Job Carr Cabin museum and marker

By Luke Sprague

January 21, 2014

I would have to say that my most enjoyable experience as a historian was working as a docent at the Job Carr Cabin Museum in Tacoma, Washington. This is a picture of me in front of the museum.

What I liked the most about the experience was talking to people about the founding of Tacoma. Specifically, this called for understanding the personal history of Job Carr, founder of Tacoma, pictured here. He is a little “stiff” in this picture.

Job Carr’s original cabin was located nearby in what is now a parking lot located twenty-five yards to the southeast. Note the red outline in the picture showing where the cabin would have been located.

Here is the historical marker located next to the parking lot above.

While serving at the museum, I rewrote the oral historical narrative to better reflect what actually occurred between 1852 and 1864. For this graduate project, I used research materials that included census records, land claims, plats, archival manuscripts, and tribal agency correspondence.

It turns out, that history is usually more complex than it appears at first. The credit for the first founding of Tacoma could have gone to earlier settlers: Nic De Lin and Peter Judson. Here is an image of De Lin’s mill site, located below Interstate 705-Northbound and between Puyallup Avenue and Dock Street. Please note the picture is facing north; also see the red outline showing the mill site on the creek that really is not there anymore.

See the green dot on the below map, that is where the De Lin’s original settlement of Tacoma occurred in 1852. The yellow dot shows where Job Carr arrives in 1864 on the upper part of map. Certainly, the Indian War of 1855–56 forced both the De Lin and Judson families to abandon the initial settlement; however, most people would recognize their claims as today’s downtown Tacoma.

My contribution to the history of Tacoma Washington etched in brick at the Job Carr Cabin Museum. So do you agree with me? Was Job Carr the founder of Tacoma? Or was Nic De Lin?

Luke Sprague, small thumbnail

Luke Sprague is a historian at HistoryMint who writes nominations for historical markers, click here to find out more about this service.