Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New Bedford in Bristol County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Merrill's Wharf

 
 
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
1. Merrill's Wharf Marker
Inscription. On the other side of the Bourne Counting House, the granite building in front of you, is Merrill's Wharf, completed in 1847. The wharf then was the longest in New Bedford port. Built by Edward Merrill for an expanding whaling fleet, this wharf outfitted hundreds of vessels for voyage and offloaded them on return. The wharf provided a shipyard, pump-and block-maker, blacksmith shop, spar shop, paint shop, and space to store 20,000 barrels of whale oil.

Ship carpenters, caulkers, spar makers, riggers, sailmakers, stevedores, ship keepers, coopers, gaugers, and oil fillers scurried about Merrill's Wharf readying ships for the rigors of sea. The return of a ship to port brought merchants, mechanics, and loved ones to welcome home the crew and appraise the offloaded bounty.

In 1848 Merrill built the granite building you see on the wharf's south side, which became known as the Bourne Counting House for Jonathan Bourne, Jr. Whaling agents like Bourne set up counting rooms on the second floor and stored whalebone, ship provisions, and equipment on the first. Sailmakers and riggers occupied the third and fourth floors.

Edward Merrill retired from whaling in 1833 and built an oil manufacturing plant near here. After it burned in 1842, he decided to invest his capital "where it would not suffer" and so built the
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
2. Merrill's Wharf Marker
Close-up view, that is displayed on the marker, of a photograph (used as the background picture for the marker), showing Merrill's Wharf as it appeared during the whaling era.
wharf that bears his name.

There is today an odor of whale oil about Merrill's wharf, contributed by a few hundred casks of oil that happen to be stored there at this time, which brings back memories of departed days to the old citizen who gets a whiff of oil and seaweed once so familiar.
Zephaniah W. Pease, April 1916
 
Erected by National Parks Service, Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 41° 38.018′ N, 70° 55.255′ W. Marker is in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Bristol County. Marker is on MacArthur Drive south of Elm Street, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. This marker is located in the downtown area, along the waterfront, in the vicinity of the New Bedford Harbor, Ferry Terminal. 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's Final Days (a few steps from this marker); Lost Lightship Sailors Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Cape Verde to New Bedford (within shouting distance of this marker); Ernestina's Many Lives (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonel George Claghorn
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
3. Merrill's Wharf Marker
Close-up view, that is displayed on the marker, of two photographs, the one on the left showing a portrait of Jonathan Bourne, Jr., and the one on the right showing a portrait of Edward Merrill.
(within shouting distance of this marker); From Whales to Bales (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Commonwealth of Toil (about 500 feet away); The Dartmouth (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in New Bedford.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
4. Merrill's Wharf Marker
View of the marker, looking south, and the stone building in the right background of the picture is the Bourne Counting House.
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
5. Merrill's Wharf Marker
View of the marker, looking southwest, towards MacArthur Drive, with a view of the Bourne Counting House in the left background of the picture.
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
6. Merrill's Wharf Marker
View of the marker looking east along the wharf.
Merrill's Wharf Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
7. Merrill's Wharf Marker
View of the marker looking south along the waterfront walkway.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 196 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement