T.W. Dick, the company and the facilities, was a part of Gardiner’s historic tapestry for over 100 years. As many of you know, the now vacant buildings are owned by the city and slated for removal for new projects. As the Community Archives Room at the Gardiner Public Library is the repository for Gardiner’s history and artifacts I was able to visit the site and gather a few representative items to ensure that some part of this history is preserved. The spaces were immense and patchworked with little details from many eras but, sadly, there was little tangible material left to preserve. I’ll share with you some images of what is left to see and a bit of what I could carry away.
|The fabrication shop was immense — and appeared even more vast in its emptiness.
It was in here that they manufactured, among much else, tanks – from 1 – 50,000 gallons!
|We found and saved this wonderful promotional prototype from the salesroom —
I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the 5 gallon range…
|The metalworking/blacksmith shop must have been an impressive sight when it was bustling!|
|This would likely have been made in the blacksmith shop, though we have no idea what is was intended to commemorate. I found no patents from that date that seemed to offer any clues — but we welcome your insights!|
|The now abandoned salesroom, behind which were the offices.|
|This embosser was found clamped shut and stuck… but some masterful hands at Buildings & Grounds had it open in seconds — after giving it some drops of oil and the weekend to relax its shoulders!|
|Here’s the well-worn impression it still makes.|
|In the storage sheds we found some old nail barrels, which were likely made right down the street many moons ago and held bits of scrap metal across the ages.|
|A few of them cleaned up pretty nicely.|
|Sadly, this was the state of many of the old historic records of the company.|
The visits were impressive and memorable and I am happy to had the opportunity to see the spaces and document even a tiny slice of this last chapter. I also salvaged a small selection of some of the business records spanning the 1930s-1950s. They still need cleaning and sorting, but when I’ve had a closer look and plucked out the gems (and I know there are some!) I’ll share them in Part 2.
I hope you’ll stay tuned as we all look back — and sail ahead!
|This Made in the USA ship’s wheel thermometer hung in the office and lists T.W. Dick’s telephone number as 68.|
– Dawn Thistle, Special Collections Librarian