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Week 180 - Pretty Gritty Tours

For the 180th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Chris Staudinger is the owner/operator of Pretty Gritty Tours, a Washington tour company based in Tacoma that specializes in helping people feel connected to this glorious state.

4EVRGRN: Hey, CS! Tell us a little about yourselves.

CS: Pretty Gritty Tours digs deep into the stories, the businesses, and the buildings that make this such an incredible place to visit and shares those treasures with all of you. This exciting and dynamic team has worked in the travel industry for more than 15 years and has distilled their favorite parts of the travel and tourism industry down to a fun-loving company that just wants you to have the best time possible, whether you are life-long resident or just here for a weekend. 

1) Most popular tour site?

CS: Our most popular tour by far is our tour of Stadium High School. This amazing building was supposed to open in the 1890s as a luxury hotel, but it didn't happen. It's been a public high school ever since and this tour takes you from the sub-basement and tunnels all the way up to the attic.

2) You have so many cool tour themes, what’s the most popular?

CS: We have a lot of people come out for our ghost tours. This is an exciting chance to get to know Tacoma's darker past and learn about a spooky experience that reoccurs every 7-10 years in the same spot now. We like to think this is a great tour for paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

3) Favorite PNW historical event to share?

CS: How could I possibly choose my favorite event? A lot of people don't know that George Francis Train, the guy who inspired Jules Verne to write Around the World in 80 days, began and ended his trip around the world from Tacoma. He completed the trip in 67 days 12 hours and 1 minute. 

4) Most haunted site you’ve toured?

CS: There are some amazing spots for ghost hunting but the Nathaniel Orr Home in Steilacoom and all of Bucoda are some of my favorites for really eerie experiences.

5) Why does Tacoma get such a bad rap?

CS: It's the aroma. Kidding. Historically, Tacoma has always been an industrial port town and has had a rivalry with Seattle. After we were selected to be the terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad Seattle got upset and started a smear campaign. It thinks during the slump in the '80s people just felt that Tacoma was a rougher town than most but it's a great city with a ton to offer.

6) What makes the PNW so unique?

CS: This is a beautiful spot that is surrounded by temperate rainforest and jaw dropping glacial coulees and scenery when you go a little East. As a destination it was the last stop for people coming West across the US during the Oregon trail days, so it tends to have attracted a very unique type of person. There are mountains, sea, desert, everything you could dream of in one easy to access location, it's amazing!

7) Favorite not so common PNW fact?

CS: Did you know that the Tacoma Dome was built from timber that was destroyed by the explosion of Mt St Helens? When the volcano blew it demolished so many square miles of old growth forest that some people decided it should be reclaimed and used for massive projects like building one of the largest wooden domes in the world, right here in Tacoma.

Learn more on Pretty Gritty Tours socials:

TikTok: PrettyGrittyTours

Facebook: Pretty Gritty Tours

Twitter: PrtyGrtyTours

Insta: Pretty Gritty Tours

Book a tour at https://prettygrittytours.com/