Thursday, July 27, 2017 This Week's Paper

Doctor Who’s untold escapade in Tacoma’s history

“Doctor Who” will celebrate its 50th anniversary of adventures through time and space Nov. 23 with “The Day of the Doctor” on BBC America – and at 3-D theater events and a festival at Seattle's EMP. It will be an intergalactic mash-up of Daleks, Companions, the Tardis, fezzes, Captain Jack, Weeping Angels and Sonic Screwdrivers, plus the impossible appearance of three doctors at the same time. And everybody lives.

If you understood any of the above paragraph, you're a Whovian, and we have a treat for you on this page and on our website at

Tacoma Weekly's owl-eyed journalists spotted the Tardis at Metro Parks Tacoma's Ferry Park. It's disguised as an informational kiosk, and it's black instead of police box-blue. But it got us digging into the history of the park, Tacoma's first, donated by Col. Clinton P. Ferry. Ferry and his too-lovely wife Evelyn.

Ferry, the grandson of one of Napoleon's soldiers, was born in Indiana and moved west for adventure. He found it as a telegrapher, trader, aide to the territorial governor, lumber mill worker, broker and the land speculator who spurred development of Tacoma. He dubbed himself “The Duke of Tacoma” and made no secret of his vast earnings.

He was a jealous man married to a beautiful woman, the former Evelyn Trafton. Together, they also donated Tacoma's first international love scandal. He represented Tacoma at the Paris Exposition of 1889, and brought his lovely wife with him. While he attended to his mission, she was attended to by the suave and handsome Henri LeClerc.

Col. Ferry suspected them of having an affair and attempted to have the two arrested and his wife sent to a prison for disgraced women.

The charges did not stick, but the ensuing divorce did.

On top of that, their story has been passed down incorrectly, starring a mysterious woman named Cynthia.

It's all a mystery, a ripping tale begging for the space-time intrusions of The Doctor.

So we combined that historic tale with a pop-culture story, and invited Tacoma's Whovians to star in it.

Metro Parks Tacoma declined to let us illustrate this story at Ferry Park unless we formed a movie company and bought an insurance policy, but Bellarmine Preparatory School graciously allowed us to shoot the first scene on its campus. The Knights of Pythias invited us to their Temple for the interiors.

Everyone had a grand time.

As The Eleventh Doctor might say: “Newspapers are cool.”

Yes. Newspapers are cool.