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Town of Fairhaven History and Resources
 
The Town of Fairhaven is a suburban/fishing/resort community on Buzzard's Bay. The town suffered both material damage and loss of life during the raids and battles of King Philip's war and significant settlement took place only after the war. Until the middle of the 18th century, the town's economy was agricultural. Beyond that point there is a shift toward maritime activities such as shipbuilding, whaling and foreign trade focusing on the town's wharves. By 1838, Fairhaven was the second busiest whaling port in the country and at its peak the town boasted 46 ships and 1,324 men engaged in bringing back over $600,000 worth of whale products annually. Discovery of oil in Pennsylvania coming on the heels of a national depression ended whaling and the town turned to such industries as tack making. In 1903, the American Tack Company's new plant was said to be the largest and best tack mill in the world. Prominent Fairhaven resident Henry Huttleston Rogers went to Pennsylvania to learn about the oil industry and after making himself an oil millionaire, Rogers re-made his home town. He donated the town hall, library, church, schools, streets and water system. The buildings make up the state's finest collection of public buildings, almost all designed by Boston architect Charles Brigham. The community began taking on the character of a suburban town in the late 1870's when the street railway connected Fairhaven to New Bedford. At the same time Fairhaven began to develop as a summer resort area with significant rural areas still the site of working farms.  

Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission

 
Community Profile Henry Huddleston Rogers Collection
Fairhaven Local History Links Historic Maps Covering Fairhaven
Federal Census, 1850, Fairhaven The Gifts of Henry Huddleston Rogers
Federal Census, 1860, Fairhaven The Millicent Library
Fort Phoenix