Fairhaven Chronology: 1850-1899

 1850: The population of Fairhaven is 4,304.
     A petition to build a bridge from Coggeshall Street in New Bedford to Spooner’s Point in Fairhaven is approved by the state legislature, but the charter expires with no bridge built.

1850, March 15: Artist Lemuel D. Eldred is born to Lemuel and Adeline Eldredge.

1850, July 7: Riverside Cemetery is consecrated. It was created on property donated by Warren Delano II, whose father becomes the first president of the cemetery’s board of trustees.

The first Fairhaven High School
1851: The town purchases the former Methodist Church on Main Street, at a cost of $1,000, for use as a high school. Another $4,500 is spent to adapt and outfit the building.

1852, January 26: Classes begin for the first time at Fairhaven High School.

1853, April 29: Iron arrives from Newport, Wales, for the construction of the Fairhaven Branch Railroad.

1853, September 29: Phoenix Hall is dedicated. The upper story had been the original Congregational Church, built in 1794. The building was jacked up, turned 90 degrees, and stores were built below.

1854: The Fairhaven Branch Railroad opens. Trains will run through town until 1953.
The engine W. L. B. Jenney
1856: The Royal Hathaway School or “Pink Schoolhouse” is built on the property of Royal Hathaway just south of the present-day Acushnet town line.

1858, August 11: The Town House located on Main Street in North Fairhaven is destroyed by a fire of suspicious origin.

1860, February 13: The northern part of Fairhaven is incorporated as the Town of Acushnet.

1861, September 30: Twenty-one year old Henry Huttleston Rogers leaves Fairhaven to seek his fortune in the oil fields of Pennsylvania.

1864: The American Nail Machine Co. of Boston purchases the former Rodman Wharf property on Fort Street. Production begins in April.
     Ahira Kelley Jr. of Harwich Port moves his cod fishing business to Old South Wharf. Fish are dried outdoors on racks.

1864, August 23: A fire beginning in the paint shop of Purrington and Taber at the foot of Center Street spreads to twenty other nearby businesses and homes, causing nearly $10,000 worth of damage.

1867: The American Nail Machine Co. is reorganized as the American Tack Company.

1869, September 8: Between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m., a hurricane strikes, heavily damaging the Fairhaven New Bedford Bridge. The one-hundred foot wooden spire atop the First Congregational Church is blown down. The spire had been an important landmark used as a navigational aid to mariners returning to port.

1870, October 30: Manjiro Nakahama, on a diplomatic trip to America, journeys by train from New York to visit the Whitfield family in Fairhaven.

1872, February 6: The New Bedford and Fairhaven Street Railway is chartered and horse drawn trolley service to Fairhaven begins on September 30.

1872, December 12: The Concordia Lodge is formed.

1873: A new schoolhouse for District No. 5 is built at Naskatucket, on Mill Road about a half mile north of the Mattapoisett Road (now Route 6). Costing $1,200 to build, it replaces an earlier school at the same location.

1876: The Federal government decommissions Fort Phoenix.

1879: Massachusetts passes a law allowing women to vote in elections for School Committee, after passing a reading test and paying the poll tax.

1879, February 18: Charles D. Waldron publishes the first issue of the weekly Star from his home on Oxford Street.

1880: Nye’s Grocery Store is built at the northeast corner of Main and Washington streets. The Nye store had previously been in the cellar of 64 Main street, diagonally across the street.

1880, October 7: At Algonac, the Delano family estate at Newburgh, NY, Sara Delano, daughter of Warren Delano II, marries James Roosevelt.

1881: Lucy A. Davis becomes the first woman elected to public office in Fairhaven when she wins a seat on the School Committee.

1883, January 29: The constitution and by-laws are adopted for the Fairhaven Improvement Association. The first president is Edward Dana.

1883, August 17: Ground is broken for Rogers School, which will be the first public building donated to Fairhaven by Henry H. Rogers.

1885, September 3: Rogers School is dedicated. Students from other parts of town are brought by horse drawn “bus” to the modern new school.

1886: Street car service is extended north of the Fairhaven-New Bedford Bridge to Riverside Cemetery. The horse-drawn cars are operated by the New Bedford and Fairhaven Street Railway Company.

1888, January 3: Franklin Dexter, a descendant of John Cooke, in a lecture delivered to the Fairhaven Improvement Association, says of his Pilgrim ancestor, “his bones doubtless rest in the neglected if not forgotten burying-ground on this side of Oxford Village.” It is the earliest known suggestion that John Cooke may have been buried in what later became Cooke Memorial Park. This assertion, coming nearly 200 years after Cooke's death, has no primary documentation to back it up.
Fairhaven Star Office

1889, December 2: At 3:30 p.m. a switch is thrown in the office of the Fairhaven Star, turning on the first electric lights in the town.

1890: Construction begins on the Coggeshall Street Bridge.
     "Linden Park" is purchased from the estate of John Hawes Jr. George Briggs is the engineer, laying out North William, North Walnut and North Green streets as well as Larch, Linden and Elm avenues.

1890, January 11: The town votes to accept the layout for a road from Main Street to the proposed terminus of the Coggeshall Street Bridge.

1890, September 22: The Coggeshall Street Bridge is opened to travel as specified in the legislative act authorizing the bridge’s construction. The first person to cross with a horse and wagon is Patrick O'Leary, who has to line up planks on the unfinished New Bedford side. The bridge isn’t actually opened to regular traffic until 1892.

1891: Green Street is extended north from Spring Street to Bridge Street.

1892, May 30: The cornerstone of the Town Hall is laid.

1892, June 21: Capt. Joshua Slocum launches the newly rebuilt sloop Spray from Poverty Point. From April 1895 to June 1898 Slocum, in the Spray, will become the first man to sail around the world alone.

1892, August 4: While staying with the Brownells and Delanos at 132 Green Street, Emma Borden, the older sister of Lizzie Borden, receives a telegram from Dr. Bowen urging her immediate return to Fall River because her father and stepmother have been murdered.

1893: The town sells 30 acres of the “Town Farm” west of Main Street to developers who intend to build homes for mill workers. This area, dubbed “Oxford Heights” includes Deane, Morton, Winsor, Morgan and Dover Streets.
     Henry H. Rogers founds the Fairhaven Water Company and construction of the public water system is begun.

1893, January 30: On what would have been the 20th birthday of Millicent Rogers, the Millicent Library is dedicated. The library opens the next day.

1894: The Town of Fairhaven purchases 14 ½ acres at Washington Street and Sconticut Neck Road for a “Poor Farm” and Alms House.

The mansion of Henry H. Rogers

1894, February 22: The Fairhaven Town Hall, a gift of Abbie Palmer (Gifford) Rogers, is dedicated, with Henry Huttleston Rogers’ friend Mark Twain delivering a humorous speech. Three months later on May 21, Abbie Rogers dies in New York following surgery for stomach cancer.

1895: Electric trolley cars begin service in Fairhaven.
     Henry H. Rogers builds his new 85-room summer mansion on property he had purchased south of Cedar Street, from Fort Street eastward. The main house is located on a spot near what is now the intersection of Phoenix and Green Streets.
Oxford School

1896, June 1: The Selectmen and School Committee award a contract for the construction of the four-room, brick Oxford School to Brownell and Murkland of New Bedford.

1896, June 4: Henry H. Rogers marries  his second wife, Emilie Augusta (Randal) Hart.

© COPYRIGHT 2003, 2011, 2013, 2017, 2018 by Christopher J. Richard. All rights reserved.