Now You Can Build a House with Boeing's Secret World War II Factory Wood

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During the height of World War II, when the U.S. war effort demanded an astronomical number of bomb-dropping aircraft, Boeing delivered. And one factory that was instrumental in helping the company produce its quota of warplanes was one in SoDo that, looking down from above, one would never guess was a airplane plant.

Now that secret Boeing factory is being salvaged for its lumber--lumber that you can buy and turn into, say, a new sushi bar or German beer garden.

Here's a shot of the factory in its heyday, as viewed from above.

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The rows of "houses" and crisscrossing "streets" are actually just part of the roof of the Boeing plant, which was made to look like a neighborhood, by Hollywood-set designer John Stewart Detlie, so as to disguise it from Japanese spy planes.

Underneath the suburban facade, some 7,000 Flying Fortress bombers were constructed in the 1.7 million-square-foot facility over the course of the war.

Max Taubert, president of Duluth Timber Company, which is handling the wood-salvage operation, tells Seattle Weekly that getting a chance to work on a building with this much history is "amazing."

"I've been involved in the industrial infrastructure of the United States for 30 years," he says. "I've seen a lot of different projects with a lot of history, but this one's definitely unique. It's something you don't see in this country anymore--a place where thousands of people would come and work day and night for the betterment of the country. It's pretty amazing."

The wood that the factory is built out of is Douglas fir. The salvaged product will cost $5 to $7 per board-foot, as opposed to non-salvaged wood, which goes for a dollar or two per board foot (11 1/4-inch wide).

Brandin Sears, DTC's Seattle-based manager, tells us that a dining-room-table-sized hunk of salvaged Boeing factory wood would run about $180--a small price to pay to be able to say you took a piece of material that supported America's greatest war effort and recycled it into something that now supports your kitchen's greatest blueberry pancakes.

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