"Points Northeast" refers to an area of Pierce County, WA, on Puget Sound across Commencement Bay from downtown Tacoma
It includes the areas of Browns Point, Dash Point, and Northeast Tacoma
Local History Archives
Our Archival Collections are organized and accessible for all kinds of research pertaining to our community history. We invite students and people of all ages to use our collection for writing papers for school assignments, for presentations, for family genealogy or personal curiosity. Our History Center located next to the Lightkeeper’s Cottage in Browns Point Lighthouse Park is available to researchers by appointment. Call Mavis 253 927-5385.
Our collection of photos began in 1986 when our curator at the time, Jill Barkley canvassed elderly people, long since deceased, who grew up on the Points and Northeast Tacoma. The photos exhibit all facets of community living in the early 20th Century. Originally negatives were made of this collection in order to ensure a backup source. Today digital scanning has replaced negatives and has also improved the quality of reproduction. To date we have more than 1500 photos and we continue to collect more. We can scan and return photos to all donors if they desire having them returned.
Since 1989 we have VCR tapes that recorded community events and our interviews of old timers recalling memories of their lives so many years ago. Today all of the VCR tapes have been converted to DVDs and all current events and interviews are preserved on DVDs.
Published History Collections
We are fortunate to have three sets of valuable local history with copyrights going back to the early 1900s:
Hunt, Herbert,History of Tacoma: Its History and its Buildings--A Half Century of Activity, 3 vols. 1916
Prosser, Col. William Farrand,A History of the Puget Sound Country: Its
Resources, Its Commerce, Its People, 2 vols. 1903
Bonney, W.P., History of Pierce County. 1927
Our Periodical department includes several years of “The Log” and the “Lighthouse Digest,” both with articles recalling the histories of U.S. lighthouses including stories of their restoration or their demise and their keepers. The “Columbia” magazine printed by the Washington State Historical Society relates historical stories of Washington before and since it became a state.
Our Lending Library offers a variety of books about our earliest explorers to the Pacific Northwest, U.S. lighthouses, lighthouse keeping, the Mosquito Fleet in Puget Sound, specific boats and ships, Washington Native Americans, noted Washington pioneers and communities and many books specifically for children.
Archival Materials include objects of antiquity and also a variety of papers of historical significance:
Early state and local maps to include the oldest, the 1841 map of explorer Charles Wilkes, and blue prints and drawings of our lighthouse property.
Copies of Oscar Brown’s Log Books 1903 – 1928 in which he notated each day, the weather, ships passing, usual & unusual occurrences and work he accomplished.
Documents related to the purchase of the Browns Point Lighthouse property by the U.S. government and documenting improvements made to the property throughout the years.
Many Abstracts of Title beginning with the original Puyallup native owners who received the property from President Grover Cleveland and subsequent owners throughout the years.
Categorized files of documents, newspaper articles and memorabilia on various subjects including community organizations, churches, schools, individuals, families, transportation, our lighthouse & others, sports, obituaries and much more.
Archival Objects that have been donated by benefactors and purchased by PNEHS depict daily life from 1900 to the 1930s. Most of these items are exhibited in the light keeper’s cottage, the downstairs museum and the boathouse or in storage preserved for future exhibits.
One of our proudest possessions is the fog bell that originally hung in the first Browns Point Lighthouse. It now hangs in the old Pump House.
Also among our most cherished artifacts are a brass dust pan and oil can and a wood planer engraved “United States Lighthouse Service,” the governmental agency responsible for U.S. lighthouses and lightships before they were transferred to the U.S Coast Guard in 1939.