You've probably visited the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitor Center during AHA!, Nights or have experienced a concert in the courtyard outside during a summer festival.

Nestled at 33 William Street at the corner of South Second Street in New Bedford's Historic District, the red brick building has quite a story.

The Greek Revival-style building was designed and built in 1853 by architect Russell Warren as the New Bedford Institution for Savings, a local bank.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

NBIS outgrew the two-story, three-by-three-bay home and found a new location in downtown New Bedford. In 1896, the former bank building became home to the Third District Court of Bristol County.

Eventually, the court also outgrew the space and moved to a new location. Over the years, the building had various tenants, including Johnson's Auto Parts Machine Shop in the early 1960s and an antique store.

The Evolution Of New Bedford Whaling National Park Visitor Center
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

A Fleet Bank branch was the last to occupy the property, purchased by the New Bedford Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE (WHALE) in 1995. WHALE gave the building to the National Park Service.

The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park was established in 1996 and is managed by the National Park Service.

The Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Park rangers provide visitors with walking tours, guided programs and information about local attractions and activities – and of course, there is a gift shop with souvenirs of New Bedford.

The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitors Center building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

LOOK: The history behind all 63 national parks in the US

The National Parks System manages 63 national parks. Stacker analyzed NPS info to compile the history and features of each. 

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: Must-do activities at every national park

Stacker lists the must-do activities at every national park ranked by the annual number of visitors. 

Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420