The White Whale at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

The Patina of Place

By Dr. Kingston Heath

    Using the concept of “cultural weathering” to explore the cultural imprints left by inhabitants on their built environment, Heath considers whether the three-decker is a generic “type” that could be transferred elsewhere. He concludes that the ethnic, economic, and geographic conditions of a locale serve as filters that reshape the meaning, utility, and character of a building form, thereby making it an integral part of its particular community. Specifically, he shows how the three-decker was lived in, and used by, its original inhabitants and illustrates its transformation by later generations of residents following the collapse of the textile industry in the mid-1920s.

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