In 1918, voters in Pierce County approved the formation of a public port.
The rest is history.
Our story map also takes you through some of the highlights of the last 100 years.
Pierce County voters established the Port of Tacoma on Nov. 5, 1918, and elected our first three commissioners: Chester Thorne, a banker; Edward Kloss, a longshore official; and C.W. Orton, a fruit and dairy farmer.
In the late 1800s, shipping and the railroads led to the development of various private docks and facilities in Steilacoom, along Ruston Way and in Old Town Tacoma.
We started out on 240 acres of land in the Tacoma Tideflats. The Edmore, a commercial steamship that arrived March 25, 1921, to pick up lumber bound for Japan, was the first vessel to call at the port.
Over the years, more and more shipping activity shifted from the downtown Tacoma waterfront into the port industrial area.
Today, the Port owns about half of the 5,000 acres that make up the Tacoma Tideflats. Real estate and marine cargo operations at the Port support more than 42,000 jobs and nearly $3 billion in labor income. Port-related activity also generates over $100 million annually in state and local taxes to support education, roads, and police and fire protection for our community.
Under our partnership with the Port of Seattle as The Northwest Seaport Alliance, we are the fourth-largest container gateway in United States and a major gateway for trade with Asia and Alaska.
1918: A year of destiny
Read more milestones on our timeline: