When the Leander A. Plummer House, or “Morelands,” as Plummer called it, was constructed in the late 1850s, it was one of only a handful of houses in the then-bucolic, park-like neighborhood to the west of the city. Originally built facing east with its side facing Hawthorn Street, by the early 1900s it had gained closer neighbors and had been lifted and repositioned to face Hawthorn Street. Leander Plummer was a New Bedford native whose family came from Philadelphia Quaker roots. Along with William and Benjamin Rotch, he was one of the founders of the New Bedford Cordage Company, incorporated by the state in 1846, which made ropes used on whaling ships and in textile mills. His son, Leander A. Plummer II, was a locally well-known artist, trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, who made elaborate, wood-carved “relief paintings” inspired by the fish and wildlife of New Bedford.
The house has fallen into disrepair over time due to general lack of maintenance, and WHALE is working on a full restoration to bring the house back to its original splendor. Work will include repairing rotted and deteriorated exterior clapboards and wood trim, installing a new roof, repairing interior plasterwork, and restoring interior woodwork and Dutch tile fireplace surrounds. Once restoration is complete, the house will be sold at market rate through a lottery process.