Pendleton Woolen Mills
Step into history with the Pendleton Woolen Mills, a company that has been operating almost as long as American citizens have lived in the Pacific Northwest. A family business, Pendleton Woolen Mills was founded in 1863 by English weaver Thomas Kay, rising from its humble origins to being a company known today throughout the Pacific Northwest and across the United States for the quality of their products. When you enjoy products of the Mills today, you’ll be seeing the same style and expertise brought by Kay to the Pacific Northwest so many years ago. While the styles of some items may have changed over the years, the quality has not.
Delve into the history of Vancouver, Washington, and it’s not long before you’ll find that the first people here were the Native American Indians, British and French fur trappers and the Hudson’s Bay Company. When settlers came into the region, most of them stayed south of the Columbia River, until one brave family (link to Esther Short Park history section) paved the way for other settlers to come north of the Columbia.
In 1912 the family purchased the mill in Washougal, which continues putting out Pendleton Woolen Mills’ great products today. Experience the history and quality of the Pendleton Woolen Mills creation process for yourself on a tour of this mill, a real working mill making clothing, world-famous blankets, hammocks and other products that go out and are used every day by people around the world. Today, over a third of the people who work at Pendleton Woolen Mills have been there for more than 25 years.
But what’s all the buzz about? Perhaps it’s the fine-quality product. Maybe it’s Pendleton Woolen Mills’ products interwoven with the history of the Pacific Northwest - we northwesterners are suckers for PNW history. Maybe it’s the story that a settler with little else but his skills and a little bit of equipment came to the Pacific Northwest and began something that is world-renown. The answer to all three is yes, and you should see why yourself by touring the Pendleton Woolen Mills.
When you arrive at the store, you’ll actually be walking into the original mill, which is an amazing place in and of itself. Filled with their current offerings, you’ll find everything you expect - clothing, blankets, etc. - to some things you might not - like their own beer, created by Rogue Brewing Company. As you enter the mill, you’ll know you’ve entered a very special place, where tradition has been combined with innovation to create something wonderful. We could tell you all about it, but it’s something you need to see for yourself.
You can find them at 2 Pendleton Way, Washougal Washington 98671. From the Heathman Lodge, take SR-500 to I-205. Take Highway 14 to Washougal River Road - that’s the first light - and turn left. Turn right on A Street, then right on Pendleton Way.