Fairhaven is as sweet as it sounds; a small town created from the fabric the rest of the country was tailored from. Dated as one of the first settlements founded in the newly discovered land mass of New England, colonists arrived at the SouthCoast in the early 1600’s and included a member from the original Mayflower families who first settled in Plymouth.
During the rule of Queen Elizabeth, around 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold and his shipmates discovered the beautiful bay, islands, and peninsulas which welcomed them to the pristine shores of Sconticut Neck and Clarks Point. Here, crews gathered cedar logs, trapped furs and fished for the long journey home. They also took with them, tales about the natives they encountered and the potential riches for anyone with a sense of adventure.
The area was bountiful; clear running streams, vast fields, and forests, plus the many inlets that made up the coastline, welcomed the sailors and piqued their curiosity causing them to explore the upper harbors which often served as protection from wind and tides.
At the same time, the Indians--as they were referred to—farmed the land and created settlements where they could easily survive by planting and fishing. At first, they were able to remain relatively peaceful with the newcomers, but it didn’t take long before conflict and mistrust crawled into the relationship.
From this original plantation, townships in the region were created, forts where built—to provide safety and protection, with many homes and businesses to follow. As explorers and those looking to make a new life, made their way to the New World, industries related to the sea sprung up with jobs becoming plentiful.
As time passed, America grew in popularity and the desire to control its inhabitants followed. This is most evident when the native Americans fought against the expansion into their tribal lands and the taking of their property. These acts, unfortunately, led to the near annihilation of nearly all tribes.
Later, as riches were discovered, repeated invasions by the British took place and many of the original homes and business where burned and pillaged during the mid to late 18th century.
Finally, on May 14, 1775, a battle—the first naval engagement of the American Revolution—took place on Buzzards Bay, not far from the Fairhaven’s harbor. The aggression resulted in the Patriot militia obtaining two ships that had been ceased by the England HMS Falcon; with the locals also capturing 13 crewmembers of the Royal Navy.
Being in the grasp of early history, Fairhaven continued to play a role in the formation of society. The town has also been known to attract great minds and many notable figures; as a result, Fairhaven has been blessed by some of the most striking architecture to be found in the northeast.
Fairhaven’s most famous resident, Henry Huttleston Rogers was born in 1840, his birth in the town would change its future. Clear thinking and industrious, Rogers worked tirelessly as a young man, always keeping his eye on how to create vast wealth. In his early 20’s he found himself in the oil fields of Pennsylvania, only to team up with a partner and create their own oil refinery business. Over time Roger’s petroleum venture merged with Standard Oil Company with Rogers eventually becoming a highly placed and wealthy executive within the firm, then joining U.S. Steel, Amalgamated Copper and various railroads which would elevate him to dizzying heights of prosperity.
With this notoriety and wealth, Rogers never forgot his humble beginnings and built a stately mansion in his hometown. Possessing a sense of community and the urge to create a neighborhood befitting his stature, he initiated projects that would not just build schools, parks, roads, even a water system for all to use, but he would insist on creating magnificent structure and public services projects that would bring notoriety to Fairhaven long after his days.
As one of the wealthiest industrialists of the country, Rogers played host to many well-known celebrities of the period; Samuel Clements (Mark Twain), was a regular visitor to Fairhaven, as was Helen Keller who received financial assistance from Rogers so she could pursue her writing. Then there was Booker T. Washington who was able to negotiate some money from the capitalist so that schools could be funded for the education of minority families in the south.
Today, people flock to the town for it is populated with a large number of small businesses, shipyards, and a marina. But what it is often overlooked is its culinary prowess; with a quick count, it becomes clear that the number of dining establishments for the limited population is unfounded except in larger metropolitan areas.
Fairhaven lives up to its reputation for attracting residents from nearby townships, and countless tourists from around the world due to its many natural resources and its overall beauty.
Much of the town’s success has been the result of careful planning, local ownership of businesses and a “come and join us attitude.” Fairhaven continues to attract the brightest stars, and those not afraid of hard work and achievement.
This coastal town remains a favorite place to visit—or take up residence, and as the name implies, it is a town loved by all and is shaped by a wonderfully diverse population of new and old settlers.