They call it the City of Destiny or the Gritty City. It is a city of contradictions, loved and despised, where 19th century steeples share the skyline with 20th century smokestacks. A blue collar city choked in paper mill chemicals and cleansed by saltwater breezes. A city of potholes and community gardens.
The second city, overlooked by glistening Seattle to the north, Tacoma is the dark horse. The people drawn here, the people like me, prefer it that way — we fight for the underdog. And yet, in spite of its reputation, I see it throwing off the shackles of its industrial past. I see it reclaiming the abandoned waterfront warehouses; nurturing a fledgling arts community like a flickering flame. I see container ships on the bay waiting their turn to unload the cargo from foreign lands.
Years ago, it lost the railroad and with it a chance to stand on the stage of the world. For a hundred years, it shed its sweat in obscurity, but now, it calls those of us downtrodden and searching for a second chance. Now, it rises and claims its identity, not as the lesser of two great metropolises but as the place that destiny remembered.
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Jonny Eberle is a writer, photographer and underdog supporter living in Tacoma, WA. You can follow his gritty Twitter feed @jonnyeberle or leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!