12 Ericsson Street, Putnam Horseshoe Nail Buildings

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No. 8022 Putnam Nail Factory Building, photograph June 17, 2006.


No. 8024 Putnam Nail Factory building, photograph June 17, 2006

No. 15146 Boston Harbor Distillery in Putnam Nail building, photograph July 7, 2015

Putnam Nail Factory, 12 Ericsson Street, later used by the Lawley Shipyard and later still by Seymour Ice Cream Company.  These buildings are on the pending list for designation as a Boston Landmark.

The following is from  the Port Norfolk  AREA FORM from Boston Landmarks Commission prepared as part of 1994 Survey of Dorchester. Dated April, 1995 and recorded by Edward W. Gordon.

Much more intact is the former Putnam Nail Co. / George Lawley & Son Inc. Shipyard buildings on the north side of Ericsson Street, including the 3-story, 4-bay x 25-bay red brick industrial structure currently housing Seymour’s Ice Cream at 12 Ericsson Street.

Finally the northern tip of the Port Norfolk peninsula has also been associated for many years with local industries. The General Isaac Putnam Nail Company began the manufacture of horseshoe nails at Neponset in 1860 and by 1869 was clearly located on Ericsson Street at Port Norfolk. In 1860, thirty- three tons were manufactured during the entire year; by 1890, nearly ten tons of nails were produced on a daily basis. According to the 1869 Taxable Valuation of the Town of Dorchester, the Putnam Nail Co. at what is now 12 Ericson Street encompassed a “Horse Nail and Curtain Fixture Factory”, Engine House, Blacksmith shop, Counting-room Building, 2 lumber buildings, a Dry-house, Oil factory building and store house, 5-tenements (presumably for company workers) and a 37.00 ft wharf along with marsh, beach and flats. The 1874 Atlas indicates that the Putnam complex encompassed 120,000 square feet of solid ground and 149,916 square feet of flats together with a large Nail Shop, Engine Room, machine shop, office, four stables and two unlabeled buildings. By 189,. a gas holder was situated on the Putnam premises. By l898, the Putnam Company encompassed 435,000 square feet. The Putnam Company property passed to the Magnesia Co. of Massachusetts during the early 1900s–property which included 19 buildings of stone, wood and brick along with the circular gas holder. The Magnesia Co. was a short-lived enterprise, replaced by 1918 by the well known George Lawley and Son Inc. Ship Yard. During the boom years of the 1920s, Lawley’s Boatyard was building beautiful yachts such as the “Yankee” of America’s Cup fame. By 1933, the Lawley Corporation encompassed 30 buildings. Today. Seymour’s Ice Cream occupies the large late-19th-century brick utilitarian building at 12 Ericsson Street. Further research beyond the scope of this survey is needed to identify structures from the Putnam, Magnesia Co. and Lawley periods. Clearly several small brick and granite buildings to the east and north of the main ice cream plant date to the mid 19th century. This property represents one of the most intact, historically significant industrial/commercial sites in Dorchester.



Posted on

April 8, 2020