Washington Street Meetinghouse (1832)
(now Northeast Maritime Institute)
32 Washington Street, Fairhaven
In 1832 Warren Delano I, Jabez Delano Jr. and Joseph Bates Jr. raised funds to build the Washington Street Christian Meeting-House on the northwest corner of Washington and Walnut streets. Prior to the building of the church, a group of Christian worshippers had been meeting at private homes and the Fairhaven Academy. In 1841, at the invitation of Joseph Bates Jr., William Miller delivered a series of lectures promoting his theory that the Second Advent of Christ would soon transpire, prompting a number of the congregation to break from the church and form the Second Advent Society. Bates would go on to become a founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The Washington Street Meeting-House, soon to hire a Unitarian minister, was where Captain William Whitfield brought Manjiro Nakahama after two other churches had asked that Manjiro be seated in the “Negro pew.” The church was a Unitarian Church from about 1844 until 1902 when the congregation moved into the Unitarian Memorial Church built by Henry H. Rogers. Rogers then donated the old church to the town for use as a school.
From 1902 until the early 1940s the building was used as classroom space for grades one through four from Rogers School. It was known then as the Washington Street School or the Rogers School Annex. In 1944 the school department allowed the building to be used as the Boys Club.
The Fairhaven Boys Club had met at the Millicent Library previously. This building allowed the club to expand its programs and provided a gymnasium for basketball. In June 1965, groundbreaking was held for an addition on the west side of the Washington Street building, dedicated in memory of F. Standish Kelley. In 1984, the name of the organization was changed to the Fairhaven Activities Center. In 1996, the town condemned the main portion of the building because of a leaking roof and structural damage and funding was withheld by the United Way. In March 1998, the Activities Center, Inc. shut its doors and folded. The town subsequently built a recreation center on Huttleston Avenue.
In 2000, the building was purchased by Angela and Eric Dawicki for use as the Northeast Maritime Institute. The original part of the building and its later addition were completely renovated.