Tremont Nail Company – Wareham, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

Tremont Nail Company

The former home of the oldest nail maker in the United States was built on the ashes of a mill burned by the British.  

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Before it became known for summer tourism and cranberry bogs, Wareham was the center for a more hard-hitting industry: nail manufacturing. The Tremont Nail Company, founded in 1819 on the ashes of a cotton mill that was partially burned by the British during the War of 1812, is the only remnant of what was once one of Wareham’s most important economic drivers.

The country’s oldest nail company, Tremont made nails at this site along the Wareham River and just off the Cranberry Highway for more than 180 years. Factory workers used steel smelted from ore found in local bogs to cut nails used by local carpenters.

Covered in shingles for protection against the salt air, the numerous buildings on the site, the oldest dating to 1848, feel more like a collection of large cottages than a factory complex. There is also a weather-beaten colonial home on the site, which was home to the factory’s office.

Across Elm Street is the former company store. Adjacent to the mill’s main building is a flume and fish ladder that offer great views of the Wareham River.

Since purchasing the old nail factory property in 2004, the Town of Wareham has held several events at the site. The town plans to turn the former factory into a place for artistic and educational ventures, as well as commercial retail and restaurant outlets. 

Know Before You Go

The old factory is not open to the public. Elm Street is closed to car traffic directly in front of the factory complex.

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