New Bedford's Whaling Heritage
New Bedford's whaling industry not only made it the wealthiest city in the world at its height, but also influenced its shoreside industry, fashion, architecture, and culture. Today, the city's whaling roots are depicted in its art, industry, and demographics.
The U.S. Custom House in New Bedford is the oldest continually operating custom house in the country. Whaling masters of the past registered their ships and cargo in this building, while today's commercial ships continue to log duties and tariffs here. More information.
Working as a blacksmith, African-American Lewis Temple created a tool that revolutionized the whaling industry. The Temple toggle iron secured into whale flesh better than earlier harpoon designs. More information.
Born on Cuttyhunk Island to a freed slave and Wampanoag, Paul Cuffe grew to become a successful whaling captain and respected member of his community. More information.
Last updated: August 9, 2018