A Dartmouth icon turns 130

Feb 6, 2020

It was a busy weekend at the Dartmouth Cultural Center as the non-profit celebrated the historic Olde Southworth Library’s 130th year as well as a $5,000 grant from Bay Coast Bank for renovations to the iconic building. 

On Friday, January 31, representatives from Bay Coast Bank handed over a $5,000 check to the cultural organization to go towards restoring the Olde Southworth Library in Padanaram.

Co-Treasurer at Dartmouth Cultural Center Kathleen DelSordo described the board as feeling “elated” during the ceremony.

“This is going to support the restoration for handicapped access and our long-term plans for the Olde Southworth,” she noted.

More than 70 people came out for the anniversary party on February 1, which included sparkling wine and gold-sprinkled cupcakes provided by BJ’s.

Guests also enjoyed music played by students of former Dartmouth High Orchestra teacher Charlene Monte on the occasion.

“It was really a wonderful night,” said DelSordo.

Speakers at the event included the building’s last librarian, Elsie Haskell, as well as Select Board member Stanley Mickelson.

The Olde Southworth first opened on February 1, 1890.

And among those who spoke at the original opening, noted DelSordo, was an attorney who later represented infamous Fall River murder suspect Lizzie Borden.

“It was a small world back in those days,” DelSordo said with a laugh.

According to DelSordo, construction of the building cost $5,000, donated by notable resident John Southworth. 

Charles Tucker donated the land on which it sits, now number 404 Elm Street in the historic Padanaram Village. 

The Olde Southworth was designed by Robert Slack in the Richardsonian Romanesque style named after Boston’s Trinity Church architect H. H. Richardson.