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Historic Homes of Tacoma Tour 2017

May 4, 2017

The United States may lack the medieval castles and palaces of Europe, but many cities in our country can boast of incredible and remarkable historic homes. The city of Tacoma is definitely no exception!


Every year, for 23 years, the Tacoma Historical Society has sponsored a self-guided walking tour of some of the city’s most historic homes. Docents are in every home to share the history of the families who lived in the homes and the history of the homes themselves. This year, six homes are being featured and they are within walking distance of each other just north of Tacoma’s historic Proctor district in the city’s North End.


If you take the tour, you’ll hear extraordinary stories about the families who lived in each home. To give an example, one of the homes on this year’s tour belonged to the Balabanoff family. Dr. Ivan Balabanoff decided to take his medical practice as far away as possible from his native country, Bulgaria, when authorities there prohibited his American wife, a doctor, from practicing medicine because ‘she didn’t speak the language’. Ivan, himself, was also denied a medical license to practice in Bulgaria because he had been educated at an American medical school. The couple opted to return to the United States in the late 1880’s and chose to live in the city that was the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Tacoma. They built their two-story Victorian home in 1893 at a cost of $3,300. Even to this day, almost 125 years later, the home is in impeccable condition.


Another home on the tour is the Gray House which was built in 1908 and was patterned after the home of the poet Longfellow, built in 1759, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


The stories can go on and on and if you’d really like to hear them all be sure to attend the 23rd annual “Historic Homes of Tacoma Tour”. One last thing: you can purchase tickets right here at the Pacific Northwest Shop.


Historical tour blog photo

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