To leaders of the Town of Dartmouth: I am writing this letter to enthusiastically support the efforts of the organization known as SOS (Save Our Southworth) to help conserve our town's quality of life and the continued enrichment of its denizens' life experiences. With a long and storied history as a library and as headquarters for the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, and a unique architecture representing the sole example of the Romanesque left standing here in town, it would be a sacrilege to see this gem in the hands of some private party and not being used to the benefit of the general public. 

I would suggest that the example of what has been accomplished over the last several years with the old schoolhouse/library in Russells Mills, which has been leased by the town to the Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society, may be replicated (with minor variations) with the Old Southworth Library Building. Anyone who follows the news knows what a vibrant and contributing force DHAS has been and continues to be here in town. A visit to the DHAS website ( will provide an opportunity to sample the many ways DHAS is contributing to the community's quality of life by following its mission to support, promote, preserve, and disseminate the historic and cultural diversity of Dartmouth, Mass.

SOS is proposing to follow in the footsteps of DHAS with the benefit of hindsight, since some of its members were in the founding group of the Russells Mills organization. Having space for displaying historical and cultural artifacts as well as works of art will also enrich the programs of DHAS, which plans to collaborate and work closely with SOS as a partner.

I urge you to listen to the voices of your constituents and act in the interest of preserving and promoting the historical and cultural diversity of Dartmouth by moving to follow your own example illustrated by the results garnered with the schoolhouse/library and DHAS in Russells Mills, with the Old Southworth building. Stop any move for a quick sale of the building and put the building to good use for the community.

Robert Harding

President, Dartmouth Historical and Arts Society

-- Editor's note: An update to this letter corrects a typo, due to an editing error, that appeared in the writer's last sentence. A correction will appear in the Oct. 18 print issue to make the writer's intent clear to print readers.