Carl Broggi played a full part in practically every charitable or welfare project and campaign in Sanford for many years. When the Goodall-Sanford Mills closed in the 1950s, he stepped forward and inspired the organization of the Sanford-Springvale Chamber of Commerce which became the leader in the campaign to attract new industry to Sanford. Mr. Broggi's efforts were so successful, he was appointed Maine's first commissioner of the new state Department of Development of Industry and Commerce.
Sanford - When Carl Broggi passed away in March of 1956 at the age of 47, the shock of his death was felt throughout the state. Governor Edmund S. Muskie called Broggi, "an inspiring and dedicated leader in our effort to build a common future."
The impact of Broggi's achievements might have affected the entire state, but his life was centered in Sanford. It seems appropriate that Broggi was one of the people chosen as an inaugural member of the Sanford High School Hall of Fame.
Broggi was born in Sanford on Nov. 28, 1909. He graduated from Sanford High in 1926. After graduating from Bates College in 1930, Broggi was accepted at Tufts Medical School in Massachusetts. However, the sudden death of his father changed his plans.
Broggi abandoned his plans for a medical career and returned to Sanford and take over his father's newspaper distribution business. While he was working there, he married the former Margaret Peterson, also of Sanford, in 1933. They had three children, Joan, Judy, and Carl Jr. Sadly, Carl Jr. died in 1947 at the age of 12 in a swimming accident.
Broggi's daughter, Judy Nicolosi, remembers her father "had a terrific sense of humor, he was fun."
Broggi "loved music" according to Nicolosi, and he played piano in a Sanford band with Everett Firth Sr.
Broggi also had a great love for Sanford, and he was involved in many clubs and organizations throughout the town. He was a member of the Sanford School Committee, and was one of the leaders of the project to raise funds to build Memorial Gym. Broggi was president of both the Elks and Lions Club, and he was the chairman of the local Red Cross blood donor program.
Broggi represented Sanford in the Maine House of Representatives from 1949-1950, and was elected to the State senate in 1950. In his final term in the Senate, Broggi was the chairman of the Joint Education Committee.
He decided to return to Sanford after the Goodall-Sanford mills closed in 1954. Broggi saw that with the loss of the mills, Sanford would need someone to lead the town out of its troubled times. He has been described as "the man who helped save Sanford." Broggi described the reasons for his return to Sanford by saying, "People there have been good to us and I'm the first one to have a chance to repay them."
Broggi was instrumental in founding the Sanford-Springvale Chamber of Commerce, and he served as its first president. At the Chamber of Commerce kick-off dinner in January 1954, Broggi outlined the mission of the chamber. "There is no reason why we cannot stabilize the economy of this community," Broggi said. "I urge everyone to join and support the Chamber of Commerce to see if we can get a more normal, diversified industrial situation in Sanford."
Broggi's efforts to revive Sanford were noticed nationwide. NBC television profiled Sanford in a 1954 program titled, "The Town that Refused to Die". The program was narrated by John Cameron Swayze, and Darrin McGavin played Broggi, who made an appearance at the end of the program to sum up his plan for Sanford.
With the success of his "Sanford Plan," Gov. Muskie named Broggi as the first commissioner to the newly created Department of Industry and Commerce.
Broggi devised a plan to hold industrial development clinics throughout Maine, which were very successful. The eight clinics that Broggi held before he died drew over 1,000 people from all over the state.
But Broggi died before he could fully complete his program. At the time of his death, Muskie said that the work that Broggi started would be continued in his memory. "It is the feeling of the department from top to bottom, that they have the supreme confidence in the program that Mr. Broggi has set up," Muskie said. "They feel the best memorial they can build for him is to justify his hopes and his work by carrying it on."
A further tribute to Carl Broggi is still a daily part of life in Sanford, in 1957, the state legislature named sections of Rte. 111 and Rte. 202 the "Carl J. Broggi Highway."
A lasting tribute to the "man who saved Sanford".
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