New Bedford Pathways

The New Bedford Preservation Society has created mobile tours of the city’s historic neighborhoods. These tours will give a sense of place by providing the context for the role of history and architecture in the city’s growth and prosperity. Download the app builder PocketSights, search for 02740, and scroll down to “New Bedford Pathways.” Then get to walking!

The current tours are:

New Bedford- More than Colonials: Most of the homes on this walking tour are the result of enormous growth in manufacturing, transportation and commerce in New Bedford from 1850-1900. The homes which grew up along these quiet residential ways are characteristic of the diverse architectural styles of New Bedford.

Old Bedford Village: The are bounded by the Acushnet River, Union and County Streets forms part of the original tract of land, which in 1760 defined what would become the city of New Bedford. The homes in this area built by whaling captains, who had become International merchants, still line the streets of New Bedford. New Bedford also attracted formerly enslaved men and women seeking freedom being a stop in the Underground Railroad and the presence of the Anti-Slavery Society.

Downtown New Bedford: This tour describes the development of the Central New Bedford Business District and the subsequent urban renewal of the historic buildings. The Central New Bedford Historic District possesses many buildings of architectural significance reflecting the wealth and prosperity of the thriving textile industry in New Bedford at the turn of the 20th century.

The Historic Waterfront: This tour encompasses the original ten-acre lot purchased by Joseph Rotch in 1785 from Joseph Russell’s farm to the “Ten Acre Plot.” It was the commercial hub of the early whaling industry. Many of the support businesses of the whaling industry that were in this area included coopers, ship chandlers, insurance brokers, candle house and oil factories. The New Bedford Waterfront Historic District received its destination as a 40c Historic District in 1981.

North Bedford Historic District: (will be released at the end of February 2022) This tour describes Kempton’s Corner, now designated as the North Bedford Historic District that consists of lands north of Kempton Street, south of Clasky Park. The upper reaches of the Acushnet River became the shipbuilding center of Old Dartmouth, and the first homeowners who came to North Bedford were the craftsmen who served this industry. Those who built homes in the North Bedford area were likely to be coopers, sparmakers, and shipwrights.