The Port Society Complex

Founded in 1830, the New Bedford Port Society maintains the historic Seamen’s Bethel and Mariner’s Home located on the top of Johnny Cake Hill in the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Serving the maritime community for over 175 years, the Seamens’ Bethel is also the site of dozens of weddings, christenings and memorial services each year.

The Port Society Complex has recently undergone a large renovation to preserve and make accessible these two historic treasures.  Our organization provides a venue to honor New Bedford’s fishermen and enhances the Whaling Historical National Park as a world-wide tourist destination.

The New Bedford Port Society and WHALE joined forces on the ambitious undertaking for the 1832 Seamen’s Bethel and the adjacent 1787 Mariners’ Home which grace Johnny Cake Hill.  It has long been a goal of the Port Society to make the buildings handicapped accessible while also respecting the historic integrity and beauty of the buildings.  We believe that the design provides excellent and historically sensitive access for all, having also joined the buildings so that they work together as a home to honor and educate on the city’s working waterfront and its maritime community.

The 1956 film adaptation of Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick was directed by John Huston with a screenplay by Ray Bradbury and the director. The film starred Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab and Orson Welles as Father Mapple.


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