Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where is the Sanborn house?
  2. Why did the Town agree to lease the Sanborn House to the Historical Society?
  3. What is this expected to cost?
  4. I live near the Sanborn House. How can I be sure this effort will make my neighborhood better?
  5. I’m a member of another community group. How will my organization benefit?
  6. When will the community begin to benefit from this effort?
  7. Will the Sanborn House effort cost the Town money?
  8. Can I use the Sanborn House?
  9. Being still owned by the town why is the use of the House not rent free?
  10. Is the Sanborn House going to become a house museum?

Where is the Sanborn house?

See our Directions page.

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Why did the Town agree to lease the Sanborn House to the Historical Society?

The Sanborn House has seen a variety of uses since the Town acquired it. In recent memory it has housed the School Department administrative offices and, more recently, the Recreation Department. The building was not well suited to either use, and both groups relocated to more appropriate facilities. The Recreation Department was required to vacate the building during the construction of the new Ambrose School for safety reasons. The House was unoccupied and untended except to keep it heated and watertight. The Town viewed the offer of the Historical Society to undertake renovation of the House for community purposes as the best hope for saving this unique asset. A Feasibility study in 2005 supported this view.

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What is this expected to cost?

In 2005 complete exterior and interior renovation costs were projected to be approximately $3 million dollars. Subsequent furnishing and decor restoration was open-ended depending on funds, and estimated at $1.3 million. Changes to the renovation plan have occurred; the orignal cost included a large meeting room in the basement. This is currently not thought to be a good value and is no longer in the plan. To date approximately $250,000 has been spent on the restoration of the House.

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I live near the Sanborn House. How can I be sure this effort will make my neighborhood better?

Neighbors have a key stake in the restoration. There are several safeguards built into the process to insure their concerns are voiced and accommodated. First, the lease provides for a Lease Advisory Committee, which includes a neighborhood representative. Second, the Historical Society is sensitive to community needs and has invited neighborhood input starting with the focus groups. This representation will continue through the restoration process.

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I’m a member of another community group. How will my organization benefit?

The Sanborn Center provides at a nominal cost, office facilities and meeting spaces that can be shared by multiple organizations. This should be particularly attractive to organizations that depend heavily on volunteer efforts and have no centralized, accessible repository for critical records. The facility is open for rental to all groups (consistent with maintaining respect for its architectural and historic value.)

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When will the community begin to benefit from this effort?

The main floor of the house is currently available for community and private meetings and events. Offices on the second floor are also available for community groups.

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Will the Sanborn House effort cost the Town money?

By the terms of the lease, the town provided the funds to stabilize the exterior (to prevent further damage) in 2006 at a cost of $87,850, and also split the cost of utilties from 2006 thru 2009. This time period enabled the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center to get up and running.

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Can I use the Sanborn House?

The main floor and grounds of the house are currently available for community and private meetings and events. Offices on the second floor are also available for community groups.

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Being still owned by the town why is the use of the House not rent free?

In leasing the House from the Town the Historical Society took on the cost of operating and restoring the mansion. It is not town supported. The goal is to cover operating costs through rentals and other income; restoration costs will be covered by fund raising.

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Is the Sanborn House going to become a house museum?

No, the goal of the Historical and Cultural Center is to illustrate town history by use of the House for 21st Century activities. The original architectural detail on the main floor is intact but with due respect for it fine detail and quality, meetings, private parties, concerts, classes and many other activites are all possible. Furnishings are of the period but few to allow room for these uses.

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Organizations Supporting the Sanborn House and Winchester Historical Society Programs

Featured Publication

Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures
by Ellen Knight

Look into the history of the Wright-Locke farm in a new 16-page booklet titled Wright-Locke Farm: A History in Pictures. Read More.

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