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Preserving Gloucester's Historic Paint Factory

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Gloucester's Historic Paint Factory
Facade of Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory taken from the Gloucester Harbor, summer 2009.

The Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory buildings have been fixtures in Gloucester Harbor in Massachusetts since they were constructed in 1874. Located on the tip of Gloucester's Rocky Neck, the company was best known for developing an innovative copper paint used on the bottom of boats to prevent barnacles. When the company closed in the1980s, the building complex became a symbol of Gloucester’s long-standing fishing industry, which has been struggling over the past several decades. In 2008, the Ocean Alliance purchased the Tarr and Wonson buildings to house its new headquarters and future state-of-the-art whale research facility. Historic New England is partnering with the Ocean Alliance to capture and share the history of this important local site. Staff will collect oral histories from former paint factory employees, artists, and local residents to develop an exhibition illustrating the impact of the paint factory on twentieth-century Gloucester.

For more information, e-mail community engagement at Historic New England.


Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House
Ocean Alliance


Preserving Gloucester's Historic Paint Factory