Historic Mansion In Sanford Will Host New Life

The 147-year-old Goodall Mansion in Sanford will have a whole new form of life inside its 18 rooms this summer. Until now, this historical important structure in the heart of downtown has basically housed only many generations of Goodalls, the family largely responsible for the growth of Sanford in the 20th Century.

But this summer, 18 thespians hired to act at Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick will take over the mansion representing the industrial heyday of Sanford and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The Goodall Mansion has been a monument to Sanford's history," said Harland Eastman, president of the Sanford/Springvale Historical Society. "It has always been there representing the era when Sanford was a major textile manufacturing center."

Sitting on 2.8 acres in the center of town, the 1871 mansion was built for Thomas Goodall, an Englishman who made his fortune in American textile business, and stayed in the Goodall family for almost 130 years. Goodall was the owner of the Goodall Mill in Sanford, one of the region's largest employers.

Now, actors hired from across the country to perform in the musicals "Bridge's of Madison County" and "All Shook Up" and the plays "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Dial M for Murder" will rest their weary heads in the eight bedrooms of this house.

"Each summer we find apartments and homes to house our visiting actors, but this year almost all of them will be together in the Goodall mansion," said Michael Guptill, producer of Hackmatack Theater. "Our actors are often exhausted at the end of the day and this will give them a place to rest, get to know each other and even experience a bit of history."

Daniel Adams, an actor who will appear in "Bridges of Madison County," was thrilled to find out his summer housing would be in this historic mansion.

"When I think about something with some history to it, in this case a home like the Goodall Mansion, I almost play a movie in my mind and think about the people that once lived there, who they entertained in the rooms and what conversations may have been had," said Adams 42, a visual arts and technology teacher at Lin-Wood Public School in Lincoln, NH."

Guptill is renting the house, described as a "significant example of second empire/colonial revival architecture in Maine" by the National Trust, from Windsor Construction Company and its principal, King E. Weinstein of Old Orchard Beach.

The Goodall Mill, which led to Sanford being one of the country's main textile centers, closed more than half a century ago, but the Goodalls' generosity contributed to Sanford's first library, two banks, a trolley system; Goodall Park, Bauneg Beg Country Club, a new town hall, a hospital, and the parish hall of the Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church.

The last Goodall to live in the house was Ruth Goodall Pitstick, who in 1995 gave the National Trust for Historic Preservation an easement with the understanding she would stay there until 2000. Under the agreement, the property would be privately owned, but the National Trust easement would ensure the future of its historical integrity.

Local builder Patrick Fagan Jr. bought the mansion in 2001 and began renovations, but in April 2009 foreclosure proceedings began. The Deutsche Bank bought it and a few years later accepted an offer from Windsor Construction.

According to Weinstein, the construction company has been renovating the house for the past few years. The Goodalls used the house sporadically in the recent past, but it has no full time occupants for quite a while, he said.

Coincidentally, the local historical society is doing a major exhibit on the arrival in Sanford of Thomas Goodall 150 years ago. The exhibit includes treasures that came to the society from the mansion, including portraits and scrapbooks.

As Adams gets ready for his six-week stint at Hackmatack, he suggests that the mansion will be a special part of his summer.

"I'm speaking for myself," he said, "but I can assume that we all feel fortunate to live in a historic property that plays a huge role in the history of the community. I know I will treat this home like it was my own."

Season tickets for the four Hackmatack shows are available at hackmatack.org. "Lend Me a Tenor" will be shown June 15 and 16 and as well as June 22 to 23 and 27 to 30 with matinees Thursday June 21 and June 28."All Shook Up" will be presented July 4 to 7, 11 to 14 and 18 to 21."The Bridges of Madison County" runs July 25 to 28; Aug 1 to 4 and Aug 8 to 11. "Dial M for Murder" will run Aug. 16 to 19; Aug. 23 to 26 and Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

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