Wareham, Massachusetts and the Tremont Iron Co.

Surveyed and Drawn by H. Harnden / J.H. Bufford’s Lith. 260 Washington St. Boston, PLAN OF THE PREMISES OF THE TREMONT IRON COMPANY WAREHAM, MASS. Wareham, MA, 1854.
Lithograph on two sheets joined 28 1/8”h x 49 ¼”w at neat line plus margins, uncolored. Numerous ms annotations in pencil and red ink.
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An extremely rare and remarkably detailed map of the historic Tremont Iron Company property in West Wareham, Massachusetts.

With abundant supplies of bog iron, timber and water power, and easy access to the coast, the town of Wareham in Plymouth County, Massachusetts became a center of iron manufacturing in the 18th century. By 1820 the production of nails and holloware was a major contributor to the town’s economy, with several factories along the Wankinco and Weweantic Rivers. The Tremont Iron Company was established around 1845, when it constructed a factory and mill dam at the outlet of Iron Works Pond (now Tremont Mill Pond), near the juncture of the Cape Coad Railroad and its branch to Fairhaven. Some time later it constructed another factory at the outlet of Parker Mills Pond into the Wankinco River. The Company’s output was mostly cut nails, though it also produced rolled products including rails for the Old Colony and other southeastern Massachusetts railroads. In 1854, the year this plan was printed by Bufford’s Lithography in Boston, the total output was 4707 tons.

The plan is executed at the very large scale of 80 feet:inch, and it depicts the Company’s property at Iron Works Pond in great detail. The rolling and nail mills, supporting facilities and employees’ residences are shown in plan view, with the mills on the shoreline, support buildings to the immediate south and east, and dwellings in clusters further east and west. The plan also shows key infrastructure, including the dam that supplied power to the mills, the Cape Cod Railroad, and spur lines leading directly into the facilities. A table at lower left identifies no fewer than 41 structures, including for example the following note about the rolling mill: “15 Housings for Rolls, 6 Water Wheels, 1 Steam Engine 130 Horse power, 3 Puddling and 13 Heating Furnaces, 1 Forge Hammer, 4 Shears.” An early owner has annotated the plan to indicate the purposes of the various outbuildings and occupants of the residences (One, labeled “Tavern” in red ink, was crossed out in pencil at a later date with the note “Burned down.”)

At upper left are a large inset plan of Iron Works Pond and the surrounding area, as well as plans of the “New Mill Estate” on Parker Mills Pond and the Company’s “Wharf Lot” at the narrows of the Wareham River (This Wharf Lot was linked to the Iron Works Pond plant by the Cape Coad Railroad.) The whole is adorned by pictorial vignettes of Tremont Iron Works as seen from the south, with the blacksmith shop in the foreground; the “New Mill” at Parker Mills Pond; and a view of the Company’s wharf on the Wareham River.

In 1858 the Company was sold and renamed the Tremont Nail Company. By 1915 it was the only cut nail company left in New England and one of the few left in the country. The factory on Iron Works Pond was shut later in the 20th century, though Tremont Nail continued to operate at the Parker Mills Pond site. It was purchased in 2005 by the Acorn Manufacturing Company, which still operates the site as a separate division, producing cut nails on century-old machinery.

References
OCLC 466639876 (American Antiquarian Society only). Not in Phillips, Rumsey, OldMaps.com or RareBookHub. Background from Michael J. Vieira, A Brief History of Wareham, pp. 66ff and the Wareham town web site. See also Peter Lesley, The Iron Manufacturer’s Guide to the Furnaces, Forges and Rolling Mills of the United States, p. 221.

Condition

Minor discoloration and small areas of restoration along a few of the old folds, creasing throughout.