Historical Museum & Goodwin House to Reopen in July

The E. E. Wentworth automobile shop in Springvale where Model T Fords were assembled. Displayed along the side of the building are 10 newly minted Model Ts.

by Harland Eastman

The Sanford-Springvale Historical Museum and the Goodwin House are pleased to announce that they will be reopening to the public beginning in July.  Specifically, the Museum will be open on Friday, July 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and both the Museum and the House from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the following day.  These Friday and Saturday hours will continue throughout the summer and thereafter if the health situation permits.                                           

Motor Vehicle Exhibit:  Late in 2019, the Museum mounted a new exhibit entitled: “Motor Vehicles, their Manufacture, Sales and Servicing in Sanford and Springvale”.  Those who got to see it before COVID closed our doors were astonished to discover that Sanford and Springvale nearly became part of America’s auto industry.  Ernest Goodall was so swept away by the advent of the automobile that he built a factory for their manufacture where Hannaford is now located.  His model vehicle was shown at the 1903 Boston Auto show.   Huge photos of the model are part of our exhibit.  Ernest soon realized that competition in the new automobile industry would soon become insurmountable, so backed away and put the new building to other uses including a shoe factory which some may remember. 

Most people also have no idea that Model T Fords were once assembled in Springvale at the beginning of World War I.  Local citizen E. E. Wentworth made the deal with Henry Ford and opened his assembly plant in a building located where Springvale’s 7-11 Store is situated today.

Some may also know that Casco Trucks were once manufactured in Sanford.  That business lasted nearly ten years and the factory was located where Memorial Gym stands today.  The motor vehicle exhibit will continue until September, 2021.

Future Exhibit – Folk Artist, Ray Welch:  When we open our doors this summer, come and see the Motor Vehicles exhibit before it makes way for a new one devoted to folk artist Ray Welch whose magical paintings remind one of the work of Grandma Moses.  More than forty of his colorful pictures will be on display.  The Ray Welch exhibit is scheduled to open in September 2021.

Ongoing Museum Restoration:  Major restoration work has been taking place during the winter at the Goodwin House.   All forty seven of the original windows in the house, shed and barn have been reglazed and repainted and the weight cords have all been replaced.  When the weather warms up the window sills will be restored as necessary and repainted.  This work is being carried out thanks to year-end donations from our generous supporters.

We are thrilled to report that come spring the Historical Museum will be repainted for the first time in fifteen years thanks to a generous beautification grant from the William Oscar Emery Trust.  The museum display room below the stage is named in his honor.  Ask to see it when you visit the Museum.  There are many treasures on display including a collection of milk bottles from twenty-seven local dairies and a vast collection of carriage robes from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Concerts and Educational Programs:  Concerts and programs will recommence when social distancing is no longer required.  We have already booked several concerts including Renaissance Voices for a Christmas program on December 11th and Southern Rail Bluegrass on April 23, 2022.  Other events will be scheduled as the health situation permits.

The Sanford-Springvale Historical Society is thrilled to be the stewards of the Museum and Goodwin House and we encourage everyone to come visit and participate in events as they are announced.  More information can be found on www.sanfordhistory.org.