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Old 02-21-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
SHAZBAT73
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Sanford, Maine

While on leave, I took a trip from Ft. Drum, NY to my old stomping grounds in central York County in Maine. Part of those stomping grounds is Maine's 8th largest community at just under 22,000. Welcome to Sanford, Maine!

Downtown as seen from Main St. looking south.


Looking West on Washington St. toward downtown.


Looking East from upper Washington St. toward the Sanford Mills.


Downtown from the Midtown Mall parking lot. In the center is the 8 story Sunset Tower and on the right is the Sanford Trust Building.


Downtown:




















Town Hall and Annex:


The Sanford Trust Building - Sanford's iconic and main commercial building since the beginning of the last century:


Sunset Tower viewed from downtown:


Downtown Sanford as seen from Goodall Hospital:


Sanford Mills as seen from the Northern Edge of No.1 Pond. Downtown is behind the trees right of center.



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Old 02-21-2010, 08:52 PM   #2
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Re: Sanford, Maine

^Cool! I lived in Maine for 4.5 years and never set foot in Sanford. It's probably the least well known of Maine's "large" communities. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:45 AM   #3
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Thanks for sharing. Looks like a nice little main street. I think I went through town once when I was about 10 years old with my parents. Seems Biddeford-like.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Granted, the main street looks like it has traditional features to it that would seem to make it have potential. But look at the buildings, no stores are in most, and where there are stores look at what they are. look at how many cars are there. Sanford is a victim of globalization just like other post industrial towns, but it is in some ways even worse off because its sort of out of the way more than other places. I think Biddeford is leagues ahead of Sanford if that's any indication of the town's character. Thanks for sharing all the same Shaz.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:58 PM   #5
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Re: Sanford, Maine

What were the stores converted to? Apartments, or offices?
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:20 AM   #6
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Re: Sanford, Maine

No doubt about it, Sanford is in some pretty stiff competition with Biddeford, Rochester NH and the malls to the north and south (Portland and Portsmouth). In more recent times, the town has been less of a local shopping and economic hub as it was in the past and become more of back ground community for Portmouth and other coastal locations. It seems like stores and social establishments (bars, clubs) come and go a lot faster around town than in other shopping hubs in the region. However, due to all of the above, it has still managed to keep on growing, verses a lot of the communities upstate.

Despite some obvious drawbacks, the town is very pro-growth. I believe there is an unofficial competition with Biddeford for the largest community in York County (as of last check Biddeford has like 500 or 700 more people) and Brunswick for the largest town in Maine (Brunswick took the lead a few years ago because it is growing faster). Also in the last year or 2 the town council passed a resolution that if the town breaks the 30,000 mark, it will incorporate as a city. All the towns in the surrounding area have limits on growth (building permits), where as Sanford does not. Lowe's and Super Walmart recently opened up near the airport and the local bank and hospital finished up with major (for them) expansions.

I read in the Press Herald or Journal Tribune the other day that around $400,000 in federal funds was approved for a traffic study to find ways to ease up conjestion on major routes linking Sanford with Biddeford, I-95 and the coast. This has been a problem ever since I could remember and because of it, I think the town has suffered. One option on the table is a spur like the one linking OOB with I-95. To me that would be the best option or turning Rt. 111/Rt. 202 into a 4 lane highway. But, like a new civic center (which is also the best choise instead of funding dozens of studies to tell us what we already know!), it's not going to be done anytime soon. One bright spot to note though, on this latest trip back I noticed the Spaulding Turnpike around Rochester being reconstructed and widened from 2 to 4 lanes. This should help with the traffic and access to Sanford from the south and west.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:12 PM   #7
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAZBAT73 View Post
Despite some obvious drawbacks, the town is very pro-growth. I believe there is an unofficial competition with Biddeford for the largest community in York County (as of last check Biddeford has like 500 or 700 more people) and Brunswick for the largest town in Maine (Brunswick took the lead a few years ago because it is growing faster). Also in the last year or 2 the town council passed a resolution that if the town breaks the 30,000 mark, it will incorporate as a city. All the towns in the surrounding area have limits on growth (building permits), where as Sanford does not. Lowe's and Super Walmart recently opened up near the airport and the local bank and hospital finished up with major (for them) expansions.
Its seems like Scarborough is about to join in on the largest town competition. Scarborough only has a population of around 20,000 right now, but it has been growing very fast in the last two decades with its close proximity to Portland and the Maine Mall area, it's recent development by Cabela's, and the town's beaches are probably help. In 1990, I think it only had around 12-13 thousand people, and with it's large area, it might have the potential to surpass Brunswick in the next 20 years if the town continues to grow.

