Rehabilitation & Restoration
The Coggeshall Counting House was built in 1832, during the city's famed whaling era, by New Bedford merchant and ship owner John Coggeshall, Jr. The four-story, commercial building originally had a first-floor chandlery and second-floor counting rooms, with the top floors used as sail and rigging lofts. The building is a contributing property of the Bedford Landing Waterfront National Historic Landmark District, and is also part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park. Over its history, the building had been severely damaged by a succession of fires, including a particularly large conflagration in 1939 that destroyed the original hipped roof. Prior to the adaptive reuse project, the upper floors had been vacant for many years.
The Coalition for Buzzards Bay, the only membership-based, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Buzzards Bay and its watershed, chose to rehabilitate the Coggeshall Counting House rather than construct a new building for its headquarters, the Buzzards Bay Center. Historic photos were used as a basis to replicate missing original doors and windows, as well as the lost original cornice. Exterior brick was repaired and repointed. The project also utilized several "green" principles, including the installation of innovative energy-efficient technology and a vegetated roof that absorbs half of the rain it receives during storms, helping to protect the bay from runoff pollution. The building, which is the first permanent home for the coalition in its 23-year history, also houses the Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center, Riggs Lab, and a library and large conference room. The Buzzards Bay Center now honors the city's maritime history, boosts economic development, and raises environmental awareness, while playing an important role in the ongoing revitalization of the New Bedford waterfront.