Stop 8: Rotch-Jones-Duff House

Historic black and white photo of the Rotch-jones-duff house

Stop 8: Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum

396 County Street
New Bedford, MA 02740

Leaving the port area and going west up the hill you can experience architectural gems associated with the captains and magnates of the whaling era. County Street became their legacy, where many of their homes stand today. The Rotch-Jones-Duff House is an exquisite example of the “brave houses and flowery gardens” which enchanted author Herman Melville during his stay. Considering the wealth of these families, the structure is of modest design. Although the first occupant certainly had the means, William Rotch Jr.’s Quaker roots led him to reject anything ostentatious. While insisting on restraint in appearance, it’s evident that this estate is still large. The entire property sits on one full city block, and approximately one acre of land. If you can, take a few minutes to stroll through the garden. Soak up the atmosphere. How does it feel? (Fear not folks taking this tour online, we have pictures!) In the Quaker tradition, it is believed that natural world is an avenue for understanding and becoming closer to God. Within the gardens of the elite, you can appreciate plants and trees from all over the world. Although not intended to be a status symbol, the gardens of most Quaker estates do not shy away from opulent design.


Last updated: October 26, 2020

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33 William Street
New Bedford, MA 02740



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