The factory lies adjacent to Renton Municipal Airport.
The Boeing Renton Factory is built on land reclaimed by the lowering of the level of Lake Washington in 1916. From 1916 until 1936 it belonged to the family of Pioneer Washington Coal Industrialist Charles H. Burnett for whom Burnett Avenue and Burnett Park in Renton are named. Burnett acquired the land intending to utilise it for coal storage and shipment. Amy Louise Burnett Bond, Charles Burnett's daughter, whose mother died young was raised by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Cranston Potter as the foster sister and godmother of Bertha Potter (Mrs William Boeing). The Burnett family operated the land as a hay farm. In 1936 Amy Burnett Bond transferred the property back to the state government. It was still mostly semi swamp economically marginal and would cost millions to improve.
The property was then transferred by the State of Washington to the federal government at the start of World War II. The Navy Department established an aircraft factory there for production of the Boeing PBB Sea Ranger flying boat. This order was cancelled, however, to free the factory for production of the B-29 Superfortress, the factory being transferred to the Army in exchange for use of the North American Aviation Kansas City factory for production of land based B-25 Mitchells for the US Marine Corps as PBJ-1s.
1,119 B-29s were built in the Renton plant.
At the end of World War II, the plant was closed but by 1948 it was re-opened by Boeing to build the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter for the United States Air Force. In all, 943 C-97s were built in the Renton plant.
In May 1954 the prototype of what would become the Boeing 707, the Boeing 367-80, was rolled out at the Renton plant starting a long association with the production of the Boeing 707 line. When the first production Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker first flew in August 1956 from Renton it was named City of Renton. The first production Boeing 707 was rolled out at Renton on 28 October 1957 and production continued to the last 707 in April 1991.
The Boeing 707 final assembly building was also used to produce the Boeing 727 three-engined airliner from 1963 into the 1980s.
In order to produce the twin-engined Boeing 737 a new assembly line was built at Renton and the plant is still building the Boeing 737 family. The 737 final assembly building when built was at the time the largest building in the world by volume. New aircraft perform their first flight from the adjacent Renton Municipal Airport and are then flown to Boeing Field for customer preparation. After a lengthy negotiation Boeing and the Machinist Union have agreed to produce the 737 MAX, an improved redesign, so as to utilize maximum the existing capacity in Renton.
The first four 747s built were refurbished in the Boeing Renton Factory. On December 13, 1969, one of the aircraft (N732PA), when landing on the 5382 foot long runway at Renton Municipal Airport, landed short. The right wing landing gear was torn from the aircraft and the number 3 and 4 engine nacelles contacted the runway.
The plant also built all 1,050 Boeing 757s
- Bowers 1989, pp.248—249.
- B-29 Superfortress Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- Seattle Business Journal: Boeing to build 737 Max in Renton
- Boeing Commercial Airplanes 737 Manufacturing Site Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- Aircraft Incident Report 5-0046 Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- Bowers, Peter M. Boeing Aircraft since 1916. London:Putnam, Third edition, 1989. ISBN 0-85177-804-6.