The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and other hidden treasures in Tacoma

Great planning from the Tacoma-born member of our hiking group! She made three trips to Tacoma to iron out details of the trip, arrange for tours, etc.,  a fabulous effort and a good example to us all. We started at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums across from Wright Park. None of us had ever heard of this treasure and treasury, nor did we know very much about private collections of historic documents. Our guide told us that David and Marsha Karpeles, who made a fortune in real estate, could have bought a baseball team–instead he buys documents. There are eleven Karpeles Museums in this country, all in smaller cities and situated in a historic building. The Tacoma building formerly housed an American Legion chapter. Now it holds glass cases where important documents are on display, some replicas but many originals. On the day we were there the room held papers from the Adams family (the presidential line, not Morticia’s). The documents circulate among the museums–every three months the display changes.

We crossed the street to the conservatory at the park, but it was closed. Then we started walking; we made a big circuit of a fascinating neighbohood of old houses, the Annie Wright School, and finally down a hill passing the old Stadium High Scholl to downtown where our Tacoma native had arranged for tours of  the Pantages and Rialto historic theatres. Both theatres have been saved and restored, and now are much used. Lunch followed at the interesting Marano Hotel, good food and great art glass. Then  uphill back to our cars and home. And did I mention that it was raining the whole time?

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