(360) 696-0811
(360) 696-0811

Hidden Way


Within a number of American cities lie the oxidized graves of a forgotten industrial age. These are structures you’ve driven by countless times, but spend little time thinking about. When you do casually glance over, all that registers is the sight of rust, some old signage, and not much movement. Occasionally you allow your mind to wonder about these places,

“What is it?”

“What WAS it?”

“Is it even open anymore?”

“How does someone end up working in a place like that?”

Questions and observations flash through your curious mind, and in today’s world, you are ultimately satisfied by the notion that you can simply Google it later…

…but you don’t, and so the mystery continues.

Just like your home, Vancouver, WA has these old, ‘hidden’ buildings too. The reality is that some of those buildings may be vacant, but others house thriving business full of craftspeople whose skill and knowledge have a far greater impact on your community and your region than most consider when simply brushing off the buildings as monuments of yester-year.

Thompson’s facility (and other businesses like ours) sit in an industrial area on the shoreline of the Columbia River in Vancouver. Ironically enough, the street we are on is ‘Hidden Way’, and ‘Hidden’ couldn’t be a more appropriate name. Thompson is flanked by a popular park and boat-launch to the East, and well-known restaurants to the West. Most don’t recognize our buildings on their way to a family BBQ or night out with some friends. Furthermore, most are not aware that our street is public access and is a roadway to Clark County’s rich history in manufacturing.

Michael Moore, Thompson’s Business Development Manager (and a Clark County resident for the majority of his life) openly admits that he had no clue that TMF or the industrial area even existed before he got the job at TMF. He suspects others feel the same way, “…there was never a reason to come into the business park. I saw the buildings often, but never gave much thought beyond that. When I came down for my first interview, I was surprised by the scale—there’s some seriously impressive things happening in Vancouver, and unless you’re on a boat looking toward the yard here, you’d never know.”

These massive steel structures are all different, and aren’t pumped out by machines, as they all come with their own unique challenges. Our skilled laborers, managers, and staff, YOUR neighbors are the ones making it all happen. They shop at the same places you do, watch the same shows deal with the same traffic, go to the same restaurants, cheer for the same teams. Like you, their ability to earn a consistent paycheck has allowed them to buy homes, establish roots, and raise a family in an area they love.

Maybe unlike you, their skill set and abilities are growing more valuable and rare as generations continue to ‘forget’ about the history and capability of these time-tested facilities. Now is the perfect time to promote your town’s manufacturing capabilities and shed new light on buildings and companies that may have not seen it in years.

You were curious enough to read this far, but if you’re not satiated yet, drive by sometime and take a peep at what’s hidden in plain sight: a modern example that America’s industrial graveyards are often anything but.