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A LOOK BACK: The Goodrich, A Happening Place at Halloween

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By Derek M. Otto

The Goodrich House on East Hill Main Street Springville is a beautiful Queen Anne style mansion.   The house was built by Morris Hall, who made a fortune in the building and real estate business, and was well known for the Hall’s Opera House he built that stood where DonChelle Salon is now.  The opera house burned in 1879 and he later operated another opera house with Mr. Childs in the old Universalist Church where Dr. Scharf’s office is today.   

When Hall’s wife died in 1907, the property reverted to her nephew, Luther Shuttleworth, who Morris lived with until he died in 1916.  The house stayed in the family until Shuttleworth died in 1943.

In 1943, the Roye Goodrich family purchased the property.  Mr. Goodrich was President and CEO of the Robinson Knife Company , which operated in Springville until the late 1990s. It is here where it became interesting.  The Goodrich’s loved to entertain. The eyebrow window highlights the ballroom on the third floor.  Stories still abound about the famous New Year’s Eve parties held there.

On Halloween, the Goodrich’s would host elaborate parties, and one such party was described in the local newspaper.  According to the description, guests would arrive masked, crawl through an arch made from corn stalks and then enter the darkened house.  From there, the guests would be led by flashlight through the entrance hall that was decorated with decapitated dummies and led up a darkened staircase by a rope.

The article furthers, “Descending the staircase, another escort, dressed reassuredly, as a skeleton, led them out into the falling snow, and through and avenue of lighted pumpkins to the rear of the house.  Here was a large opening, which their bewildered senses did not at first recognize as cellar doors, and their companion bade them to sit down and slide.  There was no turning back.”

The guests went through further mazes in the darkened basement.  Eventually they would make it up to the upper room that was decorated in black and orange crepe and lighted jack-o-lanterns.  There the guests first saw each other in their costumes. There was a motley crew that included Rudolph Valentino, Uncle Sam, Russian Peasants, harlequins and gypsies.  At midnight, guests were demasked and sat down to a dinner in the elaborate dining room.   The Goodrich’s guests came from Buffalo, Bradford, PA and as far away as Washington, DC.

It wasn’t just their private parties that were fun.  In the 1950s, trick-or-treaters also loved going to the Goodrich house.

“Trick-or-treaters were greeted at the back door and given hot chocolate, which was nice because it always snowed on Halloween,” remembers Maralee MacDonald,   who grew up in Springville during the 1950s.  “After you left the kitchen, you were given a small tour of the house and went out the front door with a small bag of the good candy.”

She also recalled, “It wasn’t like the old lady on Buffalo Street who made a huge bowl of popcorn and then took a teaspoon and put a teaspoon of popcorn into everyone’s bag.”

The house was owned by the Goodrich family until Grayce Goodrich died in 1992.  Today the house is still a private residence.

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