Par-Mac Industrial Park

Par-Mac is an early-1960’s-era industrial park located immediately north of Forbes Creek and was designed from the outset to be “rail-friendly” – meaning that rail access to the buildings was a selling point to businesses who built or leased there. Several businesses did use rail service, although not nearly all that could have. By the time Pac-Mac was built, truck shipping was in full swing, so only bulk (esp. heavy) items, usually raw materials and supplies used by the businesses, were received by rail.

By Kent Sullivan and Matt McCauley

Haroldson Industries Spur

Located at 10819 120th Avenue NE, Haroldson Industries was one of the very first occupants of Pac-Mac, arriving in May, 1963, and the first to be served by the NP. Their business was manufacturing a new type of high-pressure plastic-finished furniture with a plywood, particle board, or hardwood core, that was later adopted by major manufacturers such as Drexel.

The Lake Washington Land Co., the parent company behind Par-Mac, petitioned the NP for a spur in April, which quickly approved and presumably built shortly thereafter. The spur was a fairly-lengthy 870’, given the position of the building relative to the NP’s main track, and also due to an elevation difference.

By October, 1966, Haroldson had doubled in size, with 50+ production workers plus sales staff, and had increased the building’s size from 35,000 sf to 45,000 sf, and had opened a sister plant in Vancouver, BC. By 1968, most of their sales came from furniture for dining rooms and bedrooms along with furniture known as “occasional”, with growth coming from the furnished apartment, hotel, and institutional sectors, with a large contract for the GSA in southeast Asia, presumably related to the Vietnam War. Haroldson appears to have closed sometime in 1975. The spur to this building survived until the end of active railroad use but it is not currently known if later occupants used it.

Drawing of Haroldson Industries, looking north, May 23, 1963 (courtesy King County Library System)
View looking south to Haroldson Industries in January, 1967 (courtesy Washington State Archives)

Hearin Plywood Industries / Durkin Chemical Co. Spur

Located at 10905 120th Avenue NE, Hearin Plywood, Inc.’s distribution center was an expansion of Hearin Forest Industries (a marketing organization for many PNW lumber and plywood manufacturers, based in Portland, OR) to serve retail plywood markets. It opened in March, 1970 and had 5 employees plus Manager Frank Vandemeer, but was apparently short-lived, going out of business by 1972. Regardless, the Terteling Land Co. (who became the owner of Par-Mac as of late February, 1970), petitioned the NP in February to extend the Haroldson spur to serve Hearin. The NP approved the plan in March and presumably the work was done shortly thereafter.

As mentioned above, Hearin’s first facility for this operation was in Feriton, where they subleased from December, 1968 through March, 1970, while the Par-Mac location was leased and the building was built.

Durkin Chemical Co. took over the building and operated there from 1972-86, using rail service at least part of that time, because the spur was referred to as “Durkin Chemical Co,” in BN records. This spur survived until the end of active railroad use.

View looking north at Hearin Plywood in April, 1970 (courtesy Washington State Archives)

Moss Bay Builder’s Supply Spur

A large, 125,500 sf warehouse, located at 10822-10858 117th Place NE, was built in 1978, directly across the BN main track from Haroldson Industries. A number of firms occupied space in this building over the years, with the most likely customer of the BN being Moss Bay Builder’s Supply, which eventually became GTS Drywall Supply and then HTS Interior Supply, which eventually moved into the former Haroldson building.

Other businesses in the building that might have also used rail service included Meyer’s Distribution Company, (1978-2000), Bel-Square Furniture (1978-82), Lopi Energy Systems (1982-2004), and Travis Industries (1989-2004).

Unfortunately, no records have yet turned up about the spur, but it appears to have been constructed by the BN in March, 1978. Oddly, the only company name associated with the spur in the scant BN records found to date is Lincoln Fotups Associates, but no records have been found on that firm to date. This spur survived until the end of active railroad use.

View looking south at warehouse for Moss Bay Builder’s Supply and others in April, 1978 (courtesy Washington State Archives)
View looking south at warehouse for GTS Drywall Supply and others in June, 1990 (courtesy Washington State Archives)

Brillware Manufacturing Co. Spur

Located at 11809 NE 116th St., at the other end of Par-Mac, Brillware Manufacturing Co. designed and assembled custom cabinets from pre-cut parts, meeting a growing need for furniture-quality kitchen cabinets that could be mass-produced, for open-plan homes where the kitchen was part of the main living space. They opened for business in mid-1962, and are believed to be the first occupant of the industrial park, along with Juanita Cash & Carry Building Materials. Prior to Kirkland, Brillware was located in Seattle near Lake Union. They opened their Par-Mac facility with 12 employees, but by 1965 they employed 48 workers and had expanded into markets in OR and ID.

According to King County property tax records, the building they occupied was expanded six times, in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1969. Each time the building was lengthened but not widened, to a total of 840’. It is likely that other businesses occupied some of that space, as is the case today.

However, apparently no tenants of the building used rail service until Brillware requested a spur in September, 1972, which was approved in October and apparently completed in April, 1973. Scant BN records suggest that they discontinued rail service in about April, 1982. An aerial image from 1981 suggests that the spur ran the length of the building, so other tenants would have had rail access if they desired it.

Note: Prior to 1958, the railroad crossed NE 116th St. (aka Langdon Road) at grade. As traffic on this street increased, elevating the road above the track with a bridge made sense. Note that this overpass is visible in the Brillware photo above.

The primary sources of information that informed this work stop in the mid-1970’s. If you can help tell the history from 1975 – 2009, please contact us!

Brillware’s building under construction in January, 1962 (courtesy King County Library System)
View looking northwest at warehouse for Brillware Manufacturing Co. and others in January, 1966 (courtesy Washington State Archives)