Mac + Steve Gray

Our Company

Gray Lumber Company is an innovative and progressive supplier of high quality building products for construction to the Continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim. We can help you complete your construction projects quickly and successfully. Let 100 years of Performance + Integrity assist you. Our knowledgeable sales people have an average of 25 years experience in the construction industry.

A Century of Performance + Integrity

Welcome to Gray Lumber Company! We hope you can use this site to learn about our company and to get an idea of how we can help you complete your construction projects quickly and successfully. Gray Lumber Company in Tacoma, Washington is a leading supplier of building materials to the Pacific Northwest construction industry.

We specialize in personal service and quality products. Our customers work in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim. Gray Lumber Company is a family organization that consistently provides quality construction products at competitive prices with personal service.We are a full-service contractor supply yard. If we don't stock what you need, we'll source it for you. We offer a variety of services to assist your needs. Please contact our Sales Center at (800) GLC-GRAY, (253) 752-7000, or visit us at our showroom in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue Business District for more information.

For quality lumber, millwork, studs, pressure treated products, plywood, OSB sheathing, underlayment, particle board, siding, insulation, windows and doors, beams, trusses, timbers, tools and hardware, along with outstanding service, visit Gray Lumber Company.

Claude F. Gray - 1903
Orin Farr, Teamster - circa 1903
Neil D. Gray, circa 1930

Our Story

Claude F. Gray, founder of Independent Lumber Company, was born in Champain, Illinois, and graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1901.

In 1902, Claude Gray and his wife Cora Frances Oeder moved to Tacoma, Washington, then, the lumber capital of the world. Having decided against the law profession and having tried unsuccessfully to go into the newspaper business, Claude established employment at the Old Tacoma Mill and sold wagons of lumber to farmers in the Puyallup Valley (i.e. James Sales). He also worked at another mill in Bismark, a small train stop for the Tacoma Eastern Lines, now designated by South Sixty-fourth Street and McKinley Ave.

In December of 1903 the Independent Lumber and Fuel Company was opened for business in a small lean-to located at 3902 South M Street. The land was purchased with a small down payment and minimal monthly payments. At that time all other lumber yards in Tacoma were in a cooperative organization for set prices, and Claude Gray, refusing to join the union, chose the appropriate name for his firm, "The Independent Lumber Company."

The new yard was highly efficient for its time, using the facilities of the Tacoma Eastern Railway and the Tacoma Railway and Power Company, along with his own switch track and trestle with coal bunkers, and a large cut-off saw. Coal was sold by the wagon load or by the fifty-pound sack. Cut slab wood was also sold in addition to lumber, hardware, paint and glass.

During the period from 1905 to 1910, the company added locations in Tacoma at North Forty-fifth and Cheyenne Streets, Forty-seventh and Pearl Streets, 6224 McKinley Avenue, Fifty-sixth and South K Streets, and 3814 Sixth Avenue. A lumber mill and shingle mill were also built in the area of Midland, Washington, on the Tacoma Eastern Railway tracks.

For eight years both Midland mills shipped supplies to the retail yards, which were all located on the Tacoma Railway and Power Co. tracks (T.R&P.) by the way of Tacoma Eastern. Horse-drawn wagons, hand saws, and plenty of labor were standard equipment. Both mills burned to the ground in 1912 and were never rebuilt.

The retail yards ceased the fuel business in 1928, and with the coming of motor vehicles it was no longer necessary to have multiple locations. The company dropped all but the South M Street yard and the Sixth Avenue yard shortly thereafter.

Over a period of nearly seventy years, the Independent Lumber Company successfully operated two large cabinet shops, a wooden box factory, and constructed over five hundred new homes in the Tacoma area. The company supplied the planks used to lay the original roadbed for Sixth Avenue from Jackson Ave to Titlow Beach.

Presently, the company deals in wholesale and retail building materials, operating under the same family management since the first of the century… TACOMA'S OLDEST LUMBER YARD!