The Benjamin Rodman House
Early whaling merchants lived in elegant houses along this street. But by the time Benjamin Rodman built this Federal style home in 1821, many of his wealthy friends were moving uphill away from this shoreside neighborhood.
Though born into a prosperous whaling family, Rodman committed himself to the city's working poor. He and his wife Susan were founding members of the New Bedford Benevolent Society, created "to devise some means for the relief of the physical and moral wants of the poor of this town." In the 1830s he began championing the abolition of slavery. While whaling wealth is apparent in the city's historic houses, the owners' lives reflected some of the powerful social issues of the time.
Yesterday I suppose you know was an awful storm, but I went in the evening to Ben Rodmanís party. All that clique were there and all talking abolition.
Deborah Weston, April 15, 1839
By the 1890s Rodmanís house was hemmed and on all sides by storefronts and warehouse space. Used as a warehouse for forty years, the mansion was purchased and donated to the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) in 1965. WHALE removed the structures modern additions and restored the building.
Erected by National Parks Service.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Abijah Hathaway House (a few steps from this marker); Bourne Warehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); New Bedford Historic District (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Signs of the Time (about 300 feet away); The Andrew Robeson House (about 300 feet away); U.S. Custom House-Customary Duty (about 300 feet away); Civil Warís First Black Regiment (about 300 feet away); Heroes of Fort Wagner (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Bedford.
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • Charity & Public Work • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 8, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 524 times since then. Last updated on September 8, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 8, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 3. submitted on September 8, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.