History of the name of New Bedford; the first was Old Bedford Village
NEW BEDFORD – This is New Bedford, not to be confused with Bedford, but it was Bedford, or rather Bedford Village.
“Our place has long been known as the Village of Bedford,” wrote Daniel Ricketson in “The History of New Bedford, Mass.”, published by the author in 1858, “and to many even at the present day , the sound of this age-old designation is much more familiar than that of the city.”
Ricketson, New Bedford historian, poet, and lawyer, continues: “In fact, a considerable portion of New Bedford natives, those who have reached the meridian of life or higher, generally omit the prefix (which, as previously noted, n was not originally adopted) speaking of the place, and call it only Bedford.
At that time, for many townspeople, “Bedford was the only place they recognized or knew of,” he wrote.
However, the name Bedford already belonged to the town 15 miles northwest of Boston when it was incorporated in 1729. New Bedford was incorporated in 1787.
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In the old village of Bedford
The New Bedford Preservation Society defines Old Bedford Village as the area bounded by Acushnet River, Union, County, and Walnut streets and describes it as part of the original parcel of land that in 1760 defined what would become the town of New Bedford.
That year, Joseph Russell sold lots to shipbuilders, carpenters, and builders, and the village of Bedford was established.
One of the Society’s self-guided tours features Old Bedford Village and begins on Spring Street. The Friends Meetinghouse at 83 Spring St. stands on the site of the first building erected for religious purposes in the village of Old Bedford.
Built around 1870, the Ruth L. Smith House at 27 Seventh St. is one of the few late 19th century houses built in the village of Old Bedford.
It’s also Bedford-Landing
The Bedford-Landing Waterfront Historic District, also known as the New Bedford National Register Historic District, is the only state-designated local historic district in the town of New Bedford.
It was created in 1972 by an act of the New Bedford City Council. This legislation was, in part, a reaction to the urban renewal program that destroyed 30 blocks of New Bedford’s architectural heritage in 1966.
Design guidelines established by the New Bedford Historic District Commission are intended to preserve and protect historic properties and sites within the Bedford-Landing Waterfront Historic District.
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New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park was established in 1996 with boundaries that include the district as well as a segment of Route 18 and lands north of Elm Street. In 2001, the boundaries were changed to be contiguous with the park boundaries.
Standard-Times editor Kathryn Gallerani can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @kgallreporter. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.