New Bedford now home to 2 new historic districts

New Bedford Now Home To 2 New Historic Districts

The city of New Bedford shares this photo of Mayor Jon Mitchell speaking at an event on July 29, 2022.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — The city of New Bedford is now home two new historic districts.

Holly Huntoon, Mayor Jon Mitchell’s spokesperson, said Thursday the City Council recently approved a proposal submitted by Mitchell to establish Abolition Row and Mechanics Lane as historic districts in the city.

“The designation of the Abolition Row and Mechanics Lane Historic Districts will ensure that these unique and cohesive group of properties are recognized for their historic and architectural significance and are protected from potential alterations that could undermine the area’s historical character,” said Mitchell.

New Bedford previously had one historic district: the Bedford Landing in the Waterfront Historic District, which was established in 1917 and shares space with the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park.

Huntoon said the proposed Abolition Row Historic District is made up of a “unique” and “cohesive” group of residential properties on Seventh Street, “representing the city’s significant role in the Abolition Movement.”

Mechanics Lane was named after a small alleyway that’s the center of the district, said Huntoon.

She said that residential properties were mainly built there in the early to mid-19th century that housed tradesmen and craftsmen who were commonly referred to as “mechanics.”

The lane runs through the back of the First Baptist Church.

Huntoon said that in 2016, the Historic Commission was asked by residents on Seventh Street and Mechanics Lane to explore the creation of new Local Historic Districts.

She said the commission and planning department met with neighbors several times and came up with a proposal that reflected residents’ input.

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