Thompson Boat Peshtigo factory photo


LOVES Wooden Canoes
In the spirit of factory photos, here's one of Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co. at Peshtigo, Wisconsin. My guess is that is the 1930s or 1940s. It is prior to the fire of 1949 that destroyed the one story portion in the foreground.

It was immediately rebuilt. The large three story portion of the complex was destroyed by fire in March 1955. It too was replaced, but with single story buildings.

I bet this photo was taken by someone sticking their head out of a second floor office window of Unit Structures, Inc.


Here's a shot of the March 1955 fire at Thomspon in Peshtigo. It destroyed the large three story wooden framed building. Local residents and plant workers rushed into the buildings to save as many boats as possible. There were unable to save 500 boats that were ready for shipment.

My dad, who worked across the alley, recalls the fire's aftermath. Nothing left but a pile of ashes.


Aerial view of the Thompson Boat works at Peshtigo taken about 1940.

The whitish area in the top portion is the leveling and excavation for the factory building of Unit Structures, Inc. which was under construction in 1940.

My dad started working at Unit Structures, Inc. in 1951. The company was half owned by Thompson family members until 1962.


Great Stuff! Fires were always a huge concern for any commercial wooden boat builder. Do you have the street address for this or any of the other various Thompson factories? I couldn't pick this one out from Google maps. Thanks,

From 1912 to 1971: 493 Ellis Avenue South, Peshtigo, WI 54157
From 1971 to 1980: Highway 41 East, Maple Street, Peshtigo, WI 54157, home to ERDA these days
From 1980 to 1987 or so: 900 Chesaning Street, St. Charles, MI 48655
From 1987 or so to 2002: 7535 Martin Road, St. Charles, MI 48655

From 1925 to 1965 or so: 128 Elm Street, Cortland, NY

T & T Boats, Inc. was in Wausaukee, WI 1960-1965 and these facilities today are occupied by Wausaukee Composites, Inc.

Cruisers, Inc. at the same address since 1953: 804 Pecor Street, Oconto, WI 54153. It was part of Holt Hardwoods facility prior to 1953.

Thomspon Skis, Inc. was in Crivitz, WI, I think on Cedar Street. I know exactly where, I just can't find an address.

Aerial view of the Thompson Boat factory at Peshtigo, WI circa 1950.

The factory complex to the south, running parallel to the railroad tracks, is Unit Structures, Inc., which was half owned by Thompson family members from 1934 until 1962. The white 2 story building that looks like a school is Unit's office building. It was indeed a school house at one time, built in the 1870s or 1880s and moved to this site about 1940. It's still there, used for storage these days. I think I have one of my boats stored in it!

Unit Structures became Sentinel Structures, Inc. in 1973 and that's my employer!

Rebuilding the portion of factory destroyed in 1949 at Thompson Boat in Peshtigo. This is a publicity photo used by Unit Structures, Inc. showing their structural glued laminated timber arches.

1950s photo. Thompson Boat factory at Peshtigo on the left. Note the metal round tubes sticking out of the wall. Those were the steam boxes!

Unit Structures' factory is straight ahead and to the right in this photo.



Here's a picture from about the same vantage point taken 25 December 2010:
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BIG STEMS. Yup, those are stems for boats on the two truck rigs. These are glued laminated timber white oak stems for 165 ft. long US Navy Minesweepers. 1952 photo. The members were manufactured by Unit Structures, Inc. at Peshtigo, WI for Burger Boat at Manitowoc, WI.

In the background of the photo is the factory complex of Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co.


A similar view taken 25 December 2010:
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Here is what I see out of the window when I work in Peshtigo, which has been quite often in the past 6 weeks. This is the former Thompson Boat factory (1912-1971 location). The building seen here was constructed in 1949to repalce one destroyed in a fire.

This old Thompson facility has been empty for the past five years and is available for ownership!