On Saturday morning Tacomans will gather to celebrate the return of the Dickman Mill head saw to the Ruston Way waterfront. The massive historic artifact underwent major restoration to serve as the centerpiece for a park expansion that commemorates an era when Tacoma was acclaimed as the Lumber Capital of America.
The head saw, a Registered Historic Artifact, was removed from the site nearly 20-years ago to protect it for restoration purposes after years of exposure to shoreline weather and salt air had taken a toll. As part of the park improvements, it was transported to a steel fabricator in Spokane for restoration. The park expansion includes a new plaza where the head saw is displayed adjacent to Ghost Log, an interpretive public art piece designed to convey the significance of the cedar tree to not only the lumber industry, but also to help convey its sacred value to the Puyallup Tribe.
The park expansion was made possible through a generous $2.9 million gift provided by Cambia Health Solutions, parent company to Regence BlueShield whose operations began in service to Tacoma’s millworkers. Today, Regence BlueShield is one of Tacoma’s oldest and largest employers with 600 staff. As Cambia celebrated its centennial in 2017, the company wanted to commemorate its 100-year legacy in a meaningful way. After considering many options, they decided the perfect fit for the company whose roots began on Tacoma’s waterfront would be an investment completing the long-desired expansion of Dickman Mill Park as a community gathering space with the restoration of the iconic head saw as its centerpiece.
In support of the park’s restoration, volunteers with Metro Parks Tacoma’s CHIP-in! (Community Helping Improve Parks) program have invested more than 300 hours helping remove invasives from the native plantings that were added to help restore the shoreline ecosystem when Metro Parks acquired the property and began site rehabilitation in in the 1990s.
Featured speakers will include:
- Commissioner Andrea Smith, Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Park Commissioners
- Mayor Victoria Woodards, Tacoma
- Claire Verity, President Regence BlueShield
- Claire Keller-Scholz, Metro Parks Tacoma Historian