• 20 Nov 2017 6:44 PM | Lori Forrest (Administrator)

    Mary Curran won an essay contest in the late 1930's on "Why I'd like to live in UP." She won a land lot located at 3734 Olympic Bluvd W and the Curran's built a home on that location in 1939 according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Building Index. 

    Text of Article:

    Essay Contest Comes to End

    The first prize winning essay in the Soundview addition essay contest, which came to a close last week, has been released by the H. A. Briggs Co., sales agents for the new marine view subdivision in the West End. The award was a choice building site at Soundview, which was won by C. C. Curran of Tacoma. The essay follows:

    "Soundview addition! Yes, it is all the name implies and more. The site for our dream home has the advantages of city and suburban life combined. Located as it is, just seven and one-half miles from the city center, it has the surroundings of one of the most beautiful districts near Tacoma, and yet all the conveniences that city life has to offer.

    "For instance, you have the advantage of city lights, water, telephone service, protective building restrictions, bus transportation, a store, and an excellent, progressive grade school. And still, residents of this subdivision pay county taxes, may select a home site large enough for flower and vegetable gardens, even a badminton court if they desire.

    "At Soundview you may select a lot with an unequaled view of nature's splendors, one ever changing. In the foreground are the sparkling waters of Puget Sound, in the distance wooded islands and beyond the Olympic mountains! Here, in surroundings free from the soot and smoke of the city, one may breathe refreshing sea air and enjoy the sunshine of the day, not to mention sunsets that leave you breathless. Where could one find a healthier spot to live and bring up children?

    "Many of the sites have their own springs and streams, some are wooded and offer unusual opportunities for landscaping. Then, too, the roads have been laid out to conform with the contour of the property, thus keeping the surroundings and natural as possible.

    "Soundview stretches for a mile along the shores of Puget Sound, bounded by Sunset and Lemon beaches, and in the distance one may see the towers soon to support the Narrows bridge! Thus it is a new and growing community, one whose property is bound to appreciate. It seems hard to realize that with all the splendid advantages, the prices for lots start at a surprisingly low figure.

    "Then, too this addition is certain to be progressive -- one whose home owners are of the finest type, the kind of people you would like for neighbors, with sons and daughters who will make excellent playmates for your own children.

    "Do you wonder then, that, after moths of 'lot' shopping in and around Tacoma, we have chosen as the site for our dream home the subdivision of which Tacoma may feel justly proud -- Soundview addition?"

    * * * *

    Copy of original article:


    *Thank you to Mary Hammond for contributing to this post.

  • 18 Aug 2017 9:48 AM | Lori Forrest (Administrator)

    The Curran Apple Orchard is a beloved park in University Place attracting thousands of residents and visitors each year.  The orchard began in the early 1950s when Charles and Mary Curran purchased the property to build a home for their growing family. Mr. Curran planted apple trees after admiring an orchard in Eastern Washington.

    He used dynamite to blow out stumps and clear blackberries so he could plant 250 apple trees. During the same time, noted architect Robert Price designed the house which is undergoing renovation by the UP Historical Society for a future museum.

    Before cityhood in 1995, University Place was a rural area filled with orchards, horses grazing in fields and only a few hundred residents.

    Charles and Mary Curran continued to live in the orchard bringing up their three children along with several horses, dogs, two Siamese cats and cattle including one steer, who was so good looking, they called him “George R. Curtis.”

    Along with their full-time jobs (Charles a Continental Baking Driver and Secretary-Treasurer of the Local Teamsters Union and Mary was Director of Personnel at UPS), the Currans were deeply committed to their community.  Charles was a Rotarian and served on the UP School District Board for 28 years. Mary was active in PTA and preschools.

    Yet the creation of the orchard became their greatest contribution to the community. 

    People would stop by and purchase apples from Mr. Curran while children walking home from school enjoyed visiting the horses and feeding them apples.   

    At times, it was hard to tell who loved the apples more….people or the horses!

    The horses loved the apples so much that the Currans fenced them in when the trees were producing.  The horses also loved the mash from the cider press in the fall and would come running when they heard the process underway.

    The Curran horses were quite the neighborhood attraction.

    “When the Curtis Band would practice, the horses thought it was time for a parade and they would gallop around the orchard,” Mary recalled.  “Many young neighbors would also come to watch the horses and ask for rides.”  One year, Mary received a phone call at work saying the horses had left the orchard and were prancing past Curtis High School.  Son, Chuck Jr., then herded them back home using their jeep.  

    After development started to occur around the orchard, the UP Community Council approached the Currans for permission to submit a grant to preserve the orchard.  

    In 1993, the UP Community Council obtained the Pierce County Conservation Futures Grant to preserve the home and orchard forever. The newly formed City of University Place later assumed responsibility for the orchard park and home.

    Today, the orchard continues to bring people together with a variety of activities.

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