It seems hard to believe but FOSTA has existed since 2003 when the Town ceased to fund the Town Archives, then housed in the dark dismal attic of the Sandwich Town Hall Annex. Richard Connor, now retired Director of the Sandwich Public Library, came up with the idea of creating a nonprofit organization to support our Town Archives and pay the part time salary of our Archivist, Barbara Luksanen Gill. Richard also enabled the move to the MacKnight Room of the Sandwich Public Library to better open this important source of Sandwich history to the public.
I can still see the incredible assembly line of workers packing boxes in the attic and then braving the flight of stairs and crossing Main St. to deliver these materials to the MacKnight room. Russell Lovell, already a very senior citizen carried box after box without seeming to be struggling a bit. I chose to be a packer. Of course it took weeks, months to reorganize all this material that had been stashed all over that attic for lack of proper space. Barbara never complained, but I bet she was overwhelmed as she sat surrounding by boxes and tried to make order.
FOSTA has come a long way from the desperate days to raise enough money to keep the archives open, but the public rose to the challenge. People who maybe could not afford a donation of $25, for ‘membership’ somehow found the money to keep beloved Barbara Gill at her desk.
In the past year FOSTA has established not only a Facebook page but a new website! www.fostasandwich.com. This was all ably facilitated our website designer, Sarah Bassett. We are so excited to share all those old stories and photos of life in Sandwich in a by gone era. The Facebook page has provided a nice link to the public and enabled us to sell some of our historic items to fund the needs of the Archives.
Additionally, we are working closely with Town Archivist, Deb Rich, to digitize important old newspapers and records to make them all more easily accessible to the public. CPA grant money is funding this project.
Joan Russell Osgood has continued to provide us with one stimulating oral history after the other and these are all available on our website. What a treasure to record these memories of people who experienced Sandwich in another time and many of whom descend from early settlers.
Barbara Bangs MacNeil has taken on the task of updating photos for our historic asset files (houses, monuments, structures, etc.) for the north side of Sandwich. Other members of FOSTA, myself included, took updated photos of South Sandwich and Forestdale some years ago.
The Following can be ordered thru the Town Archives by a couple of different methods. Fostasandwich9@gmail.com or contact Archivist Deb Rich at the Sandwich Archives directly at 508-888-0625 x 302. See our website for photos of these items. www.fostasandwich.com
1. The original 1909 Dodge MacKnight water color of his back yard at Hedgerow in East Sandwich called the “Kitchen Garden” has now been reproduced to benefit the Sandwich Town Archives. MacKnight left 9 original prints to the Public Library. This print can never be reproduced by anyone else.
2. FOSTA has also reproduced the map of Sandwich Village as it appeared in 1825 at the time of the opening of the Glass Works. Jane Bradford Jones, known as Jenny Jones, drew and hand watered colored this map in 1939 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the incorporation of Sandwich in 1639. It is also available for sale in either black & white for your own artistic pleasure.
Lastly, FOSTA was able to re issue Russell A. Lovell Jr’s 1984 Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town with additional text and pictures contributed by Mr. Lovell just a few years ago and is now on sale for $24.95. Mr. Lovell was thrilled to see this book re published in his life time.
We have just begun a new website series called “Did You Know?” full of old photos and historical information you may never have even heard of about Sandwich! Our first issue will be a timely subject. MAIL. We will discuss the beginning of mail service to Sandwich on the cusp of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.
Joan Russell Osgood has created a very entertaining piece on Wolves in Sandwich!
We are adding material and old photos every day and very excited to be bringing all this history your way.
Best to all, Kaethe O. Maguire
President of FOSTA