Whaling City Marine Co - New Bedford

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Whaling City Marine Co - New Bedford

Postby tomodda » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:45 pm

Hi Folks:

This just to expound on a discussion we've been having on the DS1 section of the forum (DS1 Design Changes). The orginal Daysailers apparently used hardware (blocks etc) from "Whaling City Marine Company" on 56 Prospect Street, New Bedford, Ma. But that company doesn't exist anymore and neither does Prospect Street. What happened? Urban history is a hobby for me, and I think I have most of the answer, so will share it here. Warning - EXTREME trivia ahead. Still, I was fascinated by the history, hope it's of some interest to you.

First of all, yes - NB had a Prospect Street by the harbor. Apparently it was actually a rather major street in Colonial days into the early republic:

"The majority of our early settlers were a people that cared little for outward and visible signs." To perpetuate their family names by names of streets did not appeal to the early owners of the land. They cared little for such memorials. Joseph Russell might have named his "open way" after himself, but like a good and loyal subject he named it King street. The spirit that led New York citizens to pull down the statue of George III. and prompted good wives in the South to turn his portrait to the wall, led our people to change the names of streets from King to Main ; from Queen to School. The name "Main" suited the people better, after the English soldiery had burned ships, warehouses and homes. Not the entire length was so called, for the splendid view from that portion east of Water street, gave it the name of Prospect street (1818). (History of New Bedford, Volume 3, Page 359)

Like many towns, NB had a Front Street and a Water Street along the waterfront, but as the city grew and the waterfront was land-filled in, NB a Main St/Prospect St again in front of them. Here's the map from 1911:

NB1911.JPG
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(Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3764nm.gla00098/?sp=32&r=-0.615,0.058,1.743,0.753,0)

Prospect Street is on the right, the block we are interested in is the top one (North), between Howland and Grinell:

Prospect1911close.JPG
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The yellow buildings are wood, the pink/red ones are brick. So there is a 55 and 57 Prospect Street on the left side of the street (west), little wooden buildings, but no 56. But, we can guess. The first brick-built mill going north is the Quissett Mill, which was a big building that existed till 1968. Look here: https://www.cardcow.com/57746/quissett-mill-new-bedford-massachusetts/. And then here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spinnerpub/3971558835. The caption of the flickr photo talks about how the whole area was up for urban renewal in 1968 and several sources (I won't bore you with them) confirm it. The other brick mill - Pairpoint Mill - was a huge glass works:

In 1880, British silver designer Thomas Pairpoint (1838-1902) resigned his position as head designer at the Meriden Brittania Company and founded the Pairpoint Manufacturing Company, which was established in New Bedford as a silver manufacturer supplying Mount Washington with silver-plated metal mounts for its glass lamps and other products.[7][8][9][10] In 1894, the two companies merged and in 1900 were renamed the Pairpoint Corporation.[11][12]

In 1939, the company was reorganized as Gundersen Glass Works, named after master glassblower and new owner Robert Gundersen. After Gundersen's death in 1952, the company became the Gundersen-Pairpoint Glass Works until 1957, when it was renamed a final time to Pairpoint Glass Company.[10] Now under the guidance of Robert Bryden, it ceased operations at its New Bedford plant and relocated briefly to East Wareham, Massachusetts. (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pairpoint_Glass)


Whaling City Marine was around since at least 1955 (I found some ads from back then in back issues of Yacthing online), so my guess is that #56 Prospect was one of the the two wood (yellow) buildings on the east side of the street. Most imporantly, the Pairpoint Factory caught fire in 1965, check out the little video and description here: https://www.pairpointswan.com/gundersen-pairpoint

Here's all that was left of the block (looking south on Prospect, from the corner of Howland): https://www.flickr.com/photos/spinnerpub/3266318925/. From the caption of the photo:

...fire broke out on the morning of October 2, 1965. The fire was apparently started by a man cutting though a live gas pipe with a torch so that he could steal the pipe. The pipe ignited, and the old mill was instantly engulfed in flames.

Wow! And then this tidbit:

Pictured opposite [note: opposite from the wood bldg on the corner] is what remained of the factory housing the Pairpoint Corporation after it burned in 1965. After the corporation failed in 1950 their building remained uninsured and was empty for a period of fifteen years until the factory stood in the path of the South End Urban Renewal Project

So, I really think that #56 was one of the two wood buildings on the east side of the street, it couldn't have been in the remaining factor building because it was empty, uninsured. So, here's a blow-up of the flickr photo, with Whaling City Marine between the two taller factory buildings (remains of Pairpoint and the Quissett Mill):

Capture.JPG
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BY 1968, the entire area was razed by the NBRA (New Bedford Redevelopment Authority) and paved over for the JFK Memorial Highway (Mass Rt 18): https://www.flickr.com/photos/spinnerpub/3266317157/

East of the highway is now a mixed warehouse/port area. Comparing the LOC maps to today's maps, I think the 50's block of Prospect Street was about here:

https://goo.gl/maps/SZbuqXaxSzEhc5oR9

Which today is a Marine Supply Company!

Skip's Marine Supply Co. Inc.
108 MacArthur Dr, New Bedford, MA 02740

However, they mostly sell wholesale seafood packaging, not fancy toys for us blowboaters :). Still, what became of Whaling City Marine Co?

(To be continued)
Last edited by tomodda on Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:19 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: Whaling City Marine Co - New Bedford

Postby tomodda » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:54 pm

What became of Whaling City Marine? From Rudder Magazine, Volume 83, 1967 (page 98), I found this:

Schaefer.JPG
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Huh, I didn't know Schaefer made brake parts... Actually, the industrial equipment side of Schaefer is the main company and still exists: https://www.schaeferequipmentco.com/ Need a mower? What I didn't know is where Schaefer Marine is headquartered - New Bedford! So, given the fact that they already did large marine equipment (according to the snippet above) as a separate division, I think that Schaefer Marine = Whaling City Marine Co! Even if they are not 1-1 the same, Schaefer certainly has WCMC "DNA" in it. I'll never look at my Schaefer outhaul blocks the same. :)

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed digging it up. If you want to see some old WCMC ads, just follow this search:

https://www.google.com/search?q=whaling ... 20&bih=658

I wouldn't have found any of this if @PaddyT hadn't found the Library of Congress map, so thank you! If you really want to geek out, look up the old Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of the area, you'll see how it grew quickly thru the late 1800's as New Bedford transformed from a whaling town to a mill town. Amazing history!

Fair winds to all,

Tom
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Re: Whaling City Marine Co - New Bedford

Postby GreenLake » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:10 am

Nice, very nice!
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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