To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…Ecclesiastes 3:1
I recently came across a book about ship wrecks off Cape Cod and a picture of the Wanderer was featured along with what happened to her during a hurricane in 1924.
My mother’s uncle was one of the Cuttyhunk men that went out to rescue those in peril on that ship. Eight men were lost that day The Wanderer was the last New Bedford whaler to sail out of that port.
At the height of the whaling industry, New Bedford was considered the wealthiest city in the United States.
In many ways it still is…
…and to this day it remains the number one fishing port in America.
An interesting read about the whaling industry and the characters in it can be found in The Day They Shook the Plum Tree by Arthur H. Lewis. The book profiles the life of Hetty Green, who in the year 1900 was worth $100,000,000.00.
The textile industry followed the decline in whaling. At its height, it had 32 cotton-manufacturing companies with textile factories that employed more than 30 thousand people.
Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway traces its origins back to New Bedford. Berkshire Hathaway had 15 plants employing over 12,000 workers with over $120 million in revenue and was headquartered in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Buffett began to purchase the company back in 1962 and in 2010 said it was the biggest investment mistake he ever made.
Many of New Bedford’s stately homes from both the whaling and textiles eras have been beautifully restored and cared for.
I was born in New Bedford and grew up in Dartmouth and still spend a good part of every summer at the “beach” in South Dartmouth. I have fond memories of this once great city and to this day cherish the stories my uncle Leo (Mayor in the late 1930’s/early 1940’s) told me.
New Bedford should have become the Newport of Massachusetts, but it didn’t. After all…
…The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England. It is a land of oil, true enough, but not like Canaan, a land also of corn and wine. The streets do not run with milk, nor in the springtime do they pave them with fresh eggs, yet in spite of this, nowhere in all America will you find more patrician-like houses, parks and gardens more opulent than in New Bedford. Whence came they? … all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea. Melville, Moby Dick