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With a population of 95117 and a median income of 43989, New Bedford is an excellent location with an extremely active market.
New Bedford is located right outside of Boston and has been frequently voted one of the best communities to live in. When it comes to buying a house in New Bedford, look no further than The Realty Concierge and our real estate agents in New Bedford MA
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Before the 17th century, the Wampanoag Native Americans, who had settlements throughout southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, were the only inhabitants of the lands along the Acushnet River. Their population is believed to have been about 12,000. While exploring New England, Bartholomew Gosnold landed on Cuttyhunk Island on May 15, 1602. From there, he explored Cape Cod and the neighboring areas, including the site of present-day New Bedford. However, rather than settle the area, he returned to England at the request of his crew.
A group of English Quakers from the Plymouth Colony—who as pacifists held ideological differences with the Puritans on the question of taxes to fund a military—separated and established the first European settlement on the South Coast in 1652. They purchased Old Dartmouth—a region that is now Dartmouth, Acushnet, New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Westport—from Chief Massasoit of the native Wampanoag to start a new society. Whether the transfer of the land was legitimately done has been the subject of intense controversy. Like other native tribes, the Wampanoags did not share the settlers’ concepts of private property. The tribe may have understood they were granting usage rights to the land, not giving it up permanently.
At first, Old Dartmouth’s 115,000 acres (470 km2) of territory was devoid of major town centers, and had isolated farms and small villages instead. At this time, the economy primarily ran on agriculture and fishing. Land availability attracted many Quakers and Baptists from Newport and Portsmouth in Rhode Island, as well as more Puritans migrating from Britain.
The rising European population and increasing demand for land led the colonists’ relationship with the Native Peoples of New England to deteriorate. European encroachment and disregard for the terms of the Old Dartmouth Purchase led to King Philip’s War in 1675. In this conflict, Wampanoag tribesmen, allied with the Narragansett and the Nipmuc, raided Old Dartmouth and other European settlements in the area. Europeans in Old Dartmouth garrisoned in sturdier homes—John Russell’s home at Russells Mills, John Cooke’s home in Fairhaven, and a third garrison on Palmer Island.
A section of Old Dartmouth near the west bank of the Acushnet River, originally called Bedford Village, was officially incorporated as the town of New Bedford on February 23, 1787 after the American Revolutionary War. The name was suggested by the Russell family, who were prominent citizens of the community. The Dukes of Bedford, a leading English aristocratic house, also bore the surname Russell. (Bedford, Massachusetts had been incorporated in 1729; hence “New” Bedford.)
The late 18th century was a time of growth for the town. A small whale fishery developed, as well as modest international trade. In the 1760s, between the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution, shipwrights, carpenters, mechanics, and blacksmiths, settled around New Bedford harbor, creating a skilled and comprehensive maritime community.
New Bedford’s first newspaper, The Medley (also known as the New Bedford Marine Journal), was founded in 1792. On June 12, 1792, the town set up its first post office. William Tobey was its first postmaster. The construction of a bridge (originally a toll bridge) between New Bedford and present-day Fairhaven in 1796 also spurred growth. (Fairhaven separated from New Bedford in 1812, forming an independent town that included both present-day Fairhaven and present-day Acushnet.)
Nantucket had been the dominant whaling port, though the industry was controlled by a cartel of merchants in Boston, Newport, and Providence. In the 1760s, Nantucket’s most prominent whaling families moved to New Bedford, refining their own oil and making their own premium candles.
The American Revolutionary War completely paralyzed the whaling industry. British forces blockaded American ports and captured or destroyed American commercial ships; they even marched down King’s Street in New Bedford (defiantly renamed Union Street after the Revolution) and set businesses on fire.
Nantucket was even more exposed, and the physical destruction, frozen economy, and import taxes imposed after the war obliterated previous fortunes. New Bedford also had a deeper harbor and was located on the mainland. As a result, New Bedford supplanted Nantucket as the nation’s preeminent whaling port, and so began the Golden Age of Whaling.
