Sanford is a small city located in York County in the state of Maine. It is situated on land originally purchased in 1661 from the Abenakis, a Native American tribe, by Major William Phillips. On February 27, 1768, Sanford was first incorporated as a town and remained a town for 245 years. In 2012, voters in Sanford gave approval to re-incorporate the town as a city with a mayor, which took effect in January of 2013. As of the 2010 census, Sanford is the seventh largest municipality in the state of Maine.
Sanford was originally known as the “Phillipstown Tract” after Major William Phillips who purchased the land from the Native Americans. Later it was renamed Sanford; this name came from the son of Major Phillips’ third wife, Bridget Hutchinson Sanford. Settlement of Sanford was delayed until 1739 by the French and Indian Wars, and the town was not incorporated until 1768.
Situated within the borders of Sanford is a section of the Mousam River which soon became the source of power for industry. The first sawmill was built by Captain Market Morrison above Springvale, a village within the town of Sanford. Textile manufacturing, including carpets, cotton and woolen goods, became the dominant industry after the Civil War. Shoe manufacturing was another large industry in the town. Thomas Goodall, a British-born industrialist, established the Goodall Mills in 1867 beside the Mousam River. This mill manufactured carriage robes and blankets and later expanded to make plush railroad seat upholstery, carpets, drapes, fabrics for automobiles, military uniform fabrics, and summer fabrics for suits. Because of this manufacturing, the town’s population swelled in the thirty years from 1880 to 1910. Textile manufacturing was the dominant industry until 1954, when Burlington Mills purchased the Sanford Mills and moved the looms to its southern plants in Georgia, closing the mills in Sanford and leaving one-third of Sanford’s population unemployed. Some of the buildings have been removed while others now house other industries.
In 1965, Sanford was called “the town that refused to die” by Life magazine because of its efforts to attract new industries. Sanford attracted diversified industries for a time, including manufacturing aircraft parts. Today, Sanford focuses on its quality of life and its natural assets of being situated close to the Atlantic Ocean, nearby lakes, and the mountains in New Hampshire.
- Oakdale Cemetery, 127 Twombley Road, Sanford, Maine 04073
- St. Ignatius Catholic Cemetery, Berwick Road, Sanford, Maine 04073; 207-324-6040
- Southern Maine Veterans Cemetery, 83 Stanley Road, Springvale, Maine 04083; 207-459-7394
- Notre Dame Cemetery, Pine Street, Springvale, Maine 04083; 207-324-6040
Libraries and Historical Societies
- Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford,_Maine : accessed 7 September 2016), "Sanford, Maine."
- Maine, An Encyclopedia, (http://maineencyclopedia.com/sanford/ : accessed 7 September 2016), "Sanford."
- "Voter turnout largest in years; Town clerk releases Sanford's official election results," online article, Foster.com (www.fosters.com : accessed 31 October 2016).
- "Age Groups and Sex: 2010 - State - Place and County Subdivision (GCT-P2): Maine," U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder (factfinder.census.gov : accessed 31 October 2016)
- Geo J. Varney, History of Sanford, Maine: From A Gazetteer of the State of Maine, Published by B. B. Russell, 1886, Transcribed by Betsey S. Webber, Rays-Place.com (history.rays-place.com : accessed 31 October 2016), Sanford.
- “History of Sanford-Springvale,”
- Preserve America, (http://www.preserveamerica.gov/PAcommunity-sanfordME.html : accessed 7 September 2016), “Preserve America Community: Sanford, Maine.”
- Having grown up in the shadow of the empty Sanford Mill buildings, I can attest to their still being there. (The author.)