Category Archives: Industry

Alber’s Mill

Alber’s Mill a 1821 Dock Street in Tacoma was constructed in 1904 and was originally occupied by Albers Brothers Milling Company, which made cereal.  Between 1945 and 1977 it was primarily occupied by Inter-City Auto Freight and Acme Inter City Freight Lines was in place between 1978 and 1982. Per the Tacoma Public Library, other occupants have included Interstate Terminals, Carnation Milk Co., Puget Sound Feed Mill, Totem Stores, Inc., J.H. Galbraith Co., Acme Fast Freight, Inc., National Car Loading Co., John K. Waite Co., Republic Car Loading & Distributing Co., Consolidated Sales Co., Plywood Tacoma, Inc., E.J. Bartells Co., Plywood, Inc., James Stack Co., Associated Grocers, Universal Carloading & Distributing Co., W.S. Walter Co., Best Foods, Flying Tiger Line, Dougherty Sales Co., Merchant Skippers Assoc., Galbraith Motors, Stor-Dor Forwarding Co., Burnham Van Service, Inc., Burnham World Forwarders, K Lines, Inc., Karevan, Inc., Mountain Road Auto Service, Northwest Consolidators, Inc., Sun Pack Movers, Inc., Astron Forwarding Co., Mountain Trucking Co., and Empire Household Goods. In 2003 in was renovated into loft apartments with William Traver Gallery and Vetri International Glass in the street level space. The retail tenants have since vacated. The property is on the National and Tacoma historic registration. In the photo one can see the reflection of the neighboring Glass Museum.




Old Wonderbread and Hostess Property

I’ve been wanting to snap a photo of the old Wonderbread Building at the corner of Sprague Avenue and South 7th (703 South Sprague) for ages The property began life as the Matthaei Bread Company in 1913 at a cost of $30,000. The formal opening was in April 1913 and it was known as the plant of 150 windows.

The parent company, Interstate Bakeries Corp, went bankrupt in 2004 and this outlet closed. As of 2007 the property was up for sale, but it has been sitting vacant for ages now. An article in the Weekly Volcano mentions a proposed demolition of the building with a new retail/office facility, but it has been a couple of years and I see no evidence of new development.

A picture of the building from the 1920s can be found here

Ostrom’s Mushrooms

I’ve always wanted to see a mushroom farm and I was delighted when Ostrom’s Mushrooms at 8322 Steilacoom Road SE, Olympia, WA 98513 offered tours as part of the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival. The tour began with the plant manager (I think it was the plant manager) showing up how they create the soil out of mostly straw and then how they add the mushroom spores attached to millet. He walked us through each step of the multi-day process. The mushrooms grow in large beds which are stacked one on top of another about seven deep with about a foot clearance between each one. The pickers climb moveable steps and go from the top bed to the bottom. It sounds like very hard work.


There is only one place to buy jewelry made from the heather plant and that is from the Heathergems Factory in Pitlockry, Perthshire, Scotland, UK. The making of the gems is a cool process. First the roots of the heather plant are gathered and cleaned, then they are cut and dyed different colors from local, natural dyes and then they are bound tightly. Over time they roots compressed into a single multicolored piece which can then be cut and shaped like stone. Once shaped, the gem is shellacked and mounted for jewelry.

Century Link

The CenturyLink Building at 4818 South J Street is an industrial building constructed in the 1950s. It isn’t open to the public as far as I can see. Century Link provides high-speed internet/DSL service. The website for the company is here

1131 Dock Street

I found myself on Dock Street in Tacoma today and stopped at 1131 Dock Street. I learned a few things about this wooden building that was built in 1929. It was originally a machine shop (and maybe still is?) and had been the home of the Sea Scouts until they moved in 2005 or 2006. It appears that the My Girl Charter Yacht Company is based out of the building. There was a giant puff ball kind of plant in front of the building :).

J. M. Marinac Shipbuilders

The J. M. Marinac Shipbuilders at 401 East 15th Street in the Port of Tacoma is visually striking. There are two main shipbuilding buildings and they can support buildings 250 feet long and 48 feet wide. Per their website, since their 1924 beginnings they have constructed “300 vessels, including tuna seiners, harbor tugs for commercial and military customers, oceangoing tugs, factory trawlers, ferries, yachts, U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats and a research sailing vessel”. In February of this year, they won a contract to construct 184-foot Northern Leader at a cost of $25 million. The ship will be the largest new fishing vessel to be constructed in the Pacific Northwest in more than two decades. More information about the most recent contract can be found here

The firm’s website can be found here


Hilltop Building with Murals

There is an apparently vacant building at 1214 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Tacoma, WA. Or maybe it is being used for storage. The public record indicates that a meat store (or facility) was or is in place. There are two murals on the storefront of animals eating spaghetti.


Fresh Northwest Design

Fresh Northwest Design in Gig Harbor creates custom art on wine bottles, which is so cool! Our family was lucky enough to get a quick tour and see the pre and post production bottles. Individuals and companies order personalized bottles to celebrate and commemorate events and occasions.

To learn more, go to their webpage and their Facebook page


The lights are off at Tacoma Lighting

I’d always planned to stop at Tacoma Lighting at 1301 Center Street in Tacoma. Now I guess I never will, because the store is vacant and available for sale. First Western is asking $1,050,000 for the property, which is 11,685 square feet of building area and was constructed in 1968. The listing can be found here

The current building has always been owner occupied by Tacoma Lighting. Back in 1890, the property was the site of the Aesche Boots & Shoes store. To see that wood frame building go to this Tacoma Public Library page