Merrill's Wharf: Pics and Stories


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Located along the New Bedford waterfront, Merrill's Wharf was built in the 19th century with the surrounding district notable as the only portion of New Bedford's waterfront that has remained unchanged since the city's whaling days. The wharf named after Captain Edward Merrill who purchased the property in 1837 and would oversee the entire construction of his wharf personally. This project, which included the wharf itself and a 3½ story stone building known as Merrill's Block that was 45 feet wide and 100 feet long, began in 1844 and was completed in 1847. The first whaling ship to berth at Merrill’s Wharf was Roman 2nd, arriving on 28 July 1847. The whole project proved financially successful and remained in the Merrill family until 1905. The 1922 silent movie "Down to the Sea in Ships" (directed by Elmer Clifton) was filmed on location in New Bedford, with scenes at Merrill's Wharf with the opening credits giving special commendation to the cameramen who tooks great risks filming the footage at sea. This movie is also notable as the breakout role for the future "It Girl" Clara Bow as Dot Morgan, 16-year old granddaughter of Charles W. Morgan. Later in the 1920s the wharf and surrounding propery was acquired by F.A. Homer and became known as Homer’s Wharf.

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