The Alice Lord Goodine House is the current home of the Groton Free Public Library. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. GHS member Allen Goodine grew up in the house, and shared his research and memory of the house in the Winter 2020 Newsletter. The essay has been edited and republished below.
The Groton Town Library Building: My Recollection & Historical Research
Allen Goodine, August 2019
This was my home growing up in the Town of Groton. At the time of this writing I am 73 years old. When I look back at the building and my memories I don’t know how I got to this age. I was the adopted child of Alice and Henry Goodine and came to live here when 5 months old in May of 1946. At college age, I moved away, but recently have moved back to our 109-year-old family property at Groton Pond. I’ve been researching history of the Library building and this is a brief overview with my recollections, and some family history of Charles C. Lord (1864-1944) and Alice (Lord) Goodine (1905-1998). In 1930 the house was purchased by my grandparents, Charles C. and Etta (Wilds) Lord. I’ve been able to find a clear title back to 1915 in the Groton town records. Prior to sale to my grandparents the property was owned by the Wells River Savings Bank and Warren and Cora (Benzie) Carpenter. Warren Carpenter (1879- 1938) was a mail carrier in 1910 and 1920 Groton censuses. He was the son of Andrew Jackson “Jack” Carpenter (1832-1915) and Emily (Welch) Carpenter (1844-1913). Somewhere between 1915 and 1925 it was owned by Ida (Morrison) McLam (1875-1946).
The property records are unclear prior to 1915. However, Warren’s deed stated it was his family residence. The 1875 Beers map of Groton village shows the property where the house sits, owned by Jonathan Robards Darling (1823-1910). A story written by Katherine Blaisdell in the 1970s about Inns and Innkeepers – Groton History, discusses the property located adjacent to and up from the building that today is the ice cream store (and formally part of the John K. White Estate General Store). It was a tavern/ inn, once operated by McLane Marshall (1816-1889) of Bristol Bill infamy, and owned in 1867 by William Jones (1833-1926) and in 1877 transferred to Jonathan R. Darling. About this time the tavern was relocated (to the site of the Library), reconstructed and became the home of A. J Carpenter who occupied it for many years before his son Warren Carpenter mentioned above. (see Mister Glover’s Groton p. 118)
The home was purchased in 1930 by Charles C. and Etta Lord. Charles C. Lord was a printer. He moved from Orange, where he was born, to West Topsham in 1894 and started his first newspaper THE OBSERVER, then moved to Groton in 1896 and printed the first issue of the GROTON TIMES in Jan. 1897. The weekly paper reached a circulation of 1,000 by 1900. He was Groton town representative to the State Legislature, built a camp at Groton Pond in1907 and moved to Island pond in 1917, then to St. Johnsbury in 1919, and back to Groton in 1929. On return to Groton he had a printing shop beneath the Post Office built by George Millis (1866-1948) in the late 1920s, where he did specialty printing. His profile is listed in the 1901 history of Groton residents. His daughter, Alice, lived in this house with her parents in 1933 when she married Henry Goodine (1903-1973), who was a barber and shop owner of Henry’s Diner and Barbershop. After Henry died, Alice lived in this residence until 1998 at the age of 93. The home had two living spaces, one upstairs and one downstairs laid out much as it is today.
Alice was born in Groton in 1905, attended St Johnsbury Academy and Lyndon Normal School. Upon graduation she taught school in several one-room schoolhouses and later taught first grade in the Groton Elementary/High School building. She was there in 1930-1935 and Madeline (Darling) Dana who is now 90 was a first-grade student. After I came along she was no longer teaching but partnered with my Dad at their business down the street, Henry’s Diner, Variety Store and Barbershop (the Weeds Hotel building) now torn down and a vacant lot adjacent to the Post Office. My Mom was active in the Groton Methodist Church and played the organ for services, funerals, and weddings for 60 years until she was 89 years old. She had been on the school board and ran the family business after Henry’s death until about 1977. She was active in the Groton Historical Society and supported publishing Mr. Glover’s Groton, our town history book. Her father Charles Lord and Waldo Glover started discussing the “book” in the 1940s. As our town historians passed away she became the history resource person in Town. Many of my memories are of her stories about how things were in the early 1900s. She held choir rehearsals in the living room much of the time while I was growing up. Alice and Henry were 40 and 42 when they adopted me. Mom was a Vermont die-hard Republican who didn’t mince words about her political beliefs, or many other things for that matter. She was very giving to individuals and the community and would have loved that her home became the Town Library. When younger, I remember high snowbanks and jumping off an adjacent garage roof.
Our garden was north of the buildings where upper parking is now located. The barn, which is the west attachment to the library, was our garage, below for the family car, or later for one of my many antique vehicles; and was used for this until sale in 2004. The upper level area west end of barn had been my grandfathers workshop accessed from directly below, or barn doors adjacent to our garden. Above the workshop was a loft area. During my childhood this area contained old chicken feeders and an assortment of items no longer used. The area above with the glass exposed (today) was a swing door accessing the upper barn. This was open area for storage. A large enclosed shed was attached to the upper apartment in the rear of the building.
Today there is still an apartment upstairs. My grandfather moved up there after his wife died in 1933. Charles C. Lord died in 1944 at age 80. We lived downstairs, but the upper part of the east wing was the bathroom (old porcelain tub) and two bedrooms. I had one of the bedrooms. There were no storm windows in either bedroom so lingering in the morning during winter was not an option. Our kitchen was on ground level in the east wing-back with steep cellar stairs going to a dirt floor cellar that had had a well located in the center of the cellar. There was a second set of stairs leading to the front porch (our main entrance).
The porch had a trap door exposing these stairs. Within the cellar there was a tiny space enclosed for storage of pickles and other items stored before refrigeration. Hot water was provided by a steel tank in the kitchen area and heated by the cook stove. We added an artesian well in the early 70s, but previously, water was supplied by a spring located on land which is easterly adjacent to the Fire House. It supplied all the General Store, our house and the house east of the current Library (built by Hon. J. R. Darling). The large room to the right of the current Library entrance was our living room. I spent many hours playing with my toys on the large rug in that room. It also had one of the central registers for heat in the winter. In my lifetime heating was wood/coal and then converted to oil in a central furnace. Later that furnace was removed (early 70s) for a more modern oil burning furnace. Digressing back to the building history, I understand it was once a millinery store and more recently told Cora Carpenter sold corsets there. This was probably in the living room area, hence the large windows and a second front entrance. It was probably in the late teens to the mid-20s.
There is an attic above the upstairs apartment; with an outside door. I have determined the part of the house that was originally a tavern was probably the westerly and larger section of the building as it does not have a cellar. In 2004, we sold the property to the Gilman Housing Trust who (through Federal funding) spent thousands of dollars restoring the structure. I remember the huge boulders used for cellar and barn walls and in later years needed work/reinforcement. They raised the whole structure constructing new basement walls and partial walls beneath the westerly part of the building. We are delighted the building has been restored and has been converted to Groton’s Library.