The Eastern Railroad reached Wakefield in 1871, the year the J.W. Garvin Store opened. As business grew, so did the building. The varied roofline is proof. You could buy eggs, thread, kerosene, boots, molasses, flour and more. Further, it served as the first railroad station, a post office, a lodge hall, a barber shop and a town clerk's office. The first issues of the Carroll County Independent were printed here. The store was the "Hub" of a very active railroad center. The building was the first large restoration project of the Wakefield Heritage Commission. Visitors and residents alike recognize the Garvin Building today as the location for Lino's Restaurant and a number of local businesses including an antiques store, hair salon, law office and other businesses.
The Union Hotel
In 1831, a small group of people in South Wakefield met and began a "Free Will Baptist Movement." This group included Jacob Wiggin and Isaiah Wiggin. The land for this building was purchased for $8 and soon a church was built. rev. Joseph Spinney became pastor and served as Baptist minister from 1836 until 1854 when he became a zealous Adventist. Thirty members followed Elder Spinney into the new ministry, new by-laws were written and signers included Joseph and Luther Wiggin. Now Baptists and Adventists used the church alternately.
The Grange was charted with 23 members on March 11, 1892. They struggled with membership, met at various locations and in January, 1904, established a building fund with $30. On September 10, 1907 the present lot was deeded by George F. Piper for $1.00. The building was completed and dedicated on January 31, 1918. The Grange was very active and served as a center for social activities for most of the 20th century. With changes from family farming, the Grange membership diminished and in June 2006, the organization deeded the property (again for $1.00) to the Wakefield Heritage Commission. The Commission uses the building as a museum preserving the Grange heritage, the Stage Stop museum, office and meeting space.
Then...and now. Wakefield Town Hall in the early 1900s, and the town hall in 2017.
The Wakefield Town Hall and Opera House was originally built in 1895 at a total cost of the town of $7,000. Of course, the project had many benefactors and volunteers who contributed time, money and materials well over that amount. John Sanborn of the Boston and Maine Railroad was among the project's key benefactors. Sanbornville was named in his honor in March 1895. Today, thanks to taxpayers' support, donations, grants and the tireless work of volunteers and members of the nonprofit group, Wakefield Projects, Inc., the Opera House has been renovated to accommodate theatrical and musical productions as well as public meetings.
In 1876 the existing building was rebuilt. In recent years, the Wakefield Heritage Commission has restored the Meeting House and it is now open for use as a wedding and religous service venue and meeting place.
The beautifully restored Spinney Meeting House is available for weddings and meetings by appointment. To arrange a tour, or for more information, contact the Wakefield Heritage Commission chair Pam Wiggin at 603-387-3698 or email the administrative assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Union Hotel is a well preserved 19th century hotel, erected and operated in the railroad era of the mid to late 19th century and early 20th century. The Union Hotel was built for Robert H. Pike, near the Union railroad station, in 1855, soon after the arrival of the Eastern Railroad. The Union Hotel was one of three hotels built to serve the traveling public. Only two survived and the Union Hotel is the best preserved and most interesting. The hotel remained in use until 1939. In June of 1966 the building was purchased by the Burroughs-Drew Post of the V.F.W. until the sale to the Town of Wakefield. It is now serviced by the Greater Wakefield Resource Center for community programs.
In 2012, John and Diane Gray donated the Blacksmith Shop, one of two shops located in Union, to the Town of Wakefield. The shop was built circa 1848 and was in use until around 1950. The last smithy to work at this shop was Sam Runnells.
Restorations to both the interior and exterior began, with the Wakefield Heritage Commission overseeing the upgrades.
Over the past few years, the roof has been replaced, the shop has been electrified, and the forge and chimney have been reconstructed to match the historically accurate design used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The shop includes many original tools and supplies, including the original work bench from the blacksmith shop that was located in Sanbornville.
For the 2018 season the Commission hopes to have demonstrations with a working smithy! Check back for more information on special events on our 2018 calendar.