Tacoma, WA on Film

Last weekend after our outdoor adventure, Isaac and I settled in at home to watch some movies filmed here in Tacoma, WA. While munching on kettle corn and sipping on wine we watched “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle” and “10 Things I Hate About You”. I hadn’t watched either film since their original releases back in the 90s; both were entertaining.
The next day we went out to find the local spots where these were filmed. It was fun exploring/creepin’ our new town and the act of scouting out familiar places from film reminded me of kicking around Los Angeles back when I was still a California girl. I grew up in Bakersfield, a hop and a skip from tinsel town so cruising around Beverly Hills to scope out some mega mansions was always a delight.
Since the address used in the ‘Hand’ is the same as the physical address of the house we found it very easily in the Stadium district of Northern Tacoma (I love details like that!). The greenhouse from the film is still there, albeit hidden from view by vegetation grown over the years. This neighborhood, by the way, is incredible. Upper-middle class all the way, this area sports sprawling homes with scenic views of Puget Sound. Too bad we don’t have a cool $700k to drop on a pad in this area.
 ’10 Things’ was filmed at Stadium High School in Tacoma, WA. Just a short drive from the ‘Hand’ house, the school is located on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound. I read that originally this school was built as a hotel for a railroad. The company went under and instead of having the place demolished, the property was sold to Tacoma Public Schools who then converted it into a school. When the stadium was completed a few years later, they changed the name of the school to Stadium High School. The stadium is a huge venue that has hosted many prestigious guest speakers in the past. Thanks, Wikipedia for the 411. The stadium is most notably where Heath Ledger did his famous proposal-style prom invite to Julia Stiles in ’10 Things’.
Can you imagine spending 4 years getting your education at a place like this? Incredible.
When my friends and family come to visit this summer, I’m definitely going to grab some lattes and take us for a spin in this neighborhood. So glad to report that the novelty and wonder of living in Tacoma, WA still hasn’t worn off.

12 Comment

  1. So cool! I was obsessed with 10 Things I Hate About You! All your adventures are making me want to take a trip to Washington!

  2. So cool! I was obsessed with 10 Things I Hate About You! All your adventures are making me want to take a trip to Washington!

  3. You totally should! There is so much to do out here. There are a TON of films/TV shows taped out here. Twin Peaks, The Ring…I could go on for days.

  4. You totally should! There is so much to do out here. There are a TON of films/TV shows taped out here. Twin Peaks, The Ring…I could go on for days.

  5. This school looks even cooler in your pics than it did in the movie – WOW! Heath Ledger, so classic.

  6. Bradley Cunningham says: Reply

    I spent my 4 years of high school at Stadium. The school has be totally redone since I graduated from there in 1991. When I went there it was nice, yet a tad run down inside, the remodel is amazing, but it’s completely different then what it was like back in the day. It was still kind of a cool place to go to school though. I don’t know if there is a cooler looking high school in the United States. I am always stumbling upon little cool Tacoma facts. I recently found out that Mid Davis, who was a famous silent movie actress went to stadium. She was married to Harold Lloyd and was his leading lady in 15 of his silent film features from 1919 to about 1921, including his most famous film “Safety Last! ” when he climbs a building and hangs from the hands of a clock. Also, the guy who came up with the Cadillac symbol is also a stadium high school graduate. I don’t remember his name though. There are a ton of others who are also famous stadium grads. When I was in school there, I remember when filming was being done on a film called “three fugitives. ” with Martin short and nick Nolte. I also remember Tracey ullman coming to our school and hanging out for some reason too. Tracey Ullman had a comedy variety show on the new FOX network at the time. It is famous for being the show that launched “The Simpsons” which started out as a comedy short on her show. A movie called “I love you to death” was also filmed in Tacoma around 1989 I think. River Phoenix was in that. I’m not sure who else. I never saw it.

    1. Wow! I had no idea Tacoma had such a lengthy history in film. This information is so hard to find to begin with, someone should write a coffee table book on the topic. I nominate you, Bradley!

      1. Bradley Cunningham says: Reply

        I wish I had the time to write a coffee table book about Tacoma, it’s such an interesting city. Down at the titlow beach park area there used to be a movie production company for a short while in the 1920s I think, not sure of the exact years. I think they filmed 4 or 5 films there. I don’t remember all of the facts on why it didn’t fly exactly, but it was a mildly interested story. In the film “war games ” they used a few locations around Tacoma. A few shots of downtown and the stillacoom ferry boat was also featured in the film. In the movie “an officer and a gentleman ” they used the Tacoma tideflats in a few scenes. I think more movies would be made in Tacoma if the city wouldn’t tax the pants off of anyone who wants to film here……. Side note: when I was at stadium in 1991 it had the highest rate of violence of any high school in the state. I remember we made the front Page of the USA Today. I’ve been searching for it on the Internet, but I haven’t been very successful. We had a lot of gangmembers, mostly crips, but they weren’t the biggest problem. I remember seeing or hearing about at least one fight a week, some were very serious. We had two fulltime policemen at the school too. I was never really afraid to go to school or anything like that, it was just the way things were back then. I remember a kid getting thrown out of a 2nd story window, another kid getting bashed in the head by a baseball bat with nails sticking out of it, among other things. Anyway, it was a far cry from ten things I hate about your, hahaha.

        1. Whoa! I had no idea Stadium HS was so ‘urban’. I wonder if it still is today. Sounds a lot like the HS I went to down in SoCal. We had a FT cop, too. We also had to be escorted to the restroom by security during class for our own safety. So I can relate to the gang-ridden HS experience you’re talking about.

          Be sure to let me know if you ever get around to a book on Tacoma on film, I’d be your first reader!

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