I’ve written a little in the past about my historic hometown of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Located on Massachusetts’ south coast on picturesque Buzzards Bay, it’s about halfway between Providence, Rhode Island and Cape Cod. It was the site of the first naval battle in the Revolutionary War, which was fought off the beachfront of Fort Phoenix – the guardian of the Fairhaven-New Beford Harbor and the largest fishing fleet in America at the time – and the capital of the Whaling Industry in the 19th Century.
However, I don’t think I’ve mentioned our magnificent and unique school, Fairhaven High School, also known as the “Castle on the Hill.”
Fairhaven High School, built in 1905, is one of several English Gothic-style Cathedrals built and gifted to Fairhaven by the town’s favorite son, Henry Huttleston Rogers.
Rogers was an industrialist and financier. He was a leader in the oil refining era and, along with John D. Rockefeller and Charles Pratt, led Standard Oil. Also, a close friend of Mark Twain who visited Fairhaven often, the two would be extremely helpful to Helen Keller and assisted with her education. That was just one of this magnanimous’ man’s many personal accomplishments.
Memories of my time at Fairhaven High came back to light after recently attending the annual Fairhaven High School Hall of Fame Banquet.
As a proud member of the FHS Hall of Fame, each banquet helps bring back many fond memories of my youth – and allows all of us to, once again, come together with friends and old teammates to reminisce.
However, our Hall of Fame night and memories differ slightly from most HOF nights of other high schools. You see, all FHS graduates know they were a small part of something extremely special, as the building itself was an important element of our education and the development of our character. When you go to a school built of granite-ashlar and, inside, has marble floors, oak paneling, stained glass windows, historic stone statues, and an auditorium with a beamed ceiling with carved wooden gargoyles, one quickly learns you’re in a unique and special place…a castle!
All FHS students developed immense pride in not only their school, but in the building itself.
Back to the Hall of Fame night…
While the induction ceremony of new FHS Hall of Famers is the reason for the banquet, let’s be honest…for the older crowd it’s the initial gathering and being with friends of the past that is most special. I spent most of the night with two close high school friends, teammates, and fellow Hall of Famers. In fact, we played basketball together on an undefeated team (20-0), which was also a two-time undefeated Conference Championship team. Hence, many wonderful memories to discuss.
However, this blog is not intended to boast about personal or team accomplishments, but to remember how fortunate all Fairhavenites were to gather for an education in a small, picturesque New England town which showcases many wonderful, historic buildings, including the “Castle on the Hill.”
So, thanks Mr. Rogers – and thank you to my Grandparents for coming to America and settling in a wonderful, historic town in which I was fortunate to be raised and educated. I am forever grateful.
Note: Here’s a link to a video of my beautiful, historic town and some landmarks built and gifted to Fairhaven by Henry Huttleston Rogers. https://fairhaventours.com/gallery/