Massachusetts ‘Moby-Dick’ building to be restored

NEW BEDFORD — Restoration plans for two historic New Bedford buildings, including one made famous in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick,” have been unveiled.

The Waterfront Historic Area League announced Wednesday that JMBA Plus Architects of New Bedford has drawn up plans for the $2.3 million project to restore and ultimately connect the Seamen’s Bethel and Mariners’ Home.

The Seamen’s Bethel, a place of worship for mariners that was called the Whaleman’s Chapel in “Moby-Dick,” was built in 1831 and renovated and reopened in 1867 after a fire.

The Mariners’ Home traditionally provided lodging to seafarers between voyages. It has been vacant for several years except for Port Society office space on the ground floor.

The project includes a glass-fronted connector linking the buildings with an elevator making both accessible to disabled visitors, according to The Standard-Times (http://bit.ly/1i7XIHR ).

Structural alterations to the buildings will be minimal, architect Joe Booth said.

Funding for the project is expected to come from state and federal historic tax credits, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a Community Development Block Grant, historic league Executive Director Teri Bernert said.

The project is scheduled for completion next year.

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