Those are some nice pictures though. I have only been to Sanford once, but i have heard good things about the bars.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:57 PM   #8
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Interesting thought. I agree. To me, scarborough is already far larger than places like sanford, biddeford, and even brunswick, for the reasons you mentioned. It might not have a higher population, but its pretty close, and its rate of growth is high; also, at any time during the day there are probably more people in scarborough than those other towns, and building wise its probably the fastest growing town in Maine.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:37 PM   #9
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Scarborough is news to me...wow, that place is growing fast! If I can remember right, the built up areas of the town itself are mostly on Rt. 1 and routes leading to the mall. I don't recall any real "downtown" there, just a lot of urban sprawl. The beach and proximity to the mall and Portland are definetly distinct advantages. It's going to be interesting to see the results of the next census! I think too Saco might just edge Biddeford for population either in 2010 or 2020. That will be interesting to see!

I also have a few more pics to post later of Sanford from yester year when the factories were operating to a few more from the present.

Maine's top 10 in 2010:

1. Portland 66,194
2. Lewiston 41,592
3. Bangor 35,473
4. S. Portland 25,002
5. Auburn 23,055
6. Biddeford 21,277
7. Sanford 20,798
8. Brunswick 20,278
9. Augusta 19,136
10. Scarborough 18,919

Edit: Maine's top 10 in 2000:

1. Portland - 64,249
2. Lewiston - 35,690
3. Bangor - 31,473
4. South Portland - 23,324
5. Auburn - 23,203
6. Brunswick - 21,172
7. Biddeford - 20,942
8. Sanford - 20,806
9. Augusta - 18,560
10. Scarborough - 16,970

Saco, Westbrook, Waterville, Windham, Gorham, York, Kennebunk and Falmouth wrap up the remaining communities in Maine over 10,000 in 2000.

Maine's top 10 in 1990:

1. Portland - 64,358
2. Lewiston - 39,757
3. Bangor - 33,181
4. Auburn - 24,309
5. South Portland - 23,163
6. Augusta - 21,325
7. Brunswick - 20,906
8. Biddeford - 20,710
9. Sanford - 20,463
10. Waterville - 17,173

Top 10 in 1980:

1. Portland - 61,572
2. Lewiston - 40,481
3. Bangor - 31,643
4. Auburn - 23,128
5. South Portland - 22,712
6. Augusta - 21,819
7. Biddeford - 19,638
8. Sanford - 18,020
9. Waterville - 17,779
10. Brunswick - 17,366

Since 1960, Sanford has been in Maine's top 10 (not sure about before that). From sometime in the mid 70's to the mid 80's Sanford was the largest town in the state. Before and after that it was Brunswick. Due to northern Maine's population decline, I see Sanford moving up a notch or 2 in the 2010 census, along with the rest of the southern Maine communities.

