The 1840 Rodman Candle Works House is an historic Federal home situated on tree-lined Fort Street in Fairhaven’s charming village across from the Fairhaven Shipyard and marina. Fort Phoenix Reservation, sandy beaches, charming shops and neighborhood restaurants are all within a few minutes’ walk.
This house was originally part of the William Rodman whaling empire used for his Rodman Candle Works operation. William Rodman was born on Nantucket, MA in 1786 and died in New Bedford, MA in 1855. He was one of the most prominent and successful whaling merchants of his time. He was the President of the Mechanics Bank of New Bedford where he also lived in a beautiful stone mansion built by the architect, Major Russell Warren.
39 Fort Street would change hands several times in the coming years: 1857 to a Cooper from Bristol, England named James Rickets; 1864 to the American Nail Machine Co.; 1892 to S. Frank Alden; and 1909 to the Clairvoyant, Emma Jackson. Jackson would move the house across the street to a new granite foundation to where it resides today. Jackson then went on to renovate the house throughout with Gothic Revival and Victorian features. At that point in time, the house is used as a multi-family house for tenants. 39 Fort Street would change hands five more times from 1912 to 1999 at which point it was bought by its current owner who has taken on a multi-year careful restoration of this beautiful property.
In modern day 2018, the inside of this home is filled with sunlight shining through beautiful large new windows and bouncing off original hardwood floors filling every room with warmth. Restoration efforts have touched every corner of the home including solid wood-paneled doors, restored wood floors, built-in book cases, wainscoting, and breathing new life in to generous sized rooms including 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths (one on each floor) and even a 2nd floor bonus family room. The restoration work, guided by the regional Waterfront Historic Action League (WHALE), has also included updated electric, new systems and a new roof. The updated modern kitchen with granite countertops sits at the rear of the house, adjacent to the formal dining room and overlooking a deck and backyard. The first floor den offers space to relax or watch TV, while the living room with book cases and gas fireplace is ideal for entertaining. This is a versatile home and, according to the town’s assessor records, is zoned to allow conversion to a legal two-family—which would be easy to convert because of an existing side entrance and staircase that leads to the 2nd floor. There is also a large 3rd floor un-finished attic, offering water views, with separate rooms which could be renovated and turned in to additional living space. The large basement with granite walls is a perfect place to set up your in-home workshop. All in all, this historic home offers extraordinary value for the money.