Motorists traveling south on I-5 will soon be seeing a new road sign. A large green and white sign, with a bright red Poppy at its base, is being placed on the highway as a reminder of the WW I Boulevard of Remembrance. The sign is to be placed at Exit 116.
This sign and the Boulevard’s supporters: local, county, state, and military, gathered on Veteran’s Day—Nov. 11—also Washington State’s 127th statehood anniversary—at Lakewood City Hall for the special program. Joining mayors from Lakewood, Steilacoom, DuPont, Fircrest and JBLM, was former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma, a former University of Puget Sound History professor and current Tacoma Historical Society President, who steered the hour-long program that focused on a section of old US 99 that once had been planted with oak trees in remembrance of WW I soldiers.
In 1929 Tacoma Garden Club members proposed the tree plantings. Over the years, many of those oaks were removed to accommodate road-widening. Today fewer than 66 trees remain.
“Here we are, finally!” said Charlotte (Polly) Medlock, a founding member of Tacoma’s Historical Society, and the woman who spearheaded this latest recognition effort to recall this piece of Pierce County History.
Watch for the sign while traveling along I-5.