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Barry Richard, published June 3, 2024, WBSM

When you gotta go, you gotta go, and I had to go while visiting the Huttleston Marketplace on the grounds of Fairhaven High School one recent Saturday morning.

So off I went in pursuit of a lavatory.

A cheerful woman hawking one thing or another pointed me to an open door to the side rear of a large yellow building.

Just inside the door and follow the signs," she said when I asked if a loo was within quick reach.

Upon entering the building, little did I know I was entering a significant piece of Fairhaven – and New Bedford's – educational history.

The Academy Building at 141 Main Street in Fairhaven, now the Fairhaven Visitors Center & Historical Society Museum, is "the oldest building owned and managed by the Town of Fairhaven," according to the Fairhaven History Blog Spot.

The site says, "The Academy originally stood on the west side of Main Street south of where Huttleston Avenue is today."

In 1907, Henry Huttleston Rogers had the Academy Building moved to its current location and deeded it to the town.

he Academy Building was built in 1798 as a private school and opened as the New Bedford Academy in 1800. Fairhaven was still a part of New Bedford then.

The Fairhaven Office of Tourism says, "The name was changed to Fairhaven Academy after the incorporation of the town in 1812."

Separate classrooms for boys and girls were each meant to hold 48 students. The first instructors were Galen Hix and Sally Cady. Children attended classes at the Academy for nearly forty years before it closed.

The Historical Society Museum has must-see displays including the local connection to Gold Bond Powder and Nye's Castor Oil.

The Academy Building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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