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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New Bedford in Bristol County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Working Waterfront

New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park

 

—National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

 
Working Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 30, 2010
1. Working Waterfront Marker
Inscription. Working Waterfront-Standing here during the heyday of whaling you would have seen and heard the bustling of a whaling port preparing for sea: ship carpenters building vessels from great white oak timbers, and caulkers hammering oakum---hemp mixed with tar---into the ships’ seams. Coopers shaped staves for casks that would hold whale oil. And packers packed barrels with hard tack for whalemen to eat at sea.

New Bedford’s wharves were alive with sail riggers crawling about ship decks and masts, tarring the lines and hoisting and fastening on sails. Ship painters worked on new and old vessels afloat and dry—docked for repair. Specialized craftsmen repaired the ships’ tryworks, where blubber was melted into oil. Much work and preparation was always necessary to ensure a safe and successful voyage.

Coopers made casks for many uses and each whaling vessel had a cooper onboard. Some casks were fitted with provisions and others contained extra barrel staves and heads so casks could be made at sea to store whale oil.

Ship carpenters overhauled every whaler that returned to port. A typical New Bedford whaler made six voyages in its lifetime and each voyage typically lasted two to four years. (Photos Courtesy New Bedford Whaling Museum)

The wharves on both sides of the river were lined with mechanics, fitting ships for

Working Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 30, 2010
2. Working Waterfront Marker
long voyages to distant seas…. Hulls were examined, weak spots strengthened, spars rigged and sails overhauled, and new bolts put in.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 41° 38.142′ N, 70° 55.26′ W. Marker is in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Bristol County. Marker is on MacArthur Drive-Pier 3. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Bedford MA 02740, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Whaling Capital (here, next to this marker); From Whales to Flatfish and Scallops (within shouting distance of this marker); Commonwealth of Toil (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Dartmouth (about 300 feet away); From Whales to Bales (about 300 feet away); Centre Street (about 500 feet away); Double Bank (about 600 feet away); Colonel George Claghorn (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in New Bedford.
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Working Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 30, 2010
3. Working Waterfront Marker
Working Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 30, 2010
4. Working Waterfront Marker
Working Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
5. Working Waterfront Marker
View of the marker looking east towards the wharf.
Working Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
6. Working Waterfront Marker
View of the marker looking south along MacArthur Drive.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 313 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234.   5, 6. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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