After the War of 1812’s embargo was lifted, New Bedford started amassing a number of colossal, sturdy, square-rigged whaling ships, many of them built at the shipyard of Mattapoisett. The invention of on-board tryworks, a system of massive iron pots over a brick furnace, allowed the whalers to render high quality oil from the blubber. This allowed the whaling ships to go out to sea for as long as four years, processing their catch while at sea. Ships from New Bedford came back to port with barrels of oil, spermaceti, and occasionally ambergris.
Whaling dominated New Bedford’s economy for much of the century, and many families of the city were involved with it as crew and officers of ships. The Quakers remained prominent and influential in New Bedford throughout the whaling era. They brought religious values into their business models, promoting stability as well as prosperity, investing in infrastructure projects such as rail, and employing without discrimination. They established solid social and economic relationships with Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, integrating New Bedford into the urban northeastern economy.
Ten thousand men worked in the whaling industry. During this period, New Bedford’s population increased from approximately 4,000 in 1820 to about 24,000 in 1860. At the height of the whaling industry in 1857, the harbor hosted 329 vessels worth over $12 million, and New Bedford became the richest city per capita in the world.
On March 18, 1847 the town of New Bedford officially became a city; Abraham Hathaway Howland was elected its first mayor.
The Quakers of New Bedford applied their principles of egalitarianism and community-building in their businesses. On the boats, at the docks, at the factories, or in the shops—British, Wampanoag, Cape Verdean, Azorean, Irish, and West African hands found work in New Bedford.
New Bedford also became one of the first fermentation centers of abolitionism in North America, and an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Many people were attracted by New Bedford’s relatively open-minded atmosphere. For example, Paul Cuffe—an Ashanti-Wampanoag Quaker and self-made tycoon—among several other remarkable achievements earned black property owners in New Bedford the right to vote decades before Abraham Lincoln even signed the Emancipation Proclamation.Lewis Temple, an African-American blacksmith, invented the Temple toggle iron, which was the most successful harpoon design.Frederick Douglass, the famous social reformer and orator, also found amnesty in New Bedford and worked at the wharf for three years.
The whaling industry went into decline after the 1859 discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania. Each decade since then saw a gradual decrease in whaling work, activity, and revenue. During the Civil War, the Confederacy engaged in commerce raiding with ships such as the Alabama, the Florida, and the Shenandoah, trying to attack the Yankee whaling industry and sabotage the US economy. Additionally, the US federal government bought several inactive whalers, filled them with stones, sand, and dirt, and towed them to Charleston, South Carolina where the Union Navy sank what became known as the Stone Fleet in an unsuccessful attempt to blockade the Confederate bay. Along with the poor business and low whale populations, this dealt a potent blow to a failing industry.
In the midst of this decline, greater New Bedford’s economy became more dependent on the textile industry, which began to eclipse the whaling industry in the late 19th century. The mills grew and expanded constantly, eventually comprising multiple sites along the Acushnet River. In 1875 alone, the Wamsutta Mills processed 19,000 bales of cotton into 20 million yards of cloth, which had a wholesale value comparable to that of the entire whaling catch, and continued to produce over 20 million yards of cloth yearly after 1883. The Wamsutta Mills remained the world’s largest weaving plant until 1892.
The textile mills redefined wealth in New Bedford, and gave birth to a prosperity greater than that of the whaling industry. New Bedford, funded by industrial fortunes, developed a thriving art scene. The Mount Washington Glass Company (which later became Pairpoint) crafted works of glass and silver for the newly affluent class, and examples of these works can be seen today on the second floor of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Until 1800, New Bedford and its surrounding communities were, by and large, populated by Protestants of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Dutch origin. During the first half of the 19th century many Irish people came to Massachusetts. In 1818, Irish immigrants established the Catholic mission that built St. Mary’s Church. Later in that century, immigrants from Portugal and its colonial possessions in the Atlantic—Cape Verde, the Azores, and Madeira—began arriving in New Bedford and the surrounding area, attracted by jobs in the whaling industry; many had family members who had worked on whaling ships. As the Portuguese community began to increase in population, it established the first Portuguese parish in the city, St. John the Baptist (1871). French Canadians also secured a foothold in New Bedford at about the same time, and they built the Church of the Sacred Heart in 1877.
