Allen C. Mason Plaza Site Plan, Tacoma, Washington
Star of Destiny, the rays of the star are all phrases touting Tacoma's many positive attributes.
Revised Sketch, Columns, Allen C. Mason Plaza Development
Allen C. Mason Plaza Project
A Historic Place to Gather
On the southeast corner of North 26th and Adams Street, next to Wheelock Library, stands a 100-year-old oak tree, a living reminder of Tacoma’s past. This is where Tacoma citizens built Mason Plaza. Built in memory of “Tacoma’s Best Salesman” Allen C. Mason, this gathering place where one can come to read a book, share a story, or learn about Tacoma’s past was realized through donations from throughout the community.
The space is framed by six grand sandstone columns, historic artifacts from Mason’s own 1890’s mansion. A 4-foot diameter bronze recreation of Mason’s Star of Destiny is the plaza’s centerpiece, and a statue of Mason himself, with hand extended in welcome, completes this focal point of civic pride.
Allen Chase Mason was described by the News Tribune as “a Tacoma pioneer when others saw this place as a woody wilderness.” The Illinois school teacher and chicken farmer came to Tacoma in 1883 with $2.40 in his pocket.
By the 1890’s, his housing developments had turned him into a multi-millionaire. Along the way, he promoted Tacoma more than any other person, advertising our city’s strengths in east coast papers through a dazzling illustration he called Tacoma’s Star of Destiny.
Mason built the first street car line from downtown, through the Proctor District on North 26th, and on to Point Defiance Park the same route used by Pierce Transit today. He was the principal developer of Tacoma’s North End. He donated the city’s first public library, developed several major buildings, including the first Elks lodge, and in the panic of 1893, Mason personally bought back houses from anyone who asked, losing all his money in the process. He truly had a rare combination of vision and integrity.