For Awards Night, A Look At Urban Renewal and What Was Saved

May 21, 2016

For its 54th year, the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) held its Annual Members’ & Preservation Awards Celebration. Each year the community development corporation recognizes local preservationists that have contributed to the rehabilitation, restoration and interpretation of the historic character and environment of Greater New Bedford.  Awards winners included Mayor Jon Mitchell, given the George Perkins Award for improving the city’s quality of life through preservation. Mayor Mitchel has committed to many restoration projects including the approval of the Community Preservation Act.

The esteemed Sarah Delano Award honored the high standards of four team efforts. Now privately owned, the Coach House (1851) was part of the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and has been restored by Patricia and John Thornton. Outside of the city, Tripp and Dora Milliken rebuilt the Wren House at Wyndfield Farm in Westport. The federal-style home was once slated for demolition when the couple stepped in to save it. Spinner Publications was awarded for its latest work “A Picture History of New Bedford Vol. II”, a collaborative effort from its staff with local writers, photographers and historians. Peggi Medeiros, long-time admired by fellow preservationists, was given her own Delano for “New Bedford Mansions: Historic Tales of County Street”.

The Carol Ann Juneau Award celebrated three members that have donated valuable time to the organization. Arthur and Jean Bennett are known as long-time residents and champions of the historic district. As volunteers and advocates for WHALE’s mission, they have been able to watch the effects of their work develop over the years. Anne Louro, the city’s preservation planner, was also awarded for her dedication to the research and consultations toward current WHALE projects.

That night President Wendy Nicholas passed the torch onto Vice President Andy Burnes who will assume leadership of the board. He also welcomed new board members Kathryn Duff, June Goguen, and Carl Silva, all known for their work for the revitalization of New Bedford.  The gathering concluded with a pictorial presentation on the history of urban renewal by Joseph Thomas, Publisher for Spinner Publications. Looking back at the many buildings lost reminded members of the valuable mission WHALE continues to commit to. 

Patricia & John Thornton, 54 Seventh Street, New Bedford
Peggi Medeiros, “New Bedford Mansions”
Spinner Publications, “A Picture History of New Bedford Vol. II”
Tripp & Dora Milliken, Wren House, Westport

Anne Louro
Arthur & Jean Benett

Honorable Mayor Jonathan F. Mitchell

June Goguen
Kathryn Duff
Carl Silva