Similarly, Polish immigrants began arriving in the late 19th century and established the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in 1903. A number of Jewish families, arriving in the late 19th century, were active in the whaling industry, selling provisions and outfitting ships. During the years leading up to the First World War, a sizable eastern-European Jewish community joined them in New Bedford. Some became prominent merchants and businessmen, mainly in textiles and manufacturing.
Fishing and manufacturing continue to be two of the largest businesses in the area, and healthcare has become a major employer. The three largest single employers based in New Bedford are Southcoast Hospitals Group, one of the top ten employers in Massachusetts (healthcare), Titleist (golf clubs, balls, apparel, manufacturing), and Riverside Manufacturing (apparel manufacturing).
According to a 2001 study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis, the three largest employment sectors in the Greater New Bedford area (the area includes New Bedford and Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Lakeville, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, and Wareham) were as follows: services (26% of total employment); wholesale trade (22%); manufacturing (19%). The largest industries by employment in the area were as follows: health services, eating and drinking places, wholesale trade, food stores, and social services.
In 2002, the city received $61,194,358 in taxation revenue, $44,536,201 in local receipts, and $12,044,152 classified as other available.
In 2005 the unemployment rate was 7.3%, having dropped throughout the 1990s from 12.5% to 5.3% in 2000, and then having risen to 10.4% in 2003. By 2009, in the midst of the economic crisis of the era, the unemployment rate got as high as 12.4%.
In 2005, the city received $104,925,772 for education, and $22,755,439 for general government from the State of Massachusetts.
In 2016, the city hopes its proximity to Massachusetts’ southern coastline will allow it to become a center for the growing wind energy market. Three companies, OffshoreMW, Deepwater Wind, and DONG Energy, have leased portions of New Bedford’s Marine Commerce Terminal for the staging of turbines and platforms.
In 1847, the New Bedford Horticultural Society was begun by James Arnold.
The Ash Street Jail, which houses inmates from Bristol County, is located in New Bedford. It opened in 1829 and is the oldest continuously operating jail in the United States.
Fort Taber and Fort Rodman (also called the “Fort at Clark’s Point”) were built during the American Civil War and are now in Fort Taber Park. Both forts are often called Fort Taber, including in some references.
New Bedford is located at(41.651803, −70.933705). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.1 square miles (62.5 km2). Of the total area, 20.0 square miles (51.8 km2) is land, and 4.1 square miles (10.7 km2), or 17.13%, is water. New Bedford is a coastal city, a seaport, bordered on the west by Dartmouth, on the north by Freetown, on the east by Acushnet and Fairhaven, and on the south by Buzzards Bay. From New Bedford’s northern border with Freetown to the Buzzards Bay coast at Clark’s Point the distance is approximately 14 miles (23 km). Across New Bedford east to west is a distance of about 2 miles (3.2 km). The highest point in the city is an unnamed hill crossed by Interstate 195 and Hathaway Road west of downtown, with an elevation greater than 180 feet (55 m) above sea level.
New Bedford Harbor, a body of water shared with Fairhaven, is actually the estuary of the Acushnet River where it empties into Buzzards Bay. The river empties into the bay beyond Clark’s Point, the southernmost point of the city. To the west of Clark’s Point is Clark’s Cove, which extends landward approximately one and a half mile from the bay. Just south of Palmer’s Island, beginning near Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven, lies a two-mile-long hurricane barrier, constructed in the 1960s to protect the inner harbor where the fishing fleet anchors. Along with Palmer’s Island, the city also lays claim to Fish Island and Pope’s Island. Between these two islands lies one of the three sections, the central section, of the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge. The central span, a swing bridge, connects the two islands as well as allowing boats and ships passage to the upper harbor. Two conventional bridges connect each of the islands to the nearest mainland, Fish Island to New Bedford and Pope’s Island to Fairhaven. In addition to the harbor, there are several small brooks and ponds within the city limits.
