Captain Charles Wilkes Expedition Monument
Name: Captain Charles Wilkes Monument
Erected: 1915 by Mary Ball Chapter NSDAR, bronze tablet embedded in a granite boulder.(5)
Location: GPS 47.305556 -122.51 In Point Defiance Park near the Pagoda and tennis courts, 5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
Inscription: "Captain Charles Wilkes, commanding a United States exploring expedition, visited this vicinity in 1841 and left the names Point Defiance, Neill Point, Commencement Bay, Maury Island, Robinson's Point, Colvos Passage, Gig Harbor and Fox Island.
“The recommendation in 1855 and later of the United States military officers Stoneman, Harney, Casey, Wright and others led the Federal Government to reserve land at Point Defiance for military purposes.
"Francis W. Cushman in 1905, aided by other representatives from the State of Washington, secured a gift of the land to the City of Tacoma for a city park.
"In commemoration of these events and in honor of these men, this tablet has been erected and presented to the park board September 25, 1915, by Mary Ball Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.
"'Nothing can exceed the beauty of these waters and their safety. I venture nothing in saying that there is no country in the world that possesses waters equal to these.'—Captain Charles Wilkes."
Comments: On September 25, 1915 “at the dedication of the tablet, Mrs. C. A. Pratt, regent of Mary Ball Chapter, presided. The tablet was unrolled by the little daughter of Victor Alonzo Lewis, the artistic sculptor who designed the tablet. Mrs. Frederick Beebe, Mrs. Willard Smith and Mrs. W. M. Kennedy formed the committee that had directed the placing of the monument. The speakers were Prof. Edmund S. Meany; W. N. Allen, of the park board, and Mrs. Edmund Bowden, state regent.”(2)
“Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington is the 2nd largest urban park in the United States. The 702-acre (2.84 km2) park includes Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Rose Garden, Rhododendron Garden, beaches, trails, a boardwalk, a boathouse, a Washington State Ferries ferry dock for the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route to Vashon Island, Fort Nisqually, an off-leash dog park, and most notably a stand of old-growth forest…Point Defiance Park is maintained and operated by the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma…Point Defiance Park began as a military reservation [although never used as such] after the Wilkes Expedition visited Puget Sound in the 1840s to map the bays and estuaries.”(3) The City of Tacoma used the property as a park for many years before the federal government formally granted Point Defiance Park to Tacoma in 1905.(4) Mary Ball Chapter and the Sons of the American Revolution cleaned the bronze tablet and boulder on October 18, 2020.
1. Various contributors, “Charles Wilkes,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Wilkes: accessed 10 January 2016).
2. Hunt, Herbert. Tacoma: Its History and Its Builders, A Half Century of Activity, vol 1. Chicago, IL: S.J. Clark Publishing Co, 1916, p480-481.
3. Various contributors, “Point Defiance Park,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Defiance_Park: accessed 10 January 2016).
4. Various contributors, “History of Point Defiance Park,” MetroParksTacoma (http://www.metroparkstacoma.org/history-point-defiance-park/: accessed 10 January 2016).
5. Various contributors. History and Register Washington State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Seattle, WA: WSSDAR, 1924, p63.
6. Scrapbook #2, 1915-1933, Mary Ball Chapter, National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, WSSDAR Collection, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society, Union Gap, WA.