What is the old factory across from The Market in Bantam?
At the corner of Routes 202 and 209 in Bantam stands an old factory with a hidden legacy. In 1936, Warren McArthur, a well-known Art Deco furniture designer whose creations epitomized 1930s Hollywood style, relocated to Bantam amid financial troubles. McArthur furniture was impeccably designed and a favorite among the stars. Warner Brothers Studio and the famed Ambassador Hotel in L.A. filled their rooms with these elegant, aluminum framed designs. The Depression took a toll on McArthur’s fortunes. He left L.A. and fled first to Rome, New York, in 1932 only to pull up roots again in 1936 landing in Bantam.
When World War II broke out, Warren McArthur was called upon to put his designs to use for the national cause. In 1940 the factory began constructing lightweight aluminum seats for bombers. An influx of defense workers from surrounding towns, coupled with a shortage of fuel and rubber for tires called for increased housing in Bantam. In response, the federal government constructed a neighborhood of 60 duplex homes on what is now Circle Drive. The new development allowed workers to walk to work during the shortages.
Ever vigilant to potential danger on U.S. soil, an observation tower was built in the north end of town. Manned 24 hours a day, defense workers kept watch for incoming aircraft. Warren McArthur continued making airplane seats after the war. In the late 1990s, demand for Warren McArthur pieces experienced a renaissance in the designer furniture marketplace. Today the factory is owned by Pullman Investment Group, which is actively restoring the building. Pullman partner Roger Bohan says it was clear that “every nook and cranny” of the factory were put to use. No firm plans have been set for the site as yet.