Ever since sometime between 1884 and 1892 the Tarr & Wonson paint factory has marked the entrance to Gloucester’s inner harbor, its waterside labeled with a fading declaration of its long silenced function “Manufactory.” It is perhaps the last surviving relic of Gloucester’s days of maritime might. (Now it’s pretty much a massive Gorton’s plant and art galleries. Such is progress.) As such the building is a cherished and much fought over symbol. Today is either the beginning of the end or the start of preservation. Locals tell us that the building is beyond repair. Officially demolition crews started demolishing two additions. It seems it is better to demolish and rebuild rather than deal with lead, copper and arsenic removal. Asbestos removal has already been done as it had to be prior to demolition.

Allegedly, the project will wait until more funds are available. At that time the buildings will be restored or rebuilt to their original appearance. In the meantime, perhaps the local contractor who worries about the whole thing coming down on its own isn’t off base. Too bad it has to be a treasured old friend to boaters around here.

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