The Proctor District found its roots in 1890 when Allen C. Mason, a self styled visionary and real estate promoter, drove the silver spike that opened the streetcar line that ran from downtown Tacoma to Point Defiance. By 1901, the Proctor District was attracting enough residents that Washington Elementary School opened a two-room schoolhouse at its present location.
By 1910, there were three businesses in the Proctor District—Moore’s Pharmacy, the Wolverine Grocery Store and the Proctor Meat Market. At that time, there was a huge stump in the middle of the often-muddy intersection of 26th and Proctor. There “persons wishing to catch a street car at night would have someone accompany them to the stump and set a lantern on it by which to signal the passing streetcar”. Just 15 years later the business district had emerged with over 52 “business houses and offices of professional men”. Among those numbers were two department stores and two theaters, three milliners, four groceries, three bakeries and a popcorn shop.
The Proctor District blossomed during the prosperous 1920’s and continued even during the lean years of the Depression. Residents and business owners alike drew together and a true community spirit blossomed. During this time, the early inklings of the now popular Junior Daffodil Parade got started with the celebration of the first Children’s Pet Show in 1929. A few years later in 1934, the community celebrated “Clean Hallowe’en Fun!” with a parade of costumed children, a drum and bugle corps and a huge bonfire on the Mason School grounds. Today, area children still look forward to Halloween and the ever-popular District event, Proctor Treats.
In 2001, the Proctor District boasts 75 shopping, dining and entertainment establishments. Plus, a variety of services are offered for personal or business needs, all within walking distance of the Proctor residential neighborhood. The Proctor District has a safe, village type atmosphere and draws thousands during the Summer Arts Festival and Sidewalk Sale. Major Streetscape improvements were made with the help of the Neighborhood Business District Revitalization Program in the 1990’s. Art projects are springing up all over Proctor and the District prepares for a medallion and crosswalk treatments at 26th and Proctor in 2002. The Proctor District Association and its business members are working to maintain and preserve the visions of Proctor forefather Allen C. Mason. A group is restoring the pillars that graced Allen C. Mason’s home and they will have a permanent resting place and tribute within the Proctor boundaries. Today the Proctor District Association continues to unite the businesses and the community through their mission statement: “To be a strong organization that preserves and enhances the quality of life and character of the Proctor District and promotes community service”.
Contact us for more information about this exciting district and the efforts of the Proctor Business District Association.