Fairhaven Chronology: 1950 - 1999

1950, June 29: The first meeting of the North Fairhaven Improvement Association is held at Oxford School. The meeting is organized by Walter Borowicz and Joseph Oliveira.

1950, October 31: The North Fairhaven Improvement Association holds its first Halloween Horribles Parade at Oxford School.

1951: Dana Farm ceases its retail dairy sales.

1951, February 28: The Whitfield family’s ownership of 11 Cherry Street ends with the sale of the house to Lucian E. Long.

1951, Fall: Construction begins on additions to the East Fairhaven School and the Oxford School.

1952, March 8: The Town votes to purchase Plot 18, Lot 77 and buildings thereon, adjacent to Benoit Square Memorial for park purposes. The Selectmen are authorized to dispose of the buildings at public auction to be removed from the property as soon as possible.

1953, March 30: Railroad days in town come to an end when the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad closes the Fairhaven line.

1954, August 31: Hurricane Carol strikes, causing millions of dollars of damage.

1956: Town Meeting approves a Planning Board proposal to increase residential lot sizes from 6,000 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft. The annual report notes that this is because of “the building trend of ranch houses and capes with breezeways and attached garages.”

1957: Two self-supported steel fire escapes are built alongside the main building to comply with state codes that could have resulted in the second and third floors of the building being closed. There is public outcry that the “monstrosities” mar the architectural beauty of the building.

1957, March 12: The Millicent Library starts its Bookmobile service using a vehicle funded with $3,220 from the Philip E. Young Memorial Fund.

1957, March 23: Town meeting votes to appropriate $350,000 to build and equip an addition to Rogers School.

1957, June 7: Ground is broken for the Fairhaven Junior High School, which will open the next year with Elizabeth I. Hastings as its first principal.

1957, June 30: The Town of Mattapoisett withdraws from the school superintendence union with Fairhaven.

1957, November: School Superintendent Flavel Gifford submits his resignation, to go into effect no later than June 30, 1958. He has served for 20 years.

1958, March 31: Lynwood P. Harriman becomes Superintendent of Schools. 

1958, July: Congress authorizes the construction of the New Bedford-Fairhaven-Acushnet Hurricane Barrier to protect the inner harbor from destructive tidal surges during storms.

1958, September: The Fairhaven Junior High School opens with Miss Elizabeth I. Hastings as its principal.

1959: The development of "Hamlet Homes" begins in East Fairhaven. 

1960, March 19: Town Meeting votes to sell the Town Infirmary or “Poor Farm” property at Route 6 and Sconticut Neck Road for $40,000 to Melmar Corporation of Delaware, a developer who will build the “Brunswick Lanes” bowling alley.

1960, July 1: Waterfront property purchased by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management lying east of Fort Phoenix is declared a State Beach.

1961: Wah May Restaurant opens on Center Street.

1962, July 29: The Fairhaven Sesquicentennial Parade and an evening band concert in Cushman Park cap a week-long celebration of the Town of Fairhaven’s 150th Anniversary.

1962, November 17: Ground is broken for the New Bedford-Fairhaven Hurricane Barrier which will be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

1964, September: A new ninth grade wing and large auditorium on the north end of the Junior High School are occupied for the first time. Ninth graders are moved here to alleviate overcrowding at the high school.

1964, October 11: The new St. Joseph School at the corner of Spring Street and Homestead Avenue is dedicated, with Auxiliary Bishop James J. Gerard officiating. The School was designed by Israel T. Almy of Fall River and built on land donated by the Order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 

1965: Fairhaven's population is 15,642.

1965: Peirce and Kilburn Shipyard becomes Fairhaven Marine.

1965: The old St. Joseph's School, previously the original church, is demolished and the lot is used for parking.

1965, April 4: Rex Monument Works of New Bedford moves the Henry H. Rogers monument on the traffic island at Huttleston Avenue and Main Street to the southwest corner of the high school lawn. 

1965, August: A new elementary school on Sconticut Neck is dedicated and named in honor of Leroy L. Wood, a retired school bus driver.

1966, May 21: A ceremony marks the completion of the Hurricane Barrier.

