Created By: New Bedford Preservation Society
100 Madison Street, Abby Taber Hunt, 1855 Italianate Style
In Moby-Dick, Melville wrote of New Bedford, “Nowhere in America will you find more patrician-like houses, parks and gardens more opulent than in New Bedford.” The Italianate style home is certainly an example of this. The home was built in 1855 by Captain Henry Taber for his daughter, Abby Taber Hunt. Hunt was a part of the family business of Taber, Gordon & Co., grocers, naval store and ship chandlery, who were successors to Henry Taber & Co. Shortly after moving into the house, Mr. Hunt fell ill, and a room was prepared for him to be confined in the attic, and after his death the room was sealed. When the Swain School of Design owned the property, the room was uncovered, and it was reported that Mr. Hunt’s ghost appeared and roamed the house until the present owner had his spirit removed. After the death of Mr. Hunt in 1862, the home was rented to Mr. and Mrs. John Hoadley. Mrs. Hoadley was formerly Catherine Melville, sister of Herman Melville. It is widely presumed that Herman Melville visited here upon many occasions before the Hoadleys moved to Lawrence in 1866.
The Mansard roof seen here was popular after 1852-7, the years of the rebuilding and extension of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The house was built in the Italianate style with its projecting bay areas and dormers, as well as the brackets under the roof line and the cupola atop the building. The solarium to the right of the entrance was a later addition.
This point of interest is part of the tour: New Bedford Pathways: Tour #1 New Bedford, More Than Colonials