Some days the soul requests not botanical gardens but industrial grit. Not perfection but broken things.
On those days, a drive down the Duwamish into South Park brings satisfaction like no other local road trip.
Our route extends along barely paved roads. We splash through puddles that are small lakes. We dodge potholes deep enough to drown a cyclist. We drive by mountains of barrels, piles of crates, and idle machinery left to rust by the side of the road. We breathe in the chaos of an unregulated economy.
The Duwamish waterfront is a land of enterprise. It has the vibrancy of a third world city. It is the American dream waking up on a Superfund site and stretching its legs.
And while bolts and gaskets may be a nice change from cultivating the land, the broken pallets whisper that sacrifice isn’t always sufficient for success.
Across the street, another brotherly endeavor is doing quite a bit better.
In the black and white South Park landscape, even a spot of color and taste catches the eye. In the back alleys of S Portland St, we turned away from Cain and were surprised by something beautiful.
The emergency back door with the fantastic landscaping belongs to Seattle Gear Works. A family-owned gear manufacturing and repair company, the Gear Works was founded in 1946 by Ingwald Ramberg. It is currently owned and managed by his two sons Roland and Sterling.
What began as a small garage business has grown into an international enterprise with over $20M in annual revenue and over a hundred employees. Gear Works gears are used in virtually every kind of industrial endeavor on the planet, from wind energy to military machinery. The South Park location facing us is actually one of the largest gear manufacturing facilities in the country.
Seattle Gear works, we salute your attention to detail and your taste in landscaping. We’d love to see the inside of your plant.
The complete Flickr set.