October 18, 2011

Links To the Sea

National parks continue to help me understand the history and/or character of an area, and today’s park was no exception.  The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in downtown New Bedford interprets the city’s role in the whaling industry.  New Bedford was the preeminent whaling port during the mid-nineteenth century and, at one time, the wealthiest city in the world.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitor Center

U.S. Custom House, the Oldest Continuously Operating Custom House in the U.S.
This park is another partnership between the National Park Service and local organizations, including the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the park has made significant contributions to the revitalization of downtown New Bedford.

Seamen's Bethel

Mariners' Home
Tim has suggested that we take the time to watch the orientation films at the parks we visit, and we have only missed one or two.  These films are usually very well done and put the park into perspective.  I’ve found them to be very worthwhile.  Here in New Bedford the film “The City That Lit the World” explains the history of whaling here, including how whale oil was used for lighting during the nineteenth century.

Whaleman Statue
We finished our visit with a swing by the waterfront and marveled at all of the vessels docked there.  We later determined that the distinctive boats we saw are used to dredge for scallops.

Schooner Ernestina

Scallop Boats

I Know There's a Fish Around Here Somewhere
This afternoon our destination was Mystic, Connecticut, where Tim hopes to learn about his distant relatives, the Greenman family.  Tim’s grandmother was a Greenman, and the Greenmans were instrumental in Mystic’s history.  In the 1830s, three Greenman brothers founded the George Greenman & Co. Shipyard, which is now the site of Mystic Seaport.

The three houses built by the Greenman brothers are preserved at Mystic Seaport, an outdoor museum dedicated to telling the story of America’s relationship to the sea.  Also on the grounds is the relocated Greenmanville Church, which was financed by the brothers.  This section of Mystic was called Greenmanville after the three men.

Historic Photo Identifying the Houses Built by the Three Greenman Brothers in Mystic

George Greenman's House

Clark Greenman's House. This House Contains Mystic Seaport's Administrative Offices.

Thomas Greenman's House.  This House Is Open To the Public.

Greenmanville Church With an Anchor From a British Man-of-War Ship in Front
Mystic Seaport’s research center is open tomorrow afternoon, and Tim will do some digging there.

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