'Meet Me at the Tremont' showcases former factory complex

By Matthew Bernat | Aug 27, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat "Meet Me at the Tremont" attendees admire the view of Wareham Village from the Tremont Nail Factory District Saturday night.

Once considered by some one of Wareham’s “biggest follies,” the Tremont Nail Factory District opened its doors for the "Meet Me at the Tremont" gala Saturday night, showing that the historic, rustic property is ready for its second act.

Those who spearheaded the effort said the town-owned, 7.2-acre site on Elm Street is primed for new development, showcasing a “new attitude” in town that’s focused on the future.

“We’ve got it all,” said Traci Medeiros, a member of the Tremont Nail Advisory Group. “This could put us on the map, and we should be on the map.”

Starting in 1819, the site was home to the Tremont Nail Company. For more than 100 years, cut nails and other products were manufactured in the complex before the company moved to Mansfield.

In 2004, the town of Wareham bought the site using Community Preservation Act funds. The act is a Massachusetts law that allows participating cities and towns to adopt a real estate tax surcharge, supplemented by state matching funds in order to fund community preservation.

Until recently, the property has languished, attracting few tenants and drawing ire from residents tired of town funds being used to maintain the eight buildings on the property.

Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum said he was against Wareham buying the property, saying pollution made development unfeasible.

“You can’t do what they did out here for 150 years and not have contamination. I said vote ‘no’,” said Teitelbaum. “For 10 years, I thought this was one of the town’s biggest follies.”

After an environmental study found contamination levels weren’t as high as initially feared, Teitelbaum said his attitude changed.

In January, officials announced that the state awarded the town $50,000 to study potential uses for the site. After a series of workshops over the winter and spring, Rhode Island-based design firm Union Studio unveiled its plan for the site in May.

The plan calls for preserving all the historic buildings on the site, including the former main factory. A large metal building built more recently may or may not be razed to make room for eight multi-family homes in the future. Union Studio representatives noted that all of the plans were recommendations. Ultimately, local leaders must decide what direction to take.

In the meantime, Saturday’s event served to showcase the property. Hosted by the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce and the Tremont Nail Advisory Group, the event attracted 175 people.

Attendees enjoyed live music, drinks and a catered meal with a picturesque view of Wareham Village as a backdrop.

On display, alongside artwork from the Bourne-Wareham Art Association and the Sandwich Art Alliance, was Union Studios’ recommendations for the site.

Looking ahead, Teitelbaum said the town is seeking a developer for the site who will start the necessary work to attract businesses, transforming the former industrial complex into a thriving destination.

If that happens, Medeiros said Wareham will need a new nickname.

“They should change the sign,” she said, referring to the “Gateway to Cape Cod” sign that greets drivers on Route 28. “We are the ‘Gateway of Cape Cod.’ Why would you want to cross the bridge when it’s all right here?”

The former Tremont Nail Factory was the site of "Meet Me at the Tremont" on Saturday, an event that invited the public to consider the site's future. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Attendees lines up for dinner inside the district's Pickling Building. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Officials said there are plans to turn some of the building's into function halls with Saturday's event serving as a trial run. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce President Marie Oliva speaks at "Meet Me at the Tremont." (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum addresses the crowd on Saturday. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Comments (6)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 27, 2017 09:40

I also thought the purchase of Tremont Nail was one of the town's biggest follies.  The new proposed use has definitely changed my opinion.  It's not a bad idea. 


It is good to hear that the contamination wasn't as high as thought.  The contamination was one of many issues.  What about the failing dam?  There is no mention of that in this article.  That is a fairly big deal...isn't it? 


Mr. Teitelbaum, if you read this comment.  I see how Traci Medeiros mentioned the "Gateway to Cape Cod" sign that greets drivers on Rt. 28.  What she says further reinforces how important those lighthouses are to Wareham.  As you know, I started writing in about trimming the trees that are blocking the lighthouses last summer.  Thank You for getting involved.  When coming from the North, the lighthouse on the left is completely blocked by overgrown tree branches.  You said the Garden Club was going to get permission from the State. Is that a lengthy process?  It shouldn't require an act of congress.  Why can't Municipal Maintenance go out there for a couple hours to trim some branches?  Again, thanks for your involvement so far.  Hopefully the branches will be trimmed before the leaves fall off. 

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Aug 27, 2017 10:21

Wareham by the Sea - Actually what Selectman Teitelbaum said was:


Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Aug 05, 2017 08:02


"We (meaning Alan Slavin, who knows who to ask at the state level) are seeking permission from MassDOT to turn the Garden Club loose on the problem."




Posted by: Curiouscat | Aug 27, 2017 12:44

I don't think Municipal Maintenance can work on State property due to liability issues.  Besides I think there are more important issues that need addressing besides making the light houses look nice.  I don't see why a group of volunteers can't do the work once they get permission to do so.  If I see something I don't like I just handle the situation best I can instead of complaining about it.

Posted by: WWreader | Aug 27, 2017 17:22

How does a positive event deteriorate into so much negativety?  Citizens are trying to help the town optimize the use of one of its properties. Volunteers have stepped up, and the Town is working on this project. If the town left the property to rot, you would complain about that too. No good deed goes unpunished. What have you done for this town?

Posted by: Linda | Aug 27, 2017 22:02

I love our lighthouses and I can't remember a time when they weren't  there to welcome visitors.  After the canal was built we sort of lost our Cape Cod status.  So, we grabbed the "Gateway to Cape Cod"  title and we are!   I know that the garden club put the shells there, the sea grass and the flowers.  When did that change?


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 27, 2017 23:53

Andrea, I interpreted from his response that the Garden Club would be obtaining permission to trim the branches from the State.  I can't picture any of the Garden Club members that I'm familiar with 20' in the air with a chainsaw, so assume that the Garden Club will be seeking help. I understand  "Turning them loose" as having them request permission and having them coordinate the trimming.  Either by Municipal Maintenance or a local tree company.

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