New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —Trial by Fire-During the early hours of January 18, 1977, gas leaked from a cracked main into the cellar of O'Malley's Tavern, located near where you are now standing. New Bedford had suffered two straight days of record-setting cold in an overall frigid winter. When thermostats clicked on that morning the gas exploded, leveling four buildings and shooting flames and debris throughout the area.
Lost were the three-story tavern, built about 1820, and the Macomber-Sylvia building next to it, which had just been restored and was to be sold that day. The explosion also blew up a building across Johnny Cake Hill and one on William Street, north of the whaling museum, and rocketed a four-ton I-beam and four firefighters across Union Street. Firefighters and gas company crews battled to contain the blaze for more than 12 hours, finally controlling he fire by dusk.
According to Peggi Medeiros, Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) Director of Education and Preservation Services, "At 6:45 the roof of the Sundial Building (to your right on the corner) caught fire. When the fire was finally out, most of the roof was gone and one wall was bowing out over North Water Street."
WHALE, having spent $41,000 to restore the now-lost Macomber-Sylvia building, convinced the city to rebuild the Sundial Building. WHALE raised funds to restore it and then donated the building to New Bedford Whaling Museum. Photos Courtesy WHALE.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 10:48pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||19T E 339813 N 4610994|
|Decimal Degrees||41.63460000, -70.92320000|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 41° 38.076', W 70° 55.392'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||41° 38' 4.56" N, 70° 55' 23.52" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Area Code(s)||508, 774|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 79-85 Union St, New Bedford MA 02740, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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