Stop 05: The Spar

Stop 05: The Spar

Early History

In 1884, this location was home to the Old Tacoma Saloon, which was owned by Frank Berry, an influential member of the Croatian community in Old Town. In those days this part of Tacoma was rough and rowdy, with as many as thirteen saloons along these two blocks. When Prohibition started (and serving alcohol was prohibited) the saloon building was torn down.

The current Spar building was constructed in 1917

The Spar was the 3rd brick building built in Old Town. It began as the Radonich Brothers Store which opened in 1917. According to the Spar's website, " The Radonich brothers operated it as a men's furnishings store, a billiard parlor, a soft drink establishment, and by the 1920's as a restaurant called the Spar."

The main floor always housed a small business on the SW corner. The first was a "fishing headquarters store", but most Old Town residents remember it being a grocery store. The lower floor of the building housed a bowling alley.

The Spar has a history of being a favorite hangout for local workers who manned Tacoma's docks, shipyards, sawmills, fishing boats, and the smelter in Ruston, as well crews from visiting ships in earlier years.

Annie Squally Mural

On the side of the Spar building facing McCarver Street, you'll see a mural that depicts Annie Squally, a Puyallup Indian woman who came to Old Town occasionally. Her home was on Wollochet Bay, where her husband, David Squally, worked in a lumber mill. She was the mother of 10 children and a skilled basket-weaver.

What do you think?

Have you ever eaten at Tacoma's oldest saloon?

What do you see?

How many brick buildings can you find in Old Town?


2121 North 30th Street
WA 98403

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Next Stop: Gateway Park

From The Spar, continue walking on the same block of North 30th. You'll pass several buildings and a parking lot, and then arrive at Gateway Park, a small grassy area overlooking the Old Town Dock on Ruston Way.