Simpson Investment Company

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The Simpson Investment Company is a Pacific Northwest based company that specializes in production and manufacture of forest products. Originally founded as a logging company in 1890 by Sol Simpson, the company currently functions as a holding company for its three subsidiaries who deal with different sectors in the forestry industry.[1] They are Simpson Lumber Company, the Simpson Door Company and the Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company. The Simpson Lumber Company conducts logging operations in Shelton, Washington and in South Carolina while the Simpson Door Company manufactures wood doors. The Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company produces pulpwood and linerbaord products.[1] Simpson announced in 2008 that they will be entering the "green power" industry by building a new power plant at its Tacoma tideflats mill that will generate power via the burning of sawmill and other forest waste. In August 2009, construction of the power plant was complete and it currently generates 55 megawatts of power which is sold to Iberdrola Renovables and used by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.[2][3]


A picture taken in the 1940s of the Vance Creek Bridge with a Simpson train.
A Simpson EMD SW1200 in 2011.

The company was split into two separate units in 2006. The Green Diamond Resource Company is a spinoff that was created to manage Simpson's forest lands. Both companies are owned by the same shareholders and as with the current subsidiaries, function as separate departments within a large company rather than as completely independent companies.[1]


The Simpson Company is also notable for the construction and operations of its own logging railroad known as the Simpson Railroad. It is one of the last logging railroad operations in the continental United States[4] and dates back some 120 years. The railroad was once extensive and branched out into several hundred miles of forestland in the Olympic Peninsula but is now limited to less than five miles of operational track. The rail line was used not only to transport lumber but also as a transportation network to remote logging camps and towns. Construction of the railroad line was an engineering feat as demonstrated by the large and complex bridges built to span gorges as well as the mountainous terrain the railroad traveled through. Perhaps the most notable landmarks of the now mostly abandoned line are the Vance Creek Bridge and the High Steel Bridge. Both bridges were built in 1929 and used until the 1980s when the line was abandoned. The bridges still stand with the High Steel Bridge still in use as a forest road. The High Steel Bridge also has the distinction of being one of the tallest rail bridges in the United States and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Chris Genna (2006-06-25). "Simpson splits units but keeps focus". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  2. ^ John Gillie (2008-04-28). "Simpson Investment Co. will build power plant at Tacoma Tideflats mill". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  3. ^ "New Tacoma biomass plant starts churning power". Puget Sound Business Journal. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Heavy Lifting". Shelton-Mason County Journal. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2009-09-01. [dead link]
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 

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