New Bedford Pathways Tour #5: North Bedford Historic District Tour

North Bedford Historic District consists of lands north of Kempton Street, south of Clasky Park and between County Street and Purchase Street.

New Bedford Pathways Tour #5: North Bedford Historic District Tour

New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740, United States

Created By: New Bedford Preservation Society

Tour Information

North Bedford Historic District

The North Bedford Historic District consists of lands north of Kempton Street, south of Clasky Park and between County Street and Purchase Street. In the early 1800’s, North Bedford was physically separated from the commercial activity of the original town by the holdings of the Kempton family. The upper reaches of the Acushnet River became the shipbuilding center of Old Dartmouth, and the first homeowners who came to North Bedford were the craftsmen who served this industry. Those who built homes in the North Bedford area were likely to be coopers, spar makers, shipwrights or carpenters and to work in the shipbuilding industries on the waterfront north of the Fairhaven-New Bedford bridge.

In the 1830’s, Kempton Street was the only major east-west street in the area north of Bedford Village. It led from the waterfront up the hill and became Smith Mills Road just after it crossed County Street. This important intersection had been part of the original Kempton family holdings since the purchase of Dartmouth from the native Wampanoags in 1652. By the end of the nineteenth century, it had been long known as Kempton’s Corner.

Tour Curated by: Mark Fuller

Tour Produced by: Patricia Daughton

Photo credits:

Steve Gladstone

Spinner Publications

New Bedford Whaling Musuem

New Bedford Free Public Library

Patricia Daughton

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The Kempton family were farmers, traders and mechanics. As Kempton family grew in prominence and significance, the area known Smith Mills Road became Kempton Street as it crossed into New Bedford. In the subdivision of the Kempton farm in 1... Read more
The Catholic population of North Bedford increased dramatically in the mid-nineteenth century. French Canadians came to work in the new cotton mills and Irish families began to arrive in North Bedford as a result of the Great Famine (Irish ... Read more
The house at 105 Hillman Street was built in 1833. Its first owner was cordwainer (a shoemaker) Caleb Bryant. Its three-quarter width, gable end chimney placement, and splayed window caps are the same as the house adjacent; only the half-ro... Read more
The two similar one and a half story houses at 101 and 105 Hillman Street present excellent examples of the widespread Cape Cod style dwelling. At 101 Hillman is the home of housewright Cornelius Burgess, built in 1831. It is likely that he... Read more
The area of 97 Hillman Street once part of the land holding of the Kempton family. Obadiah Burgess a house wright, erected home in 1830 soon after he purchased the property; however, he never lived here. Upon his death in 1840 his widow Reb... Read more
This Federal style house was built around 1830 for John Walden, after whom the adjacent street is named. Walden, who owned a cooperage (manufacture of wooden barrels), purchased this property from William W. Kempton in 1830. He lived here u... Read more
The modest Federal style half-house immediately behind at 139 Maxfield Street was built around 1835 as Thomas Durfee’s, a ship’s smith, first residence. He lived here until 1839. The splayed window lintels and thin pilasters supporting ... Read more
The house at the northeast corner of Walden and Maxfield Streets is the Greek Revival built around 1840 as the second residence for Thomas Durfee. The wide corner boards, the squared window surrounds, and the wide central entry exemplify Gr... Read more
Leprelate King had this house built in the mid-1850s and resided here with his wife Abby King. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Army in the fall of 1862. King who operated a grocery store King served as a Private in the ... Read more
This mansion house was built in 1830 for Charles Russell, a descendant of the founder of the original Bedford Village. Charles Russell died in an accident in 1836 and his house was subsequently rented to Edward Mott Robinson, the father of ... Read more
This house was built in 1845 for Lydia and Phoebe Russell the daughters of William Russel and Hepzibah Masher. The land was purchased from Abraham Russell “in consideration of good will” and remained their home for years. This two story... Read more
This Greek Revival one-and-a-half story was built by, Paul Howland, a mason, in 1842 Howland built houses in the area of Campbell and State Streets on lots that he owned. He lived at 46 Campbell Street only four years before building a larg... Read more
This Greek Revival home with unusual, flared corner pilaster capitals and pediment trim was the second home Howland constructed for his own use. Howland lived here from 1846 until 1877 when he moved across the street to his new and more sty... Read more
This Second Empire style house was the third house Paul Howland built for himself. Howland had lived across the way at 94 State Street since 1846, but in 1872 he acquired the land and moved into this house in 1877. This home is an example o... Read more
This Swiss Chalet style was built 1844 for Alden Little. Little, who owned a livery stable, lived there only a year and rented the property thereafter. The house was eventually purchased by John Avery Parker, who leased it to his son-in-law... Read more
One of many small homes built on the land of the John Avery Parker estate 53 Willis Street was built between 1832-34. The structure is the last remains of this great John Avery Parker mansion designed by renowned architect Russel Warren. Wh... Read more
Designed by architect, Samuel C. Hunt, this home was built in 1907 for J. Henry Herring in 1907. Herring was a representative of the R.G. Dun mercantile agency at the time. The architect, Samuel C. Hunt was trained as a carpenter as a youth... Read more
This house was also designed by Samuel C. Hunt for Martin and Annie Bartley. Martin Bartley was a partner in the real estate firm of Bartley and Meaney. The block where the house was built was the original sight of the John Avery parker Hou... Read more
The house at 692 County Street, overlooking Clasky Common Park, was built for Walter S. Gordon in 1904. Gordon was the treasurer of the Consolidated Meat and Grocery Company when he commissioned Edgar B. Hammond, of the firm Caleb Hammond a... Read more
Clasky Park was New Bedford’s first city park. New Bedford citizens were conscious of the fact that a “typical” New England town had to have a Town Common, and the park was so designated. Property was first purchased by the city in 18... Read more


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