Century-old building at Tacoma's Bradken-Atlas foundry being razed

Staff writerMarch 20, 2014 

An excavator loads a truck with demolition debris from a century-old building at Tacoma's Bradken-Atlas foundry

JOHN GILLIE — The News Tribune

A 100-plus-year- old structure in the middle of Bradken-Atlas's Tacoma foundry is quickly falling to mechanical excavators.

The building, which in recent years had developed roof issues according to Bennett Fors Jr., the foundry's vice president of operations, was being demolished Thursday in the interest of worker safety.

A portion of the roof had collapsed, and an engineering study recommended the building be demolished, said Fors. 

"It had had a good life, but it was time to tear it down," said Fors.

The building had sheltered the foundry's cleaning operations for years. More recently, it had been used for storage.

Tacoma's Dickson Co. was handling the demolition and disposal of the debris from the building across from Bradken's office on South Wilkeson Street in Tacoma's Nalley Valley. The foundry is located between South Center Street and South Tacoma Way on Wilkeson. It is bisected by a Sound Transit rail line.

Bradken will soon begin replacing the roofs on most of the foundry buildings, said the foundry official.

The foundry makes large metal castings for petroleum, maritime, nuclear and military applications. The plant is owned by Australia's Bradken Limited.

The foundry was begun in 1899 by the Long family which originally made iron castings for the Northwest logging industry.

The family sold the foundry in 1975 to U.S. Filter Corp. and reacquired it in the '80s before selling it again to a conglomerate purchased by Bradken.

The foundry employs 350 workers.



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