- 613 Pleasant Street
- New Bedford, MA 02740
Sculptor: Bela Lyon Pratt (1867-1917). Installation: 1913.
The Whaleman, a gift of distinguished citizen William W. Crapo to the City of New Bedford, was unveiled Jun 20, 1913 on Library Square in the presence of thousands of spectators. This statue of the boat-steerer set up in granite and bronze was erected in remembrance of the energy and fortitude, the toil and enterprise of the men who laid the foundation of the prosperity of this community. It is a tribute to the men who faced dangers, who grappled with difficulties, and who achieved success. Let us hope that in keeping alive the story of the past it may serve to inspire those of the future with confidence and courage to meet the perplexities and duties which await them.
Bela Pratt (1867-1917) had already secured his position as one of America’s most noted sculptors by the time he began work on New Bedford’s Whaleman in 1912. The artist could count among his achievements over 90 public and private commissions, including works for the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Library of Congress, the US Mint and the Boston Public Library. Pratt described the New Bedford job to a family member as “a wonderfully good chance – I feel sure it will be a great success.” (B. Pratt, Boston to Sarah Pratt, 21 Jan. 1012, private collection.)