1992 he has also been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington Tacoma teaching Pacific Northwest history and urban studies. As a public historian he has been working in the area of digital humanities as a board member at HistoryLink, an encyclopedia of Washington State History, Recaptured City.com a website that blends images and stories and his blog TacomaHistory.wordpress.com telling stories and exploring cultural history in the South Puget Sound region.

As a preservationist he has co-authored the Historic Structure Report for the Panama Hotel in Seattle and provided conservation guidance on Mukai Gardens on Vashon Island.

Updated September 2016

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Tacoma Nihonmachi, ca. 1920

And here is an extraordinary document from an exceptionally rare source. This hand drawn map produced by Kazuo Ito shows the extent of Tacoma’s Nihonmachi or Japantown about 1920.

The individual listings show Japanese operated businesses, many of which also served as family homes for the 1700 residents of Japanese ancestry living in downtown Tacoma. These were the townies-the merchants, innkeepers, restauranteurs, grocers, teachers, barbers, tailors, photographers, doctors, mechanics, apothecaries, florists, bankers, porters, and artists who made up Tacoma’s thriving Japantown.

Joe Kosai, who grew up in his family’s hotel on Pacific Avenue and later taught math ...

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Gone To Market in Tacoma, WA

The most painful hole in downtown Tacoma has to be at the corners of 11th and Market where once Tacoma public markets filled both sides of the street and the buzz of languages, smells, and small spectacles filled the day between well before dark until evening. Tacoma’s first Public Sanitary Market was designed by the prestigious architect Frederick Heath in 1917 and boasted a delicate white terra cotta facade, tile floors, airy arcades, plumbed and drained stalls and uniformed “sanitary inspectors.” By the early 1920’s it was overfilled with grocers, fish mongers, butchers, bakers, and florists most of ...

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