Tacoma’s legacy of historic buildings and strong architectural icons is matchless for a Pacific Northwest city its size. Looming in the distant perspective of Tacoma’s principal boulevard, Pacific Avenue, is the Italianate tower of Old City Hall, built in 1893. The building recalls the lofty first years of the city, when the transcontinental railroad broke through the last range of mountains on its westerly course to the Pacific Ocean where it connected with the saltwater of Puget Sound in Tacoma. The City of Tacoma burst into being in 1873 around a breathtaking natural harbor called Commencement Bay. Twenty years later, the city completed construction of this magnificent public building evoking the splendors of Florence and promising the commerce and culture of the world’s great seaports.