Once upon a time, but only as recently as 2007, on my weekly grocery drive through Tukwila, I diverged from my customary route and discovered a concrete plant on the side of the road. I rushed back the following weekend with a camera and got a roll full of the plant’s vivid shapes and textures. Over the next few years, Stoneway Concrete on West Valley Highway became my sanctuary of sorts, where I occasionally retreated when my confidence as a photographer was shaken.
Now I wish I visited more often. A few years after the initial encounter, I moved away from the suburbs, and my weekly errands took me nowhere near West Valley Highway. Then one day on a drive to IKEA, I looked out and gasped – the concrete plant was gone, replaced by an industrial machinery lot.
I am, perhaps, a fool for poeticizing a dusty, old dinosaur of a plant. I am, without a doubt, an idealist to want to keep vintage industrial buildings around for their significance to urban history. This is, after all, what architectural preservation is about. Regardless, I am thankful for the visual attraction I experienced to the old Stoneway Concrete plant on West Valley Highway, the shapes and textures it lended my camera so generously, and its ability to help me regain confidence and vision as a photographer when I needed it.