As New Bedford suffered hard times in the 1930's, the remains of a torn-down mill was brought back to life.
The Thompson Propeller Shop, built in 1937 remains strong and sturdy today as compared to any Henry Huttleston Rogers building in Fairhaven., and all from demolition materials from a factory that was torn down in New Bedford's South End. From window frames, bricks and steel girders, the Thompson brothers who were already a waterfront fixture in the important propeller repair business designed and built the structure from the ground up with the recycled remains of what was likely the Kilburn Mill.
The Thompson brothers carried on the tradition from their father, M.D.Thompson of Maine, who designed the "Thompson Feathering Propeller", a popular reversing prop that reversed the pitch automatically via hinged blades when the engine shifted into forward or reverse.
In 1961, Warren Thompson decided to retire and sold the business to Gunnar Gundersen, an engineer from Norway who still runs the shop today as Scandia Propeller., and yes, the famous Fairhaven waterfront icon - a shiny brass propeller still spins away on the corner of the building at Union and Water Streets.
FYI-When the Atlas Tack was finally torn down, the building?s high-quality bricks were crated up and recycled. The current market for a good brick is about $1.00 each.
Photos and story from the M.L.Baron Historic Archives c1987
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