Old City Hall Tacoma Tacoma, WA

Old City Hall Tacoma

We are thrilled to share with you that the Nettie Asberry House, nominated by Historic Tacoma, is being considered at the upcoming Landmarks Commission meeting. Marshall McClintock, one of our most devoted volunteers and board members, conducted extensive research for this nomination.

According to the City’s Historic Preservation Office, the Nettie Asberry House is a National Folk style vernacular house constructed in 1887 in the Hilltop Neighborhood. It holds significant historical value due to its association with Henry Joseph and Nettie Craig Jones Asberry, who made this house their home from 1903 to 1966. The Asberrys were prominent figures in Tacoma’s and Washington’s African-American community.

Nettie Asberry, in particular, was a trailblazer in the early civil rights movement in Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest during the early 20th century. She assumed the role of organist and music director at the Allen AME Church upon arriving in Tacoma. For nearly five decades, she taught piano lessons to hundreds of children from diverse backgrounds in the music room of her residence. Her dedication to music education earned her the moniker “Tacoma’s Music Mother.”

In addition to her contributions to music education, Nettie played a significant role in the African American women’s club movement in Washington. She co-founded several improvement clubs, including the Clover Leaf Art Club. As a charter member of the Washington State Federation of Colored Women’s Organizations in 1917, Nettie held the position of president and served on various committees. The Tacoma City Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (TCACWC) eventually took over the Clover Leaf Club’s operations, and The Asberry Cultural Club of Tacoma now carries on Nettie Asberry’s legacy as a component of the TCACWC.

Nettie and Henry Asberry played integral roles in the establishment of the Tacoma chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Nettie was also instrumental in setting up chapters in Seattle, Spokane, and Portland, OR, as well as various cities in Canada and Alaska.

The Nettie Asberry House stands as a testament to the Asberrys’ contributions to the African-American community and the early civil rights movement in the Pacific Northwest. It is a reminder of the rich history of Tacoma and its diverse communities. We hope that the Landmarks Commission will recognize the Nettie Asberry House’s historical value and designate it as a landmark, ensuring that its legacy will be preserved for future generations to come.

Visit another Tacoma, WA Landmark: Clock Tower