The village of Padanaram was one of many settlements which began cropping up within the town of Old Dartmouth after its purchase from the Wampanoag Indians by members of the Plymouth Colony in 1652.
During King Philip's War the settlement was burned down and all cattle killed. The only settlers who survived were those who heard a warning and fled either to Russell's Garrison or Cooke's Garrison. Remains of the settlement can still be seen at the foot of Lucy Street.
In the mid-18th century it became a shipbuilding center. In September 1778, during the American Revolution, the British attacked nearby New Bedford with a small force attacking Padanaram. Two Tories, former residents who had been forced out of the village, arrived with the British and directed them to properties of the men responsible for their banishment. They set fire to two homes, but a third one was saved by a woman who threw water on the fires as they were started and also on the soldiers. This third house is now the rectory for St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Elm Street.
The 19th century saw Padanaram prosper as a minor whaling port, as well as home to a large salt works. As this industries died out, "the village" (as it is referred to by locals) became mostly a residential area.
Originally known as Ponagansett, Padanaram derived its current name in the early 19th century from a resident named Laban Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher and his family were pillars of the community. He built a wharf, a shipyard, windmill, magnesia factory and was a successful property investor. He is perhaps best known for "Laban's Folly", an elaborate salt works which proved to be a failure, but did manage to last until well into the 20th century.
Laban Thatcher saw an analogy between his life and that of the biblical Laban, who dwelt in Padan-Aram. The Laban of the Bible lived on the plain of Aram in northwest Mesopotamia and sired a significant family of daughters, notably Leah and Rachel, wives of Jacob.
Now mostly residential with a diverse mix of residents, several boating-related businesses, galleries, and other small businesses and shops.
New Bedford Yacht Club
The New Bedford Yacht Club was originally founded in New Bedford. The Club bi-annually hosts the Buzzards Bay Regatta. In 2002, Llewellyn Howland III wrote 'The New Bedford Yacht Club : a history' 
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