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Old 02-25-2010, 12:18 PM   #10
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Re: Sanford, Maine

My girlfriend lives in Scarborough. Scarborough is just a typical low-density suburb with some box retail. Its saving grace is that it has a beautiful coastline. Scarborough will still continue to grow because of it's proximity to the core of the metro area and because it covers a huge chunk of land by New England standards (nearly 50 square miles) and much of it is still rural. The development that HAS taken place in Scarborough (Cabella's, etc) is just chain retail and cookie cutter sub-developments. I would take its size with a grain of salt. It's not the relatively independent community that Sanford or Biddeford is, just a suburb. It's sort of like when people try to tell me that the TOWN of Framingham MA (68,000 people) is larger than Portland Maine (62,000). If you just looked at city population, you'd agree. However, Portland is a principal city of a region and Framingham is a medium density 'burb. The two aren't comparable really and that's how I see Sanford v. Scarborough. The population numbers don't tell you much at all except that Scarborough is a smaller part of a growing metro and Sanford is a semi-indepentent city that's not really growing.
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Old 02-26-2010, 04:15 PM   #11
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Lrfox I couldn't agree with you more. However, in the end, it is forseeable (sp?) that Scarborough could get bigger than Sanford or Biddeford due to the advantages you mentioned. However, it could take some time because Sanford has tacked on 5,000 people since 1970 and Biddeford only a 1,000. After looking around online for current population stats, Sanford could weigh in between 22,000 and 25,000 people for 2010. Now it's just a wait and see...Anyway, more pics of "Sanfred":

Picture of the Goodall Mill complex back in it's hay day. The white building in the lower center is now gone as well as all the buildings along the road out front of New England's tallest smokestack at the time. At 302ft., it too came down after the mills shut down (Courtesy Sanford Historical Society):


Downtown in the 50's. The buildings in the background, from the first 3 story building on the right going further away to the left, were razed roughly 10 years later due to Urban renewal:


A pic of Main street I took in 2007 looking toward the center of town from the library:
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:08 PM   #12
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Sanford got very smart by making sure that some of the taxes generated from the new Lowe's and Wal-Mart are dedicated for downtown improvements.

Weren't the mills recently sold?
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:57 AM   #13
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I'm not sure. I usually get my info these days from the Sanford News once a week and I didn't see it in there. Anything I do see about the mills usually talks about the funds coming in for the clean-up of the area.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:09 AM   #14
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Found and interesting web site concerning traffic in the Sanford / central York County area: www.connectingyorkcounty.org. I put my 2 cents in the comment area regarding Rt. 111 and Rt. 109.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:18 AM   #15
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Have always been a fan of the Sanford Trust Building. It is the most impressive commercial structure between Portland and Portsmouth in my opinion. No slight to Biddeford which also has some handsome commercial blocks, but I think the lack of a red brick facade gives the Sanford Trust Building a touch of cosmopolitan flair for a small city. City Hall Annex also contributes to Sanford's civic might around the 1920's and 30's. Let's not forget the positive impact that Goodall Hospital has been for Sanford over it's history.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:28 PM   #16
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Re: Sanford, Maine

Someone needs to fill Maine with babies.

Top 10 in 2000:
1. Portland - 64,249

Top 10 in 1980:
1. Portland - 61,572

I've seen pandas breed faster.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:54 PM   #17
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Re: Sanford, Maine

1950: 78,000

Suburbanization.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:49 AM   #18
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Re: Sanford, Maine

I often wondered if adding a branch on the Down Easter to Sanford(from Boston) would help the city. Any one know if this would be worth while? I think there are a fair number of people who commute from Portland to Boston.
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #19
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Re: Sanford, Maine

The number is fair, but not substantial. And I think they are irregular commuters. If the Amtrak was faster, I would look for work in Boston, as the job market in Maine is terrible.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:26 PM   #20
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Re: Sanford, Maine

I don't think Sanford could support a rail link to Wells or North Berwick (Which would tie into the Down Easter Line). Most of Sanford's commuters work at the Navy Yard in Kittery (Between 300-500), and commute on the Spaulding Turnpike or Rt. 236. Sanford did have rail lines back in the day (60's and before), but were discontinued after the factories downtown were closed (Rochester-Sanford-Portland line). Since then all the tracks were pulled up and the remains are overgrown in some parts and nature trails in others.

On another note, Portlander I agree with you about the Trust building. It is one of the many enduring structures built in Sanford by the Gooddall family during Sanford's hayday. At one time the town had the highest smokestack in New England at 302 ft. It's in the mill picture above.

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