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New Bedford’s Arnold Mansion secures nonprofit status

NEW BEDFORD — Say hello to the city’s newest nonprofit. The James Arnold Mansion on County Street in New Bedford filed the necessary paperwork and hence has received its nonprofit status.

New Bedford’s Arnold Mansion secures nonprofit status - Exterior shot of the building

click to enlarge

Members of the Wamsutta Club, which occupies the mansion, formed the James Arnold Mansion Inc. a year ago because they wanted to raise money to maintain the deteriorating building, built in 1821 as a home for James and Sarah Arnold.

Nonprofit Status

The nonprofit group received approval of its status as a 501(c)3 organization in June and as a result went retroactive to September 1, 2016, according to the James Arnold Mansion president, Richard Asquino.

The Wamsutta Club will remain in the building.

Therefore to raise money, the mansion plans to offer tours, exhibits, performances, and historical programs. On Oct. 28, it will host a formal party with a re-enactment of the wedding of James Arnold and Sarah Rotch. Tickets are $200, half of which is tax deductible.

New Bedford’s Arnold Mansion secures nonprofit status - Interior shot of James Arnold Mansion

click to enlarge

Asquino said his group has hired an architect to determine exactly what significant repairs needs to be done to the building. The of fascia boards are in poor condition and a back wall is buckled. Other items need work as well such as the lintels over the windows and the slate roof.

The group will first make the building weather-tight then focus on the interior work, Asquino said.

About James Arnold

James Arnold was born in Providence and came to New Bedford to work for merchant William Rotch Jr., according to a biography provided by the mansion. On Oct. 29, 1807 James Arnold would marry Rotch’s daughter, Sarah.

Arnold had an interest in horticulture, and the couple established extensive gardens around their home. They also opened their private gardens to the public, which at the time was unusual, according to the biography.

When the Wamsutta Club bought the mansion in 1919 they added two large North & South wings and eliminated much of the garden space, but some of the grounds remain.

This story first appeared in the Standard Times on Sept. 12th, 2017 – HERE
photos by Peter Perreira