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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
1980 to 1989
In Chronological Order
Follow the timeline through the years

Dig Dan's Defendants

Fall River Trial of Big Dan's Defendants
Placed on the National Historic Register:
Built in 1849 Palmer Island Light Station is a historic lighthouse in New Bedford Harbor.
Central New Bedford Historic District is a 29-acre (12 hectare) rectangular area bounded by Acushnet Avenue and the older New Bedford Historic District on the east, School Street to the south, Middle Street on the north and 6th Street in the west. It encompasses 79 buildings, including New Bedford's city hall.
The Cape Verdean News began publication in 1980:

There were 6 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

The Greater New Bedford Community Health Center on 874 Purchase St. opened its doors in 1981.
It was designed to expand access to health care services for low-income people.

There were 7 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

The Rotch -Jones-Duff was bought by WHALE. In this year they moved the Haile Luther and Abijah houses to North Second Street.

Added to the National Historic Register:
The Dawson Building at 1851 Purchase Street in New Bedford was constructed in 1896

New Bedford harbor placed on national priorities list of sites for cleanup under the Superfund legislation.

.There were 5 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

On March 6 the infamous "Big Dan's Bar" rape occurred where Cheryl Araujo was gang raped by several Portuguese immigrant men on a pool table while the patrons watched and did not interfere, despite her screams for help.
Six men were tried. Daniel Silva 26, Joseph Vieira 26, Victor Raposo 23, and John Cordeiro 23 were charged with aggravated rape, while Virgilio Medeiros 23 and Jose Medeiros 22 and were charged as accessories.
By the start of the trial on February 23, 1984 the two, Jose Medeiros and Virgilio Medeiros were also charged with aggravated rape. The two Medeiros' were later acquitted.

In the end, 4 of the men were sentenced to nine to 12 years in prison.
It made international news and was made mention of for quite a long time in the media.
A movie called "The Accused" starring Jodie Foster is based on this incident.

Cheryl became an activist for woman's and victims rights.
In New Bedford, she had become ostracized and so moved to Florida with her daughters and the father of her daughters who had been her high school sweetheart.
She died in an auto accident where she hit a telephone pole while taking her two daughters to a Christmas show in 1986.
Added to the National Historic Register:
Times and Olympia Buildings constructed in 1897 are historic sites at 908 - 912 Purchase street and
880 - 898 Purchase Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Shawmut Diner is a historic diner at 943 Shawmut Avenue in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
The diner was built in 1953.
In 1983, the Paleologos family bought and updated the diner. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and has been featured on the Food Channel. (See page for 1953)


There were11 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

Nelson Macedo was given the job of Mayor from January 1983 until March of 1983.

He was the City Council President during the time that Mayor John Markey became Justice at 3rd District Court. After Mr Macedo's tenure a Special Election was held in March of 1983 and Brian Lawler defeated John Bullard.

Mr. Macedo had been a the City Council President until he became the Mayor.
The author of this website knew about this though Mr. Macedo is not listed in the official list of Mayors for the city.

Cynthia Kruger is listed as 1982 to 1983 and after Nelson Macedo came Brian J Lawler from 1983 to 1985.  Yes, it is confusing to some people.


New Bedford ranked #1 in the country based on the value of the fish landed.

There were 7 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

Holy Family High School closed in 1984.


Added to the National Historic Register:
Bradford Smith Building is a historic building at 1927-1941 Purchase Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The building was built in 1887.

 The last textile mill operating in New Bedford, the Berkshire Hathaway closed.


C F Wing store on Purchase Street closed after many years.

The Roach -Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum was incorporated.

There were 9 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

Added to the National Historic Register
On Steamship Wharf in New Bedford, The Effie M. Morrissey, now renamed the Ernestina, was a schooner skippered by Robert Bartlett that made many scientific expeditions to the Arctic, sponsored by American museums, the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society.

The Schooner Ernestina was designated a National Historic Landmark

There were14 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.


St. Luke's acquired Parkwood Hospital.

Industrial Pre-treatment of waste is required before discharge into sewers.

Sometime after 1975, the City of New Bedford acquired the Butler Flats lighthouse from the Coast Guard because they were going to tear it down.
On June 15, 1987, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

There were 9 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

Orren B. Robbins became the 9th editor of the Standard Times.
The previous editor Donald Clifford was promoted to a corporate vice-presidency on Jan. 1.

There were10 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.

Telephone numbers changed to 508 for New Bedford from 617 which angered a lot of people who had spent a lot of money on the advertizing of their previous numbers for business.

The Massachuisetts Heritage State Park was created in New Bedford.
1988 - 1989
The murder of nine women, and the disappearance of two women who were either prostitutes or involved with drugs, went unsolved.
Their bodies had been dumped at different times along the highways, Rt 195 and Rt 140 in and near New Bedford.
There were two suspects, but one eventually committed suicide and the other had the charges dropped for lack of evidence.
Wikipedia has a good article on the subject of the New Bedford Highway murders

Added to the National Historic Register:
Thomas Donaghy School on 68 South Street is a historic school built in 1905.
Acushnet Heights Historic District roughly bounded by Summer, Weld, Purchase, Pope, County, and Robeson Street.

There were 6 fatal car crashes in the city for this year.