There are several parks and playgrounds, some with splash pads, scattered throughout the city, with the first four being primary parks:
New Bedford and surrounding communities are a part of the Providence metropolitan area. The Greater Providence-Fall River-New Bedford area is home to the largest Portuguese-American community in the United States.
At the 2010 census, there were 95,072 people, 39,204 households and 24,990 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,760 per square mile (1,799/km2). There were 42,781 housing units at an average density of 2,063/sq mi (797/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.17% (66.1% Non-Hispanic) White, 9.69% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 13.51% from other races, and 3.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 16.11% of the population. The city is very multi-cultural and diverse. The ethnic makeup of the city is estimated to be 33.8% Portuguese, 10.1% Puerto Rican, 9.1% French, 8.8% Cape Verdean, 6.9% Irish, 5.3% English.
There were 39,208 households, of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 20.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.01.
Age distribution was 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.
The median household income was $37,569, and the median family income was $45,708. Males had a median income of $37,388 versus $27,278 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,602. About 17.3% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.1% of those under age 18 and 15.7% of those age 65 or over.
New Bedford is governed by a Mayor-Council form of government. The City Council members serve two-year terms while the Mayor serves four-year terms, both positions having no term limits. The current mayor, former assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell, defeated State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral in the 2011 mayoral election.
The New Bedford Police Department patrols the city from four stations. The main station is on Rockdale Avenue in a converted supermarket plaza and replaces the former headquarters (located downtown). There are also branches in the North End (at the intersection of Tarkiln Hill Road and Ashley Boulevard), South End (along Cove Street near the end of Route 18), and Downtown (on Pleasant Street near City Hall). The Chief of Police is Joseph Cordeiro.
There are four post offices, the Central (modeled after New York’s James A. Farley Post Office) located downtown, one in the South End, and two in the North End.
The city provides weekly trash and recycling pickup. The city also formerly operated a trash dump in the Mount Pleasant area of town between the regional airport and the Whaling City Golf Course. However, owing to pollution concerns, it was closed in the 1990s.
The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office operates the Ash Street Jail and Regional Lock-Up and the Juvenile Secure Alternative Lock Up Program (JALP) in New Bedford. The Ash Street jail houses over 200 pre-trial prisoners and a few sentenced inmate workers for the system. JALP houses up to 12 pre-arraignment juvenile prisoners.
New Bedford is represented in the state legislature by officials elected from the following districts:
The Third Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police, located nearby in Dartmouth, patrol New Bedford.
The city is part of Massachusetts’s 9th congressional district, represented by U.S. Representative William R. Keating. The state’s junior (Class I) U.S. Senator is Ed Markey, elected in a special election in 2013. The state’s senior senator is Elizabeth Warren, re-elected in 2018.
The city of New Bedford is currently protected 24/7, 365 by the city of New Bedford Fire Department(NBFD). Established in 1834, the New Bedford Fire Department currently operates out of seven Fire Stations, located throughout the city in two Districts, under the command of two District Chiefs per shift. The New Bedford Fire Department currently maintains and operates a fire apparatus fleet of seven Engines, three Ladders, one Fireboat, one Air Cascade Unit, one Foam Trailer, and one ARFF Crash Rescue Unit (cross staffed by Engine 7)based at New Bedford Regional Airport and 4 reserve apparatus (3 engines, 1 ladder). The NBFD is made up of 203 full-time uniformed professional firefighters, including a Chief of Department, a Deputy Chief, 10 District Chiefs, 12 Captains, 29 Lieutenants, 152 Firefighters, 4 Fire Investigators, and 5 Civilian Personnel. The New Bedford Fire Department responds to approximately 15,000 emergency calls annually.
