Dartmouth’s Padanaram Village Was Originally Called This
Padanaram is one of those Native American-sounding names. Since so much around here is steeped in Native American history and culture, one might assume the name comes from the rich Wampanoag tradition. The name Padanaram is not Native American at all, however.
So where did the idea for Padanaram come from?
The name "Padanaram" was reportedly the idea of early resident Laban Thatcher, said to identify with the biblical figure Laban, a resident of Paddan Aram in Mesopotamia, a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris-Euphrates River system within the so-called Fertile Crescent.
What was Mesopotamia thousands of years ago consists today of parts of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey and Syria.
Before adopting "Paddan Aram" or "Padanaram" as its name, the village was called Ponaganset, a Wampanoag-derived word.
Members of Plymouth Colony purchased the land that became Old Dartmouth from the Wampanoag in 1652. Residents constructed the Russell Garrison, a house surrounded by a wooden stockade, to defend against attack during King Philip's War. There is a monument at the foot of Lucy Street still today.
When the British attacked New Bedford in September 1778 during the American Revolutionary War, Padanaram came under attack as well.
Shipbuilding, some whaling and salt works drove the village's economy during the 18th and 19th centuries before Padanaram evolved into a primarily residential area.
Today, small shops, restaurants and marinas provide the charm for Padanaram, added to the National Registry of Historic Places on September 5, 1985.
It is not unusual to spot celebrities of all types wandering the shops and streets of Padanaram. Former Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito recently purchased a home in the area.