New Bedford’s Other Whaleman Statue
Most of us are familiar with or have at least seen New Bedford's Whaleman Statue, also referred to as The Harpooner, that stands guard at the northeast corner of the New Bedford Free Public Library on Pleasant Street.
The monument features a harpoon-clad whaler in a whaleboat preparing to spear a breaching whale that will likely take him for a Nantucket sleighride.
The statue was a gift of William W. Crapo. It was dedicated on June 20, 1913, to honor those who lost their lives in the whaling industry, laying "the foundation of the prosperity of this community," according to the website Destination New Bedford.
Crapo's Whaleman Statue is not the only New Bedford monument dedicated to the brave whalemen, though. Fifteen months after Crapo's statue was unveiled, the Barnard Monument was presented during ceremonies at Buttonwood Park. The monument stands in the center of the roundabout at the center of the park.
Chances are pretty good that you've driven by the monument, walked past it, or even rested against it during the Whaling City Festival and never really thought about what it is or why it is there.
To be perfectly honest with you, I had no idea until I stopped to read the inscription mere days ago.
The Barnard Monument, a gift of New Bedford native George D. Barnard, was dedicated on September 19, 1914. Peggi Medeiros wrote a piece for The Standard-Times in 2014 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the dedication.
Barnard moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he founded a free skin and cancer hospital. Barnard died in 1915, a year after the memorial was dedicated.
New Bedford is rich with monuments and memorials, a fitting tribute to those who in one way or another served our community and our nation.