Created By: New Bedford Preservation Society
72 North Water Street, Rodman Candleworks Building, c. 1810, Federal Style
This Federal style commercial building was built c. 1810 by Samuel Rodman, Sr., for the manufacture of spermaceti candles. Samuel Rodman, Sr. (1753-1835) was born and educated in business in Newport, RI. He married Elizabeth Rotch (1757-1856) in 1780. She was the daughter of William Rotch, Sr.
Rodman joined the Rotch firm in Nantucket and commenced his business in New Bedford in 1798. The site for the candle works, as well as Rodman's second house (built in 1805), were gift lots from William Rotch, Sr. Title to the land remained with Elizabeth Rodman. No land transfer was found for the land until 1890, when it passed from the hands of the Rodman heirs to R. Beetle and David B. Kempton.
After Rodman's death, the Candleworks remained in operation by family members until 1890 The stucco exterior was put on soon after construction. It is interesting to note that the stucco on the two street façades is carefully lined to resemble stone, while the other two façades are left plain. The lunettes, or semi-circular windows, the low hipped roof, and the quoins at the building's corners and window surrounds are elements of the Federal style. The building has seen a variety of uses including bakery, antique shop, picture framery, and interior decorating/furniture refinishing business. Today the building houses a restaurant on the first floor and commercial offices in the rest of the building.
This point of interest is part of the tour: New Bedford Pathways: Tour #4 Waterfront Historic District