Signs of the Time
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
The outward appearance of the brick and brownstone building diagonally in front of you has changed little over the years. However, the signs identifying the ownership and use of the structure have changed repeatedly. It was originally built as a bank in 1854, created to hold the savings of “industrious mechanics, laborers, seamen, widows, minors and others in moderate circumstances.”
In 1899 the Third District Court of Bristol County took over the space and used it until 1914. After a succession of tenants, it was reopened as a bank again in the 1970s. Fleet Bank donated the building to the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) in 1994. When New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park was established in 1996, WHALE donated the old bank to the American people to serve s the park’s visitor center.
Between 1914 and 1975, the “old bank” had various tenants, including a fraternal order and antique shop. In the 1950s and 1960s it housed Johnson’s Auto Parts Store, and what is now the adjacent garden was a parking lot.
Erected by National
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1854.
Location. 41° 38.13′ N, 70° 55.452′ W. Marker is in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Bristol County. Marker is on Williams Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 33 William Street, New Bedford MA 02740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Andrew Robeson House (here, next to this marker); U.S. Custom House-Customary Duty (a few steps from this marker); New Bedford Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War’s First Black Regiment (within shouting distance of this marker); Heroes of Fort Wagner (within shouting distance of this marker); Bourne Warehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Preserving Whaling's Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mariner's Home (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Bedford.
Also see . . . New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park - National Park Service. (Submitted on January 5, 2013, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 4, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 460 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 4, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 2. submitted on September 26, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. 3. submitted on August 25, 2017, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 4. submitted on January 4, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 5. submitted on September 26, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.