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If you have any public domain photographs of historical interest to donate, whether scanned or printed please contact the webmaster, Roger Chartier and your submission will be credited if it is displayed on this site.

By Roger Chartier


New Bedford
1800's Wharf Scene

Whaling Ships and oil on a wharf at New Bedford. Photo from late middle to later 1800's.

Click pic to enlarge it.

During the whaling boom sources say that there were as many as 400 whaling ships
that plied the trade out of New Bedford.

The rigging on whaling ships was different from that on a fishing vessel.

There arecurved risers coming up from the sides of whalers.

They were used to hold the entire whale along side the ship when the beast was cut up, processed and the product stored aboard.

Another source states that some 329 whaling ships were registered in New Bedford in 1857
Both statements are probably true depending on the year.

Inevitably, if too many ships were in port at once, there would be a problem accessing, unloading and
loading at the wharfs.

Considering the length of the voyages, as much as 3 years at a time, there were fewer ships in port at one time than were registered from the port.

Beyond the Fish house we can see the buildings that were on the Fairhaven-New Bedford bridge at the time. Fairhaven is in the far background.

Nye oil company started by William Foster Nye was the big refiner of oil in the USA. It was started in his kitchen in 1865 after his return to New Bedford from the Civil war. It also occured in his shop in Richmond, VA.

In 1875, William Foster Nye built his first stone factory on Fish Island on the New Bedford - Fairhaven roadway where the bridge is now. It is seen in the background of this photo.

New Bedford 1800's wharf scene -