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

Whaling Capital

New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park

 

óNational Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior ó

 
Whaling Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 30, 2010
1. Whaling Capital Marker
Inscription. Whaling Capital-In 1857, ninety-five ships and barks left these wharves on whaling voyages. In that year the industry reached its peak, and half of the worldwide whaling was conducted from the New Bedford customs district. Before petroleum was discovered in 1859, whaling was the nationís fifth most valuable industry. Nothing cast a brighter light than sperm whale oil; nothing lubricated high-speed or delicate machinery better.

The cityís whaling agents, who managed voyages for vessel owners---many agents were owners themselves---were among the richest people in the United States. In 1861 newspapers calculated that if wealth were shared equally, every man, woman, and child here would have more than $1,000, making New Bedford the nationís richest city.

The baleen or “whalebone” of right and bowhead whales made whips, corset stays, skirt hoops, and other strong, flexible goods in a pre-plastic age.

Notwithstanding all we had been told of the thriving conditions of the town and the wealth of its inhabitants, we were unprepared to witness the forest of masts in the harbor and the crowded state of the wharves. A fleet of whale ships and other fishing vessels had a few days before returned, loaded with the most valuable spoils of the ocean. Boston Traveler, July 1830-(Whale ships in port, about 1870-Photos Courtesy

Whaling Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 30, 2010
2. Whaling Capital Marker
New Bedford Whaling Museum)
 
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. Touch 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. Working Waterfront (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Bedford.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Whaling Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
3. Whaling Capital Marker
View of the marker looking east along the wharf.
Whaling Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
4. Whaling Capital Marker
View of the marker looking west along MacArthur Drive.
Whaling Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 30, 2015
5. Whaling Capital Marker
View of the marker looking south.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 6, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 343 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 6, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234.   3, 4, 5. submitted on August 5, 2015, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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