New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA - 1854 - New Bedford
New Bedford, a city, port of entry, and semi-capital of Bristol county, Massachusetts, is situated on a small estuary formed by Buzzard's Bay, 65 miles S. from Boston, lat. 41° 38' 7" N., Ion. 70" 55' 49" W. The city is regularly laid out, on an acclivity commanding a beautiful prospect. It is built largely of wood, though of late a more durable material has been much used. The streets are generally adorned with shade- trees, which, with the ornamental grounds that enclose many of the dwellings, constitute a very attractive feature. The upper portion of the city is remarkable for its neatness and elegance. Among the public edifices the town hall may be mentioned as one of the handsomest buildings devoted to civil purposes in Massachusetts. It is a magnificent granite structure, 100 feet in length, 60 feet wide, and 3 stories high, costing $60,000, including the ground. The custom house is a fine granite edifice, containing the post-office. There are in the city about 20 churches, of the various denominations. Liberal means have been provided for the support of education. The Friends' Academy is a flourishing institution for young ladies, pleasantly situated, and surrounded with beautiful groves. The public schools comprise a high-school and about 35 others. Five or six newspapers are published in New Bedford, 2 of which are dailies. The Social Library, owned by a corporation, contains about 5000 volumes. Next to Boston, New Bedford, in proportion to its population, is perhaps the wealthiest city in New England. It has a greater amount of tonnage employed in the whale fishery than any other port of the United States. This business was commenced here as early as 1764, and successfully prosecuted till interrupted by the war of the Revolution. Since that event, with but few exceptions, it has been constantly increasing. By the discovery of the California gold mines, however, several vessels were diverted from the whale fishery, and fitted out for the port of San Francisco. The shipping of the district, (New Bedford,) June 30, 1852, amounted to an aggregate of 139,062 tons registered, and 10,145 tons enrolled and licensed. Of the former, 125.530 tons were employed in the whale fishery, and of the latter, 9039 tons in the coast trade. The foreign arrivals for the year were 113, (tons, 27,940,) the clearances for foreign ports 192, (tons, 58,340,) of which 174, (tons, 55,347,) were by American vessels. The whole number of American vessels arrived at New Bedford during the year ending December 31, 1852, was 99, of which 59 were employed in the whale fisheries. The value of sperm oil entered at the custom house during the same period was $1,927,511, of whale oil $1,040,829, and of whalebone $444,318; total, 3,412,658. The amount of duties collected on imported merchandise was $24,979.95. The manufactures of New Bedford are extensive and peculiar, being mainly dependent upon the whale fishery. There are in the town upwards of 20 establishments, employing avast amount of capital, in the production of oil of the various kinds, and candles, besides several planing mills and manufactories of cordage, Prussian blue, copper bolts, iron, &c. Coopering and ship building are also extensively carried on. During the year ending June 30, 1852, 14 ships, 1 schooner, and 3 brigs, with an aggregate burthen of 5626 tons were admeasured. The financial institutions are 4 banks, with an aggregate capital of about $2,000,000. New Bedford is connected by railroad with Fall River, Providence, and Boston. It also has steamboat communications with Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Population in 1830, 7692; in 1840, 12,087; in 1850, 10,443; and in 1853, about 17,500.
A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
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