Public Interest

A town whose public buildings are architectural gems

High-School-ArchPhoto: Chris Richard/Fairhaven Office of Tourism

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ike architecture? You’ll love Fairhaven. It’s home to the most beautiful municipal architecture in the country, dating from a period of pride in public places. It’s also the legacy of Fairhaven’s famous native son and Standard Oil founder Henry Huttleston Rogers, a friend of Mark Twain and benefactor of Helen Keller. Rogers built and paid for almost every public building in his home town: the high school (above), Rogers Grammar School, the Masonic hall, Cushman Park, Unitarian Memorial Church, and Millicent Library, whose stained-glass window by the London firm of Clayton & Bell includes the likeness of Rogers’ daughter Millicent as the winged Muse of Poetry. “It is the ideal library,” said Twain, a frequent visitor. Rogers, who was born in Fairhaven in 1840, even gave the town its public water system. A tall granite shaft in front of Fairhaven High School was erected by the town in 1912 as a memorial to Rogers, inscribed in Latin with the words: “If you would see his works, look about you.” Rogers’ boyhood home is at 39 Middle St.; his grave, at Riverside Cemetery.

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John Cooke, longest-surviving of the Mayflower Pilgrims, is also buried buried in Fairhaven, at Burial Hill.

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