Tacoma has at least two well-known slogans to hang its hat on: The City of Destiny and You’ll Like Tacoma. The former has the more illustrious history, having grown out of Tacoma’s choice as the western terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad’s transcontinental railroad, in 1873 (beating out Olympia, Seattle and Bellingham for the honors). But the latter – first introduced at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, in 1909 – with its curiously modest tone is still a crowdpleaser today.
Like the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, You’ll Like Tacoma was created as a publicity tool, and debuted at the A-Y-P Exposition, held on the campus of the University of Washington. The world’s fair featured wondrous exhibits from North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim, and would draw more than three million visitors in its four-and-a-half month run. On June 2, 1909, the Tacoma Daily Ledger wrote: “Shimmering across the end of Lake Union to all who passed came the pleasant message ‘You’ll Like Tacoma‘ in glistening 20-foot white letters by day and in glowing electric characters by night.” Continue reading