Designed by Providence architect Russell Warren, this mansion was the first Greek revival structure built in New Bedford. It was built between 1831 and 1832 for Joseph Grinnell, a whaling merchant, manufacturer, and packet trader. Joseph also served four terms as a representative in the U.S. Congress. Joseph’s father Cornelius Grinnell, was a sea captain and privateer during the Revolutionary War.
The large building was constructed using granite from the same quarry (Quincy, MA) as the Bunker Hill monument in Boston. The front of the building features full height pillars and a large portico. Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, and John Quincy Adams are among the distinguished visitors to the mansion.
The Grinnell family owned the mansion until 1940. It was given to the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Fall River, which used the mansion as a school and youth center until 1957. For many years after that, the mansion remained empty and deteriorating. In 1988, WHALE bought the property and in 1991, with the assistance of the Inter Church Council, began restorations. Restorations were completed in 1994 at a cost of $400,000.