Working in a historic landmark – the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory, we receive lots of visitors with stories about the buildings and what they mean to the community. One of the things we’ve learned is that the buildings not only served as a “Welcome Home” symbol to the city’s fishermen coming in from sea, but the 60 ft. chimney also served as a navigational aid. While the chimney is not functional, it became clear that it needed to stay for historical and architectural interest.
There were cracks visible in the side of the cap, but it wasn’t until OA CEO Iain Kerr flew our robotic helicopter – the Snotbot (built by Olin College) over the building that we realized the damage to the top of the chimney cap and loose bricks throughout. The chimney and support buildings not only need to be repointed, but more seriously they have cracks and loose bricks that are a potential danger for passers-by and also need to be repaired to prevent water and ice penetration from deteriorating the building any further.
Ocean Alliance applied for a City of Gloucester Community Preservation Act grant to restore the Paint Factory chimney and its support buildings. After visits from the committee and presentations by Iain, we are pleased to announce that a grant of $30,000 has been approved by the City Council. The grant will be enough to repair and re-point the chimney, and we still need to raise another $25-$30k to re-point the supporting buildings.
It’s another step forward in the new life of these buildings. We hope you’ll come see them in person!