1966: The first phase of Green Meadows public housing at 1-40 McGann Terrace is completed by the Fairhaven Housing Authority. Another 52 units will be added in 1971.

October 30, 1966: The new St. Mary’s Church is dedicated.

1967, June 1: Fairhaven Junior High School is officially renamed Elizabeth I. Hastings Junior High School, after its principal, who celebrated her 69th birthday the same day.

1968, March 14: Charles Pittle sells to Berdon Inc. the property which will become Fairhaven’s first large-scale shopping plaza. Mammoth Mart opens in Berdon Plaza later in the year.

1968, July 26: Centre Methodist Church acquires 63 Green Street to use as a parsonage.

1968, September 28: An agreement is signed allowing the town to take over the Fairhaven Water Company. The company’s stock, held by the trustees of the Millicent Library, is transferred to the town.

1969, April 2: A tragic house fire at the corner of Blackburn and Main Streets causes the death of three young boys, Alan, Kevin and Glen Weeks.

1971: Robert Browne sells Browne's Pharmacy, which becomes Phoenix Pharmacy.

1971, April 3: Town Meeting votes to establish a Historical Commission under section 8D of Chapter 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

1971, September: Macomber-Pimental Field, a recreational park on Bernese Street on Sconticut Neck, is created in memory of three boys, Charles and Russell Macomber and Mark Pimental who drowned in a boating accident on March, 6, 1971.

1972: Weber Torres reopens Keith Theater with the new name Oxford Cinema.

1972, April 25: The 4th Old Dartmouth Militia, a historical reenacting group formed by Donald R. Bernard, is incorporated.

1973: After changing its name from the Fairhaven Institution for Savings to Fairhaven Savings Bank the previous year, the bank builds a new headquarters at the junction of Washington Street and Huttleston Avenue.

1973, Fall: A “portable” classroom building is installed behind Oxford School to accommodate the newly established public kindergarten program.

1974, September 6 & 7: Organized by Donald R. Bernard, a two-day reenactment of the 1778 Battle of Bedford is staged in New Bedford, Acushnet and Fairhaven.

1975, June 28: A Colonial Fair, in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial, is held in the center of town. The event’s success leads the Fairhaven Improvement Association hold an annual Homecoming Day Fair.

1976, January 1: Mrs. Mary D. Silveira, 67, is murdered in her home at 235 Green Street. The case is never solved.

1977: The Fairhaven Kmart opens.

1977, September 20: The vacant Prefontaine’s/Anchor Aquarium building at Main and Hawthorne streets is destroyed by fire.

1978, February 6: The town is buried under about 26 inches of snow accompanied by hurricane force winds in the "Blizzard of '78."

1980: Peabody Properties opens Fairhaven Village Apartments on the former Sacred Hearts Academy property at Main Street and Howland Road.

1980, May 1: The first issue of the weekly Advocate is published by Gilbert Vieira.

1981, June: The Job C. Tripp elementary school is closed. 1982, June 22: Classes are held for the last time at the Edmund Anthony Jr. School.

1984: Roger V. Judge buys Fairhaven Marine and changes the name to Fairhaven Shipyard.  
1984: Under new ownership Oxford Cinema becomes the Bijou Theater.

1985: Publication of the weekly Free Press is begun by Ruth and William Galary. It will continue until December 15, 2005.

1985: The Fairhaven Drive-In Theater at the intersection of Route 6 and Bridge Street closes after about 30 years of operation.

1985: Manufacturing at the Atlas Tack Co. factory is shut done for good.

1985, February 10: Opening ceremonies are held for the Job Paths program for mentally disabled adults at the former Job C. Tripp School.

1985, September: Elizabeth I. Hastings Junior High School is changed into a middle school, with sixth grades moving there from the elementary schools.

1987: The Fall River Diocese of the Catholic Church dissolves the Sacred Hearts Church parish in North Fairhaven.

1987, May: Dr. Ronald B. Hoekstra becomes Superintendent of Schools following the retirement of Lynwood P. Harriman.

1987, September 24: At a special Town Meeting, it is voted, against the recommendation of the Finance Committee, to allocate $15,000 to send a group of townspeople to Japan in December to sign the Sister City agreement in Tosashimizu, Japan.

