|— Town —|
|Fairhaven Town Hall|
|Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts|
|- Type||Representative town meeting|
|- Total||dunams (36.5 km2 / 14.1 sq mi)|
|- Urban density|
|- Rural density|
|- Metro density|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0618281|
Fairhaven is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is located on the south coast of Massachusetts where the Acushnet River flows into Buzzards Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The town shares a harbor with the city of New Bedford, a place well-known for its whaling and fishing heritage; consequently, Fairhaven's history, economy, and culture are closely-aligned with those of its larger neighbor. The population of Fairhaven was 16,112 at the time of the 2008 census.
Among Fairhaven's natives was Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840–1909), who was a United States capitalist, businessman, and philanthropist. Rogers was one of the key men in John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil trust. He later developed the Virginian Railway. Rogers and his wife, Abbie Gifford Rogers, another Fairhaven native (who was the daughter of the whaling captain, Peleg Gifford), donated many community improvements in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century, including a grammar school, an extraordinarily luxurious high school, the Town Hall, the Unitarian Memorial Church, the Tabitha Inn, the Millicent Library, and a modern water-and-sewer system. These structures were erected to top-quality construction standards, a trademark philosophy of Henry H. Rogers; most are still in regular use more than one hundred years later.
Fairhaven was first settled in 1670 as "Cushnea," the easternmost part of the town of Dartmouth. It was founded on land purchased by English settlers at the Plymouth Colony from the natives, — specifically, from the Wampanoag sachem whose name was Massasoit, and his son, Wamsutta.
In 1787, the eastern portion of the Dartmouth township seceded and formed a new settlement called New Bedford. This new town included areas that are the present-day towns of Fairhaven, Acushnet, and New Bedford itself. Fairhaven eventually separated from New Bedford, and it was officially incorporated in 1812. At that time, Fairhaven included all of the land on the east bank of the Acushnet River. A portion of Fairhaven, the northern portion, upriver from Buzzards Bay, formed another independent town, called Acushnet, in 1860. Thus, what had once been a single town, Dartmouth, with a substantial land area, became, in less than 75 years, four separate municipalities. (Note that the western portion of the original Dartmouth land-purchase eventually became a fifth town, Westport.)