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19th Century House of Benjamin Almy (1252-977)



In July I received from a number of friends, a newspaper article, with pictures, about the sale of a Benjamin Almy house in New Bedford, Massachusetts. I looked in my records and found that there were many Benjamin Almys in that area in the 1800s. I narrowed the list down to three possible ones that would fit the dates in the article (alive when house was bought and when the 3rd floor was added). From census information I was able to eliminate two of those. So I knew which Benjamin Almy belonged to the house and that he has descendants today who receive the Almy Family Newsletters. In fact, information sent me many years ago by one of them (General William A. Knowlton, 1252-9773-34) stated his ancestor was born in New Bedford on January 20, 1852, in the stone residence at the corner of Eighth Street and Mechanics Lane. The street sign in the picture confirmed the address

The following is from the article about the house in the Standard Times of New Bedford, dated June 26, 1998.

Picture of Almy HouseThe stone house stands on the corner of Eighth Street and Mechanics Lane beckoning passers-by to take a peak inside its vacant rooms. Tony Souza, executive director of Waterfront Historic Area League of New Bedford, Inc. is proud to point out the beautiful mahogany railing.

The railing, which winds its way to the third floor of this Greek-Revival house, is only one of the many things that makes this structure at 150 Eighth St. so special. Known as the Benjamin Almy house, it was built in 1835, and sold to Benjamin Almy by Benjamin S. Rotch and William J. Rotch in 1846. There were only two floors when he bought it, but Benjamin added a third floor around 1878, using French 3rd Empire style as his model. In fact, Benjamin made his mark, literally, on the house, by placing his initials outside the windows on the third floor. Mr. Souza confided that the third floor was his favorite, because it reminded him of lofts that could only be found in Paris.

Indeed, the connection is not difficult to make. The high ceilings, dormers, and bright, airy rooms would be the perfect place for an artist's studio. Even the sky-light at the top of the staircase has an avant-garde feeling to it.

3rd floor windowHere is a picture of the initials on the third floor.

The three-story structure containing about 4,000 square feet, is built on a 2,455 square foot lot. Located four blocks from the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Mr. Souza said the house is very important to New Bedford's history because it was built during the time when New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world.

Mr. Souza said that this house is unique because it set the style of New Bedford's golden age. As he looked around, Mr. Souza pointed out some of the amenities the house has to offer; original Southern yellow pine floors, six fireplaces and structural stability.


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