It’s the 1920s—the First World War is over, and the people of New Bedford, Massachusetts, like the rest of the country, enjoy high spirits and great prosperity. Familiar faces, young and old, look to a promising future in this great industrial city with a glorified maritime past. But trouble looms, and the next decades will require strength and determination. A troubled textile industry, the Great Depression, a challenged school system, hurricanes, wartime and a post-war economic decline—how will the city survive the tides of change? Resilient residents will take strength and encouragement from friends and community, finding laughter and escape through music, theater, radio, sports and other forms of entertainment. Everyday heroes will emerge. The city will reinvent itself and forge on.
Fast forward to the 1960s. Following another post-war boom, new industries come to town, the hurricane barrier goes up and the fishing fleet brings promise and growth. But urban renewal tears at the heart of downtown and wipes out many old neighborhoods. The Vietnam War and the city’s race riots bring turmoil and upheaval. Still, a new generation again brings hope and change.
In A Picture History of New Bedford, Volume Two: 1925–1980, the second installment of a three-volume set, hundreds of photographs and stories bring the city to life in an enthralling journey through the core of the 20th century. Ride the last trolley, sip an ice cream float at a bygone soda fountain, take a turn on the ballroom dance floor. Celebrate New Bedford’s music—from the big band sounds to folk, fado, jazz and rock and roll. Explore the evolution of the city’s diverse mix of cultures and see New Bedford’s fishing industry grow from a small fledgling fleet of draggers to what today is the country’s number one fishing port. Experience the people, places, and events that have shaped New Bedford, one of New England’s most historically significant cities.