Whaling Capital

Whaling Capital (HM16E5)

Location: New Bedford, MA 02740 Bristol County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 38.142', W 70° 55.26'

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New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

Whaling Capital-In 1857, ninety-five ships and barks left these wharves on whaling voyages. In that year the industry reached its peak, and half of the worldwide whaling was conducted from the New Bedford customs district. Before petroleum was discovered in 1859, whaling was the nation's fifth most valuable industry. Nothing cast a brighter light than sperm whale oil; nothing lubricated high-speed or delicate machinery better.

The city's whaling agents, who managed voyages for vessel owners—-many agents were owners themselves—-were among the richest people in the United States. In 1861 newspapers calculated that if wealth were shared equally, every man, woman, and child here would have more than $1,000, making New Bedford the nation's richest city.

The baleen or "whalebone" of right and bowhead whales made whips, corset stays, skirt hoops, and other strong, flexible goods in a pre-plastic age.

Notwithstanding all we had been told of the thriving conditions of the town and the wealth of its inhabitants, we were unprepared to witness the forest of masts in the harbor and the crowded state of the wharves. A fleet of whale ships and other fishing vessels had a few days before returned, loaded with the most valuable spoils of the ocean. Boston Traveler, July 1830-(Whale ships in port, about 1870-Photos Courtesy New Bedford Whaling Museum)

HM NumberHM16E5
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 3:55pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)19T E 339999 N 4611112
Decimal Degrees41.63570000, -70.92100000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 38.142', W 70° 55.26'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 38' 8.52" N, 70° 55' 15.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)508, 774
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 216-228 MacArthur Dr, New Bedford MA 02740, US
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