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New Bedford, Massachusetts
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This site - work in progress.

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


Local New Bedford, Ma. History

1900 - 1909 In Chronological Order
Follow the timeline through the years


1908 New Bedford - Haycenda Building -

  1908 image - Acushnet Avenue - Hacienda Building
  see the photo page specifically about the Hacienda building
New Bedford became the third largest textile city in the US
as measured by the number of spindles in the factories.

Only Fall River and Lowell outranked the city in the number of looms.
New Bedford was the largest manufacturer of fine cotton goods in the world.

Population was 62,442.
Immigrants included 8,559 French Canadians, 5,389 English, 4,802 Portuguese, 3.020 Irish.
New Bedford's sewer system was increased in all directions of the original system.

Sewer pipes still drained directly into the Acushnet river.

1900 through 1903

Typhoid fever struck

575 people in New Bedford and of that number 93 died as a result of eating contaminated shellfish.

By 1904, the river was closed to shell fishing by the State Board of Health.

The sewers draining directly into the river caused terrible contamination and pollution of the entire river.

The current New Bedford - Fairhaven bridge with an iron turnstile is completed.
The New Bedford "Times" was first published and was in competition with the "Evening Standard" and "The Mercury".
New Bedford's first Polish parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help is established.

1903 On 22 July
The earliest beginnings of the New Bedford Whaling Museum started as the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, with William Crapo as president.

The first location of the collection was in rented rooms in the Masonic Building on the corner of Pleasant and Union street.

In 1904, the membership had grown to almost 700 people. There were by then some 560 artifacts.

In 1906, Henry Huttleston Rogers donated the Bank of Commerce building on Water street and in 1907 the New Bedford Whaling Museum opened.


The Anthony family, owners of the "Daily Evening Standard" bought the rival newspaper "Morning Mercury".

1903 In this year "Sweet Daddy Grace" came to new Bedford from Cape Verde.

He later became a famous preacher and traveled extensively to preach in a rather energetic fashion.
In his travels, he built an enormous following and wealth, as well.

He also maintained a church in New Bedford. (See 1951 and 1960)

The New Bedford Armory was built in 1903. It was finally closed in 2003.

An episode of the TV series Ghost Hunters featured the Armory.
The episode aired on Wednesday November 17, 2004

On Jan. 3, a disabled US frigate fired a cannon shot across the bow of the passing ferry Monhasset.

It was an attempt to signal that it needed a tow.

The Acushnet River is closed to shell fishing by the Massachusetts Board Of Health because of contamination from sewage pollution.
New Bedford's whaling fleet was down to only five ships.
Sperm oil only brought in 52 cents per gallon.
The city ranked 2nd of all of the cities in the USA in production of cotton goods.

Census was 74,362 inhabitants

More than 80% of the inhabitants were not native to New England.

City Hall elevator was installed. See the picture in the right column.
It claims to be the oldest, still running elevator in the country.

Automatic and Bell telephone service competed for business in the same city. (Advert Picture Below)
Some businesses had both services. See the City Directory for 1906 (under directories in left navigation column).

1906 Fire in city hall - New Bedford  - www.WhalingCity.netThe fire in City Hall during a ballot recount of a contested election between Charles Ashley and Thomas Thompson (Ashley won).

The ballots were saved, but the interior of city hall was destroyed.

The fire commissioner blamed the fire on an unknown rat either two legged or four legged that built a nest too close to a steam pipe.

This fire resulted in a renovation to the building and beginning in 1910 it was used as a library.


The Orpheum Theater with 1,200 seats, ran vaudeville, burlesque, and movies until 1960.

It was sold by the Sharpshooters Club() a French club "Les Franc-Tireurs") to Antone DeMello in 1962.

The theater is on the west side of Route 18 in the south end of New Bedford.

There is a group interested in preserving the theater. The web site for the Orpheum Rising Project.

Here is an entertaining video tour of the Orpheum Theater on Youtube

  1907 June 17, 1904

The Barnum & Bailey Circus came to town presenting as usual "The Greatest Show On Earth" and featured the "Balloon Horse Jupiter."

It was a horse who stood on a small platform with a rider on his back while a hot air balloon lifted the two of them up into the air and fireworks burst from the bottom of the platform that they stood on....
That was just one part of the grand spectacle.

Census for 1907 was 62,442 residents.
The fire department began to change from steam engines to gasoline powered engines.
A new New Bedford High School was built on County Street facing straight down William Street on land that once was occupied by the estate of Charles W. Morgan, of whaling fame, and previously the same location was the where the farm house was of the founder of New Bedford, Joseph Russell.
It later had an addition in 1935 when the school had an enrollment of 2,684 pupils.
The Ford Model T came out, and the demand for the cotton yarn used in making tires contributed to the business coming to the city.
  New BEdford Free Public Library 1907 -
New Bedford City Hall and Free Public Library.
Before the fire of 1910 the city hall was on the left and the library on the right.
  1906 Ad for Automatic telephone service in New Bedford, ma. -
1907 Advertisement for phone service.


Colonel Green -
Colonel Green
Son of Hetty Green
elevator - new bedford city hall - 1906 -
New Bedford City Hall

installed in 1906
One of several in the US claiming to be the oldest still operating
City Hall in New Bedford -
This was the library until 1910 when a fire caused the city to move the offices of City Hall into this building at
133 William Street,
and put the library across the street at
613 Pleasant Street