Category Archive: Education

Peel Away the Layers to Reveal the Shadows of History

Phase 3 Restoration

Phase III restoration of the 1762 Akin House has begun with a detailed examination of each room and the removal of centuries of layers (plaster, lath, 19th/20th C wall boards, wallpaper of different periods) to expose the original features.

 “This little house with a big story to tell”

This little house is sharing its history and the culture of its inhabitants in ways we could not have imagined. Let us introduce you to the small parlor, first examined in 2003 with its circa 1960s paneling and boarded fireplace.  We are sharing for the first time the wonders of this room as it might have been in the 18th C or early 19th C, the wide pine boards and unusual wall coverings–no insulation, just the fireplace for warmth.   We are in touch with historic house experts to help us better understand this house, its early architecture, its decorative finishes, and repairs over 250 plus years.  Stay tuned for more images and information as our research and documentation unfold.


 

Left image: A layer of early covering suggests an unusual stenciling technique.

Center image: The original pine wall boards (small parlor) revealed in August 2017.

Right image: Close-up view of the wall covering, a pattern repeated throughout this room.

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Henry Worth and the History of the Akins in old Dartmouth

Henry Barnard Worth (1858-1923), a local historian living in New Bedford, was active in the first quarter of the twentieth century. He was a member and officer of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society [New Bedford Whaling Museum] from its inception, and was the author of more than twenty essays published as Old Dartmouth Sketches. His best-known work, in collaboration with photographer Fred Palmer, documented in text and photos some of the oldest houses in our area.

Worth also lectured frequently, both in the local area and further afield. Worth’s papers are archived in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library.

Why are Worth’s writings important to the history of the Akin family? He wrote extensively about the Akins and their connection to old Dartmouth. He is a “go-to” historian for researchers, even today.

Local historian Bob Maker who is also an archivist with the New Bedford Whaling Museum has interpreted Henry Worth’s sizable research material for contemporary audiences. 

The Akins feature prominently along with other early founders in Worth’s comprehensive narrative about Padanaram Village in south Dartmouth.

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“Down to the Sea in Ships” and the 1762 Elihu Akin House of the early 1920s

In 1921, the Akin House becomes a part of film history as a location for Elmer Clifton’􀁠s Down to the Sea in Ships.

These still photos provide a record of the east side of the Akin House, called the “Old Homestead”, and appears in a late sequence of the film.

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Down to the Sea in Ships was Clara Bow’􀁠s first released film and also depicts Dartmouth’􀁠s Apponagansett Meeting House.

It contains rare footage of a whaling voyage filmed on the Wanderer and the Charles W. Morgan.

This film about New Bedford whaling had its premiere at the Olympia Theatre on September 25, 1922. The whaling footage is considered the best ever filmed and among the rarest.

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The Akin House Property in the Context of South Dartmouth

For those of you who are interested in local history and the origins of the 1762 Akin House on the corner of Dartmouth and Rockland Streets, this link is for you.

The proximity of this south Dartmouth property to Padanaram Harbor [formerly known as Akin’s Landing] underscores the entrepreneurial spirit of the Akins of old Dartmouth.

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Historic Preservation Restrictions

Historic Preservation Restrictions [HPR] are a legal means to provide the highest level of long-term protection to significant historic properties in the form of deed easements.

This image of the 1871 Russell’s Mills Schoolhouse before exterior restoration thanks to Community Preservation Act funds is protected by a HPR.

You are invited to learn more about HPRs and DHPT’s role in HPRs in our community by going here.

 

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Hunting for Treasure

Sunday, June 7th was DHPT’s first specifically kids’ focused event!

After arriving at 1pm and decorating “treasure chest” bags for the goodies they were about to find, kids had a chance to try the game of Graces- a popular 19th century children’s pastime.

As the Treasure Hunt began, kids took turns reading clues and following a treasure map around the Akin property to find hidden boxes of prizes. Each prize correlated to the piece of history Bob Barboza would then present in a set of “mini-talks” about the 1762 house at each prize location. Children were taught about some of the key facets of the Akin family history including the house’s age and Mr. Akin’s profession as a shipbuilder.

After finishing the clues, kids were invited on a tour of the Akin house, led by historian Peggi Medeiros.

The last activity of the afternoon consisted of attaching a few charms found during the hunt to bracelets and bookmarks to take home and remember their day.

To read more and see several pictures taken by Seth Thomas of Dartmouth Week, check out the article posted HERE!

THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the event, and our trusty board members and volunteers for the time and effort put into the whole day!!

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DHPT Kids Event June 7th!

Clipped treas huntOn JUNE 7 , DHPT will be hosting our first ever KIDS EVENT!

Children 10 and under are invited to a TREASURE HUNT to be held on the Elihu Akin House property! From 1-3pm, kids will participate in old-fashioned games and learn about their community’s heritage while hunting around the property for prizes! Parents and children will have the opportunity to tour the 1762 house after the hunt. Event is free, donations gratefully accepted.

Treasure maps will be provided.

Hope to see you there!

 

Elihu Akin House property, 762 Dartmouth Street, Dartmouth MA

 

 

 

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The Akin House and Education

The Akin House along with the proposed adjacent visitor center will become one of Dartmouth’s main attractions for teaching and learning. The property will serve as a venue for the DHPT and other groups, such as the Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society to offer innovative ways to teach local history with hands-on workshops and other programming to provide a living history experience.

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