1987, September 30: Volume 1 Number 1 of the Fairhaven Free Press is published by Ruth and Bill Galary.

1987, October 4: Japanese Crown Prince Akihito and his wife Princess Michiko visit Fairhaven. 

1987, December 2: A Sister City agreement is established between Fairhaven, New Bedford and Tosashimizu, Japan, to promote friendship and cultural exchange.

1988: Prompted by the lobbying efforts of the citizens group Save West Island, Inc., the Commonwealth of Massachusetts buys 338 acres on the east side of the island for preservation.

1988: Fairhaven Institution for Savings is acquired by Citizens Bank.

1988: Selectman Walter Silveira Sr. dies in his 44th year of service on the Board of Selectman, the longest serving person in that office in town history.

1988: After serving for ten years as the superintendent of the Department of Public Works, Jeffrey Osuch is hired as the Executive Secretary to the Board of Selectmen.

1988, July 24: The first Manjiro Festival is organized by the newly formed Fairhaven/New Bedford-Tosahimizu Sister City Committee.

1989: The Fairhaven Housing Authority completes Anthony Haven apartments at the former Anthony School.

1989, December 13: Miss Elizabeth I Hastings dies at the age of 91. She had been employed in the school department from 1921 until 1968 as a teacher, band director, and principal of the Tripp and Anthony elementary schools and of the Elizabeth I Hastings Junior High School. She also served 12 years on the school committee following her retirement at the age of 70.

1990: The Fairhaven Commons plaza opens at Alden Road and Bridge Street, with an A&P grocery store as its main anchor.

1990, February 21: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency places the 20-acre Atlas Tack property on its National Priorities or “Superfund” cleanup list.

1990, October 20: A recycling program is started at the town landfill on Bridge Street. Aluminum, tin, glass, certain plastics, newspaper, cardboard and white metals. A leaf composting operation is begun as well.

1991, April 1: Ruth Galary becomes the first woman in the town’s history to be elected to the Board of Selectmen. She will serve one term.

1992: Wal-Mart opens in Fairhaven Commons plaza.

1992, February 16: Don Pedro San Juan, 40, dies in an early morning house fire at 2 West Street. His wife, four children, and downstairs neighbors survived the fast-moving blaze.

1995, May 15: The Fairhaven-New Bedford Bridge is closed for major repairs that take eleven months. Just 18 days after its April 15, 1996, reopening, the bridge’s two new transmission units breakdown and the bridge is closed for another three weeks.

1995, December 15: Ground is broken for a new Hampton Inn hotel to be built by LaFrance Hospitality between Alden Road and Route 240. 1996,

April 1: After a year-long controversy during the planning of the high school expansion project, a non-binding referendum question regarding “Room 7” appears on the town’s annual election ballot. It is voted 1,567 to 929 that the student desks and chairs in “Room 7” of Fairhaven High School be kept in place.

1996, May: The former Center-Green Rest Home, 109 Green Street, is sold and the home is converted back into a single-family dwelling.

1996, August 23: The National Bank of Fairhaven, which had been doing business under the name Fairbank, Inc., is purchased by Slade’s Ferry Trust of Somerset, MA.

1996, December 20: The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Fairhaven High School addition project is held.

1997: The Howard Farms neighborhood off New Boston Road is developed on the former Howard family property.

1997, March 3: Gail Isaksen buys the vacant Phoenix Building at the northeast corner of Main and Center streets for $125,000.

1997, August 10: The Livesey Skate Park is officially opened at Livesey Park during the North Fairhaven Improvement Association’s Fun Fair and Car Show.

1997, November 25: A group of ten Fairhaven taxpayers files a lawsuit in an attempt to block construction of a bicycle path along the old railroad right of way. The plaintiffs are Diane Hanrahan, Jeffrey Huze, Dana Huze, Cheryl Correia, Pamela J. Hawkes, Eileen Cebula, Barbara Acksen, Kristen McKenna, John D. McKenna and Henry Cebula.

1998: A wastewater treatment plant goes into operation to service 366 existing homes on West Island.

1999, April 24: A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held to dedicate the new, $633,272, federally funded Phoenix Bike Trail.


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