The Tacoma Armory
715 South 11th St
Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma Armory    Circa 1920
Photographer Unknown

Photo: Sam Carlson, April 1999

Photo: Sam Carlson, April 1999

The Tacoma Armory was a National Guard Armory that has been used for a variety of public events, including the infamous Tacoma Armory dance and Battle of the Bands. The building was completed in 1908 and opened it's doors with a military ball on New Years Eve of 1908. Originally the armory housed horse stables, a shooting range, a swimming pool, and has been visited by William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman over the years. For over 102 years the National Guard used this facility for drills and training.

All military departments including the Army, Navy, and Air Force loaned this space out to the public when not being used in times of war or training.  Dances, concerts, graduations, sporting events, and concerts featuring many Pacific Northwest bands have all been held at the armory.  In 1976 the building was listed as a protected historical location limiting its uses.

In October of 2011 all remaining soldiers working at the armory were relocated and the National Guard no longer uses this space.

Some of the bands that rocked the Tacoma Armory or fought it out in the battles of the bands in the 1960's and at other events were:

Eric Burdon & The Animals
The Aryians
Marilyn Lodge & the Bluesettes
Blue Illusion
The Bluenotes
The Bootmen
The Champs
The Castlemen
The Desolutes
Jerry Dillon
The Dimensions
 The Dynamics
The El-Caminos
The Elegants
The Fantastiks
The Furies
The Galaxies
Don & The Goodtimes
The Intruders
Buddy Knox
The Marshans
The Noblemen
The Olympics
Roy Orbison
Plymouth Rockers Ltd.
Pink Mahdlo & the Promotions
The Princetons
Rhythm Orchids
Paul Revere & The Raiders
The Regents
The Statesmen
The Solitudes
The Sonics
Tiny Tony & The Statics
The Viceroys
The Wailers
Stick Willie
Woody Carr

Christmas Party in the Tacoma Armory - Circa WWII
Photographer Unknown

Between Songs at The Armory in 1961
Photo courtesy of Walt Rattenbury

Clipping Courtesy of Bill Dean
The Princetons were to play there with the Champs (of Tequila fame) one year but the union wouldn't let us because they were black-balled by them. We went and watched them though.  I talked to Jim Horn of the Champs 35 years later and he remembered."

Daniel P. Chapman, December 2011

Thanks for this web page, brings back lots of memories.  I saw Eric Burden and the Animals here and also Roy Orbison. I will have to put on my memory cap and remember some of the others. The building hosted Pro wrestling and I remember the go-cart track was inside too.

Larry Tipton, June 2013

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Last Update:  5 July 2014
Credits:  S. Carlson, Unknown, Walt Rattenbury, Dave Cozine, Bill Dean, Daniel P. Chapman, Larry Tipton, Bill Englehart