Wright Brothers Manufacturing Company

1950s/60s Schering Building
Looking West at 10th Street and Harris Avenue

 
Frank Wright, of Wright Manufacturing Co. started building fiberglass boats in the Fairhaven district in 1955 in the Schering Building. The company’s 12-foot car-top dinghies were sold for a time through the Sears catalog. Over the next 50 years, the company expanded to larger pleasure craft, gaining in popularity as Wright Bros. Now known as SeaSport Boats, this company is considered the longest continually operating fiberglass boat in the nation. 

The boats were built in the former Slav dance hall on the second floor. The 1960s photo (see right) of the building along 10th Street shows that the window and additional brickswere removed to create a larger opening. An iron beam was installed above this opening and a pulley would be used to lower the nearly-completed boats to the ground floor below. Ron Wright, who worked with his father in the business, remembers dropping only one boat to the sidewalk below.

The pulley was also used to haul materials up to the 2nd floor. which included 55 gallon drums of resin. One day a 55 gallon drum of resin was hauled up to the 2nd floor. It toppled over, resin cascading down the stairway to 10th Street. For current owner Brad Imus who refurbished this building in the 1970s, the waterfall story solves the mystery of "what the heck could have happened to the stairway”. Resin was occasionally thrown out the top floor window in the boat building years and can still be seen on the bricks at the back of the building.

Boats were lowered to the ground floor and carried around the corner to 913 Harris Avenue (now Chimney Sweep), and were small enough to fit between the double doors for final assembly. A hook, still embedded in the ceiling, is a remnant of those boat-building days. A passage way (which no longer exists) connected the assembly room to the corner space at 915 Harris. which was used as an office and held up as many as 50 boats, stored upright.

Wright Manufacturing left the Schering Building in 1965.

 

 Other Resources:

The Whatcom Historical Society Journal of Fall of 2020, will include an article about the Wright Boat Company of Bellingham and it's years in Fairhaven.

 



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