In 2015, the New Bedford Fire Department received the “Class 1” ISO (Insurance Service Office) distinction becoming just the 3rd city in the state, Boston and Cambridge being the other two, to receive such a rating. New Bedford has been known to be a very aggressive interior attack department when responding to fire emergencies, and has been considered to be among the best in the state.
Below is a complete listing of all fire station and fire apparatus locations. In addition to the seven Fire Stations, the NBFD also operates a fire apparatus maintenance facility/repair shop at 311 Liberty St., an Emergency Management facility at 834 Kempton St., and a Fire Museum at 51 Bedford St.
Fire Headquarters is located at 868 Pleasant St. and the Fire Prevention Bureau is located at 1204 Purchase St.
The Port of New Bedford is a major harbor for freight and passenger services, generating over $9.8 billion in economic value annually. The port serves as a break-bulk handler of perishable items, including fruit, fish, and a variety other cargo. The port is also a frequent stop for cruise ships, expecting an upwards of thirty cruise ship calls in 2006. One public and several private marinas offer limited transient dockage for recreational boats.
A handful of private ferry services also originate from New Bedford. One such company, SeaStreak, offers catamaran fast ferry service to Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, both in Martha’s Vineyard, as well as Nantucket. A separate passenger line, the Cuttyhunk Ferry Company, runs scheduled ferry services from New Bedford to Cuttyhunk Island. The neighboring town of Fall River is served by seasonal services to Newport and Block Island, both in the state of Rhode Island. The history of ferry service from New Bedford dates back to May 15, 1818, when a steamboat entitled The Eagle carried six hundred passengers across the Nantucket Sound.
New Bedford has historically been a major city for whaling and commercial fishing, and remains an important site for the latter to this day. As of 2020, the Port of New Bedford is the number one fishing port in the United States, in terms of dollar value of catch. New Bedford fisherman landed 124 million pounds of fish in 2015, valued at $322 million, and the fishing industry accounts for the vast majority of the Port’s annual economic value.
New Bedford Regional Airport (EWB), a towered Class D airport offering two 5,400-foot (1,600 m) runways and a precision Instrument Landing System, is located in the central portion of the city with easy access to major highways.
Frequent scheduled passenger service is provided to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard by Cape Air and Southern Airways Express. As of 2020, New Bedford Regional Airport serves as the New England Fleet Base for Southern Airways Express, providing maintenance, storage, and offices for the Airline.
In addition, the Airport provides a wide-range of General Aviation and Corporate Jet services, including Aircraft Maintenance, Fuel, and Part 61 Flight Instruction.
Interstate 195 is the main freeway through central New Bedford, traveling from Providence, Rhode Island, to Wareham. Additionally, U.S. Route 6 runs from east to west through the city as well. US 6 leaves the city toward Cape Cod over the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge, a swing truss bridge, and the Popes Island Bridge. New Bedford also serves as the southern terminus of MA Route 140, which is a freeway that connects to MA Route 24 in Taunton on the road north to Boston. MA Route 18, the extension of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (which travels through downtown), is a freeway for the short stretch connecting I-195 to US 6 and the port area.
The city bus terminal offers local and long-distance bus connections. A free shuttle bus connects the bus terminal and the ferries. The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) provides bus service between the city, Fall River, and the surrounding regions.
Peter Pan Bus Lines makes a New Bedford stop on a New York City to Hyannis (Cape Cod) route. As of October 2006, private carrier DATTCO provides daily commuter bus service to Boston via Taunton.
The MBTA has proposed renewing commuter rail service to the city. As of May 14, 2006, total capital costs for commuter rail service to New Bedford were projected to be $800 million, and the project has not yet been funded by the state; which is still reeling financially from the financial excesses of the Big Dig project in Boston.CSX Transportation (formerly Conrail) provides freight rail service to New Bedford, terminating at the New Bedford Rail Yard in the port area. Until 1959, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad provided train service to New Bedford from Boston and Providence via Taunton.
On March 15, 2017, MassDOT filed a notice of project change in order to advance South Coast Rail service serving both New Bedford and Fall River using the existing Middleborough/Lakeville Commuter Rail Line.
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