Herman Melville - Moby Dick - New Bedford, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Metro2
N 41° 38.105 W 070° 55.411
19T E 339788 N 4611048
Quick Description: Seamen's Bethel, referred to as the "Whaleman's Chapel" in a scene from Moby Dick has a plaque with a quote referring to the site.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 4/3/2014 8:58:40 PM
Waymark Code: WMKF0Q
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 1

Long Description:
The plaque reads:

"SEAMEN'S BETHEL

'IN THE SAME NEW BEDFORD THERE STANDS A WHALEMANS CHAPEL AND FEW ARE MOODY FISHERMEN. SHORTLY BOUND FOR THE INDIAN OR PACIFIC OCEANS WHO FAILED TO MAKE A SUNDAY VISIT TO THIS SPOT.'

Moby Dick"

Notice in one of the photos that the pulpit in the chapel looks like a ship.

Wikipedia (visit link) adds:

"The Seamen's Bethel (or Seaman's Bethel) is a chapel in New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States, located at 15 Johnny Cake Hill.

History of building

Built by the New Bedford Port Society, it was completed on May 2, 1832. It is a contributing property to the New Bedford Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.

The Seamen's Bethel was specifically constructed for the many sailors who called New Bedford their home port (mostly whalers), who considered it a matter of tradition that one visited the chapel before setting sail.

The bethel was immortalized in Herman Melville's epic whaling tome, Moby-Dick, as the "Whaleman's Chapel" in a scene where a fire-and-brimstone sermon is given from a bow-shaped pulpit.

The pulpit was a Melville invention, but a replica of the one described in the book was added to the chapel in 1961. Other changes were made when the structure was repaired after a fire in 1866. The names of New Bedford whalers killed, and later all area fishermen, are noted on the walls of the bethel. Also noted is the pew that Melville sat in when he visited in 1840.

Moby-Dick

In 1851, Herman Melville published his famous tale of the white whale. In it he wrote:

"In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot."
- Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville
From this point on, the Seamen's Bethel came to be widely seen as a symbol of the whalers, and later as a symbol of their history.
Address:
15 Johnny Cake Hill New Bedford, MA


Website: [Web Link]

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Lat34North visited Herman Melville -  Moby Dick  -   New Bedford, MA 8/31/2014 Lat34North visited it
Metro2 visited Herman Melville -  Moby Dick  -   New Bedford, MA 7/10/2010 Metro2 visited it

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