News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
What is your name and the name of your organization?
Jim Mykland of the Sandwich Historical Society.
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
I first washed up on the ledges at the Pothole in July or August of 1956 when I was six months old. My parents were friends in New York with the Pohls and the Lungams who had bought houses in the Maple Ridge/Mount Israel Road area and we came up to visit them that summer. We came back summers after that, staying in the cabin that the Pohls had on Maple Ridge Road.
In the mid 1960’s my father retired and, the North Shore of Long Island having grown up from the farms and pine barrens of the immediate post war years when they moved there, my parents decided to move to Sandwich full time in 1966.
We moved here the October I was in fifth grade, just after the Fair. I went from a baby boom Town with three elementary schools (and building a fourth) of three or four classes of each grade to Sandwich Central School with a combined fifth and sixth grade class of about 16 students.
What got you started working with SHS?
I have always loved our little Town between the lakes and the mountains. All the old houses and fascinating people I remember growing up.
I first visited the Museum probably the summer after we moved here. The thing that grabbed my attention at 11 years old, naturally, was the dugout canoe. And the model of Center Sandwich made by the Quimby School boys in the 1930’s. I came back often over the years to wander around the house. I was fascinated by Sandwich history.
In the late 1980’s, in what I can only assume was an act of desperation, I was asked to serve as a Trustee of the Society. I’ve been here pretty much ever since serving as a Trustee and officer including four years as President. I came back in the 2010s as a Trustee and later Vice President. In December 2020 I was asked by the Trustees to serve as Interim Executive Director.
Tell us about your organization. What do you make, do, or offer as a service?
The Sandwich Historical Society has, in its hundred plus years, made a concerted effort to collect and preserve historic artifacts and ephemera that directly relate to Sandwich. It became evident that a building would be needed to house this collection and in the 1920’s the Society bought the Elisha Marston house at 4 Maple Street in The Center. Over the succeeding years, the Society has added other buildings to our holdings as the need became evident.
We currently own the former Quimby School barn, which was moved across Maple Street and now houses the Transportation Museum of Sandwich-related vehicles, both great and small, including the magnificent Sandwich Coach that used to transport mail and people from Center Harbor to Sandwich and West Ossipee. We also own the former Mount Israel Grange Hall on Maple Street, the former Heard family barn off Skinner Street in The Center, and the former Lower Corner Schoolhouse on Schoolhouse Road.
Throughout the year the Society sponsors programs, talks and walks that highlight features and people of our little hill town. One of the more popular programs is ‘Pictures from the Vault’, an hour or so sample of some of the thousands of images in our collections. Another day might find a walk in The Center or Lower Corner or The Notch highlighting architecture and people who have lived in the area in the past.
Perhaps of more lasting impact than artifacts and buildings, the Society, following its founding principle of collecting and sharing the history of Sandwich, has a unique canon of over a hundred years of written history of the Town in our annual Excursion Booklets. These Excursion Booklets cover the entire history of the Town from the very beginning until today. In the early years these were truly excursions to various neighborhoods in Town sharing the history of each area and collecting the precious memories of older residents before they slipped away.
These booklets form an invaluable history of our small town between the lakes and the foothills of the White Mountains. In 1995 the Society published ‘Sandwich, New Hampshire 1763-1990’ a one volume history of the Town compiled by a number of talented writers who were also members of the Society.
How did SHS get started?
The Sandwich Historical Society was founded in 1917 by a group of full-time and seasonal residents who had grown concerned with the steady loss of artifacts leaving Town as old homesteads were sold and auctioned off as well as the loss of the unwritten Town history as older residents passed away and their stories and memories vanished with them. For a more detailed history of SHS, please visit: http://www.sandwichhistorical.org/society-history.html
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your work?
Working with our great knowledgeable staff Jennifer Wright and Lauren Hansen and our Trustees and Officers. The Society is truly a group effort and being able to interact with these smart, hard working staff and volunteers is exciting and intellectually challenging and very educational to me.
What has happened to your organization in this last Covid year?
The Society offers an annual exhibit at the Elisha Marston House Museum. Last year due to Covid our buildings were closed and the volunteers and staff created a virtual exhibit, both remote and online, with banners and QR codes around Town highlighting historic women of Sandwich and their stories. There was also a virtual Excursion during Old Home Week that provided a driving tour to all their houses.
This year we are planning to be back in the Elisha Marston House Museum with the exhibit featuring portraits by Susan Lirakis of Sandwich mothers and their daughters taken over the last forty years. There will also be an online exhibit again this year.
What are your goals and hopes for the future?
In the most immediate sense my goal is to get the Society back to its normal functioning level as quickly and as safely as possible. Our goal for this year is to have a summer exhibit and our annual excursion this August.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your organization?
The Society is still governed by a volunteer board of trustees with the assistance of a few paid staff members. It exists through the generosity of our members and donations from the public and the thoughtfulness of benefactors over the years. We are here to try and answer your questions about Sandwich and what went on here and what is happening here today. We offer our superb research library to writers and those doing genealogical research. For more information on when our buildings are open and to check a listing of upcoming programs and events visit our website at www.sandwichhistorical.org. Or you can contact us at email@example.com.
Derek C. Marshall
5/3/2021 11:34:54 am
Great article. Jim is one of the living treasures of Sandwich. There are others, and we all look forward to similar articles. Sandwich is definitely a special place for various reasons. One of the important ones is that we are not on the way to anywhere.
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