The Head of Westport Village, dividing the more developed northern Westport from the coastal farms to the South, is located at the head of the Westport River. It is one of three historical villages in Westport, along with Central Village and Westport Point down the river.
The Head was Westport’s main manufacturing area from the early 1700’s, with 9 mills at its height. The area was attractive for manufacturers like the Westport Factory. It had access to land and marine routes, and a naturally-occurring fall line along the Noquochoke River (East branch of the Westport River) where it meets Bread and Cheese Brook, which provided a dependable current to power the mills.
In addition to cotton manufacturing, the area produced manufactured goods for New Bedford‘s booming whaling industry, and ship hulls to be floated down the river and finished in Westport Point. It is recorded that the Head of Westport created 58 ship hulls, which became whaling ships, fishing ships, or coastal trade ships.
Around the 1850’s, the whaling and manufacturing demand waned, and the Head of Westport Village became increasingly residential, and continues so today. In many ways, the Head of Westport Village is the heart of Westport. It’s a beautiful area with historically significant buildings, river views and acres of farmland preserved by the Westport Land Conservation Trust, especially around Forge Pond. The village has a good energy and many young families who find it an excellent place to live. The village is also not very far from the highway, and within walking distance of the library, elementary school, middle school, and senior center.