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What is the history of Garver Manufacturing?

Burke Speaker

Garver Manufacturing was a prominent maker of sports shirts and other garments. The factory was located at 1215 S. 13th St. near Marstellar Street in Wilmington.

A building permit for the steel and masonry factory was issued by the city in September 1946. Construction costs were listed as $125,000 (in 1946 dollars).

A photo of the interior of the factory, showing employees busy at their work stations under a network of brightly glowing fluorescent lights, ran in the Morning Star in April 1948.

“It is here that these smartly styled…expertly tailored sport shirts were made by Wilmington workers…under idea working conditions…amid pleasant surroundings,” the photo caption reads.

The plant closed in January 1971. No word on Mr. Blakeman or Louise Walton. Folks enjoyed working there, according to what former employees told Morning Star columnist Celia Rivenbark at a 1996 reunion.

“There was something special about Garver’s, some perfect and rare combination of caring management and loyal workers that made it a terrific place to work,” Rivenbark wrote.

“We were like family,” one former worker told her.

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3 Responses to “ What is the history of Garver Manufacturing?”

  1. On April 4, 2010 at 7:13 am harry yopp wrote:


  2. On April 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm Vera Walker wrote:

    I’d also like to hear from Garver Mfg workers.
    In payroll, we had ‘dozens’ adding machines. Plant workers turned in their tickets from each bundle which would be 1 dz 2 or 1 dz 8 — all sorts of odd numbers. The new item was punch cards and sorting machine. Noisy. Plant workers: sew labels; sew buttons; sew stays; sew sleeves, etc. When shirts did not pass inspection for high quality for Sears, we could buy them for a very small price. The receptionist used a teletype – anyone remember the rhythm of that? I have a Garver Mfg deck of playing cards. Mrs. Louise Walton went to German in spring 1958 for World’s Fair. Mr. Blakeman expected books to be balanced to the penny – “if you’re out a penny, you could be off by a million $” He was a good man.

  3. On October 19, 2010 at 5:34 am Vera Walker wrote:

    I’ve checked back a few times hoping that Celia Rivenbark could find the worker that she originally interviewed and have additional comments.
    If you know more about Garver Mfg contact me:

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