New Bedford’s ‘Mr. Steadfast’ Eagle Statue in the National Historical Park
Have you ever wondered why there is a statue of an eagle at the entrance to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park at the foot of Elm Street? Could it be you've never heard the story of the eagle known as Mr. Steadfast?
Old-timers like me may recall when Channel 6 was at 430 County Street in Downtown New Bedford. The station's call letters were WTEV when it began broadcasting on January 1, 1963.
By 1980, WTEV-6 became WLNE, and the station moved to Providence, Rhode Island.
During its time in New Bedford, Mr. Steadfast stood watch in front of Channel 6. The station even issued pins with the likeness of Mr. Steadfast on them.
I wish I still had mine.
According to a piece on menujoy.com, Mr. Steadfast had a life before television.
It seems "the eagle statue once perched atop the old New Bedford Post Office, which was built between 1891 and 1893." The site says Hyman Krivoff bought the statue when the post office was demolished in 1955 "and sold it to Basil Brewer, the publisher of the New Bedford Standard-Times newspaper."
Brewer reportedly held a "name the eagle" contest in 1955 open to children in grades 1-8. J. Gordon Edge submitted the winning entry, and the eagle became known as Mr. Steadfast.
Mr. Steadfast was displayed at the corner of Union and Seventh Streets from 1955 to 1963 before taking its place in front of the new Channel 6 television studios.
When Channel 6 closed its County Street studios, Mr. Steadfast was placed in storage until 1997, when then-Mayor Rosemary Tierney had the statue moved to its current location on Elm Street with the designation of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.