Jack Hyde Park is easy to miss as you drive from downtown Tacoma along Schuster Parkway and then Ruston Way on the way to Point Ruston or Point Defiance Park. The park brings back memories of nearly thirty years ago.
I joined the Rotary Club of Tacoma in 1993. At the time we had between 350 to 400 members. We met each Thursday for lunch. As a new member, I would sit at a different table each week. Some members always sat at the same table with their same friends. I knew quite a few of the members, but by sitting with people I didn’t know, it allowed me to ask questions and listen to interesting stories. For mayor that year I had voted for Jack Hyde, so it was nice to sit with the upcoming mayor. Mayors can’t always find the time to attend weekly meetings.
Jack was easy to talk and laugh with. I sat and chatted with him numerous times. He took office on January 1st and was only in office for 17 days before dying of a heart attack. “Jack served two terms as a Tacoma City Council member from 1982 to 1989 and served as Deputy Mayor in 1987. During his tenure on the Council he worked hard to bring parks, restaurants, and amenities to Tacoma’s prominent Ruston Way and was dedicated to making the city a safer place through programs, such as Safe Streets and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.” – metroparkstacoma.org/place/jack-hyde-park/
Rotary met then at the Tacoma Sheraton (now the Murano), about a hundred yards down the hill from our then television studio. Since my wife Peg and I live a little over a block up the hill from Ruston Way, I passed through Old Town and drove by what was finally completed and called Jack Hyde Park. I’ve visited Chinese Reconciliation Park many times, but never really took the time to visit Jack Hyde Park. Up early a few days ago I visited the park.
I parked in the free parking lot about fifty yards from the park. As I stepped on the sidewalk three joggers ran past me on their way into the park. They smiled and gave me a friendly hello. After they passed by I stood on the grass hill and looked to the west. I was at the park for low tide. The sweeping view showed me Old Town, Northern Fish, and The Silver Cloud. I would love to stay at the Silver Cloud, again. Peg and I stayed at their inn at Mukilteo and enjoyed the comfort and the view. We also stayed at the Bellevue Silver Cloud perhaps half a dozen times. I think that same comfort and beautiful view must be waiting us in Old Town.
The park is laid out nicely. The rock creek passes wild grasses as metal salmon work their way upstream.
Wandering the path and going down half a dozen stairs I met the rocky shore with the Chinese Reconciliation Park “Fuzhou Ting” (the pagoda looking building) peeking over the hill. The Ting was a gift from our sister city in Fuzhou, China.
Turning and facing the water I was greeted by seagulls perched atop pilings and the wonderfully calm image of the Port of Tacoma to the east.
When I left the park, I got back into my car and then drove along the access road that runs parallel to the train tracks and end just past the rear view of the friendly Ting. The Ting is an open building featuring the art of Chinese construction. It faces the water, but is open on all sides with stairs on two of them. It is a great place to sit and contemplate and admire the views of Puget Sound, Northeast Tacoma, Maury and Vashon Island, and the Olympic Mountains. For me it was a place to wave good-bye to the friendly joggers who were enjoying the cool weather, the scenery, and solitude of the side by side parks.
I look forward to re-visiting Jack Hyde Park with my wife. I know she will love it, also. Jack would have loved his park, too.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.