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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


Liberty Hall

Northwest Corner of Purchase and William Streets
New Bedford, Ma.

(click the picture for a larger image)
Read the text below the image.

Before this building was built it was the location of a different white wooden building, First Congregationalist Church.

This location, after the demolition of the Liberty Hall structure, later became where they built the Merchant Bank and then later it had other purposes such as a restaurant etc.

The finest theater hall outside of Boston it self was built here in the building.

Liberty Hall - New Bedford, Ma -


There was a New Bedford Abolitionist Liberty Bell that was rung in the 1850's and 60's as a warning to the blacks that U.S. Marshalls working as slave catchers were coming into and about the town doing their bad work.

In 1795, the first Liberty hall was donated to 1st Congregational Church by William Rotch. It began with the name Liberty Hall in 1834.

In November, 1854 Liberty Hall burned because someone had left a lamp burning through the night. The bell was melted in the fire. Several other businesses nearby were destroyed in the fire. The hall was rebuilt.

That original bell was so melted that it was made into small souvenir bells etc and sold.

In this image, we can see that Purrington and Brown started a crockery store in the north front part of the building in 1865. We can see Oliver Brown a partner in the store standing by a moveable case at the front of his business.

Where the main entrance of the hall is we can see Isaac Case who was the agent for the property at that time.

The man in the wagon with the reins is John A. Jones who was a partner with Perry Brownell, they had a stable business. The guy who is in the wagon reading a paper is Nathan D Brooks an employee of the stable company.

We can see the entrance to Davis, and Gorhams's with Ebenezer Keene standing on the grating and a bit south and near the other side of the entrance is Paul Wing. William Allen is a bit south of Paul, and he was working at the time at William C Taber's book store, picture gallery and library located on Purchase street.

The next store was Davis and Gorham owned by Lorenzo D Davis and James S Gorham. A lame man named Alexander W Simmons who was a cutter for the store was standing in the doorway of the store with a cane in hand. He is next to Mr. Gorham.

The William street entrance has the other partner in the doorway a Mr. Davis. Herbert B Gardener who was a compositor for the Mercury has a package and is standing in front of the Davis and Gorham corner window.

Daniel Murphy is holding a bundle of leather and standing to his right. Daniel had a shoemaker's shop on Ray street (now called Acushnet Ave).

The man in the tall hat was a German cigar maker who had a  job working for Charles A. W. Oesting who had a shop on the south east corner of William and Purchase st.

Up the hill a bit at 59 William is the entrance to the Charles Dehn billiard saloon which was located in the basement. Dehn himself stands in the doorway with his clerk James Welch Jr next to him.

Isaac Cook stands at 61 William street with no hat and a white coat. He and Ellery G Pierce ran a restaurant at 61 and 63 William St.

The piano store owned by Charles Hazeltine is partnered with George R Paddock's watches and clocks store at 65 William St.. See the clock sign out front.

The Dana Bros dining room was at 67, and 69 William St owned by Charles E. and Frank R Dana.

Back up on Purchase street on the second floor to the north you can see Doctor H.H. Sisson's doctor's office sign.

Since January 1, 1867, a Doctor Charles D. Prescott had an office on the southeast corner.

Davis and Company Patent Agents owned by Charles Davis had an office on the third floor in Room 18.

On the third floor again but to the north is the sign for the Eaton and Smith Architects, owned by Solomon K Eaton and Obed F Smith. George F Wing had room 16.

The house north on Purchase street was owned by Eli Haskell. In 1869, it was moved to the southeast corner of Second street and south of Elm street.