Fairhaven, is a picturesque seaside community on Buzzard's Bay, directly across the harbor from the historic whaling port of New Bedford. The town is located along Interstate Route 195 with easy access to Both Providence, Rhode Island and by connecting highways to Boston and Cape Cod. With its rich history dating back to the earliest... Show all »
Fairhaven, is a picturesque seaside community on Buzzard's Bay, directly across the harbor from the historic whaling port of New Bedford. The town is located along Interstate Route 195 with easy access to Both Providence, Rhode Island and by connecting highways to Boston and Cape Cod. With its rich history dating back to the earliest days of English colonial settlement, Fairhaven attracts many yearly visitors to its historic sites and beaches. This unique maritime community is a lively combination of residences, and fishing, boating, resort and commercial activity.
Settlement began in the 17th century, but conflict with Native Americans during King Phillip's War delayed significant growth until the 18th century. At this time, the local economy subsisted in agriculture. Later, the economy shifted to maritime activities to take advantage of the community's seaside location. Industries such as shipbuilding, whaling and foreign trade centered on the towns wharves. Fairhaven holds the historic distinction of taking part in the war for American independence. The first naval battle of the American Revolution was fought by Fairhaven militiamen aboard the sloop Success in May, 1775. Later, in 1778, the town withstood an attack by the British.
By 1838, Fairhaven was the second busiest whaling port in the country and at its height, the town was the homeport of forty-six ships and 1,324 men engaged in bringing back over $600,000 worth of whale products each year. As whaling declined as an industry, business in the town shifted to tack making. In 1903, the American Tack Companys new plant was said to be the largest and best tack mill in the world.
A remarkable feature of Fairhaven is its abundance of impressive, European-style public buildings built between 1885 and 1906 by Standard Oil Company millionaire Henry Huttleston Rogers, a native of the town. He donated the town hall, library, church, schools, streets and water system. The buildings make up the states finest collection of public buildings, almost all designed by Boston architect Charles Brigham. In the late 1870s, street railway lines connected Fairhaven to New Bedford. This development has led to Fairhaven's growth as a largely suburban community hosting both year-long residents and a summer resort population.
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