Pierce County (pop. 795,225) is Washington’s second-most-populous county. It is one of five Pierce counties, and one of the four named for President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869).
The county stretches from the southern end of Puget Sound to the crest of the Cascades, including Mount Rainier – at 14,411 feet, the tallest mountain in Washington and the highest point in the Cascades.
The county seat of Pierce County is the city of Tacoma (pop. 198,397), third-largest city in Washington.
Tacoma’s former Union Station (1911) is now a courthouse for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Tacoma is served by Amtrak (north to Seattle and south to Los Angeles), Sounder commuter rail (north to Seattle), and the 1.6-mile Tacoma Link light rail, which connects the Tacoma Dome with downtown.
The tradition of standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner” was begun in Tacoma in 1893 by Russell G. O’Brien.
Tacoma’s downtown Theater District includes the Pantages (1918) the Rialto (1918), and the Theater on the Square (1993).
Bob’s Java Jive, southwest of downtown, serves coffee inside a giant coffee pot.
Stadium High School, north of downtown, is the home of the Stadium Bowl (1910), which has one of the most spectacular settings of any football field in the country.
The Tacoma Rainiers, Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, play at Cheney Stadium (1960).
The 702-acre Point Defiance Park, north of downtown, includes a zoo and an aquarium.
About half of the commercial rhubarb grown in the U.S. comes from Pierce County.
The city of Puyallup (pop. 37,022) is the home of the annual Washington State Fair. Puyallup is pronounced “pew-AW-lup.”
In Mount Rainier National Park, seven comfort stations from the 1930s and ’40s are on the National Register of Historic Places.
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