The consummate blend of professional, philanthropist, community leader, and supporter of the arts, May Martin Goyne continues to inspire women in Nevada County. Born in Nevada City in 1875, May spent the majority of her life here, graduating from Nevada Union High School. At the age of 12, May visited England to attend Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee (where she was presented to the Queen) and was inspired by the vibrant theatre tradition of London. Love of the arts would guide May throughout the rest of her life. Her father, a successful miner, purchased the Miners Foundry in 1907, beginning her long association with the building.
May worked at the Miners Foundry as the office manager and bookkeeper, successfully combining the skills needed to run a machine shop with the grace and talents of a lady of the early 1900s. Through her marriage to Richard Goyne (whom she met at the Foundry), May found a devoted partner who shared her life and loves. Although Dick and May continued to own and work at the Miners Foundry until 1957, their shared passion for the theatre, arts, music, and community filled their private lives.
Deeply entrenched in Nevada County, Dick and May spent much of their time giving back to the community. The Goynes encouraged the local schools to offer music lessons and often anonymously provided musical instruments for children whose parents were unable to do so. May was a driving force in the cultural life of Nevada City, involved in nearly every parade, play, or musical production. Dick regularly dressed up and led the annual Donation Day parade in Grass Valley with his beloved dog.
Although May passed away on March 8, 1962, her energy and enthusiasm continue to inspire those who visit the Miners Foundry. It continues to be a place where arts, culture, and community meet to celebrate life. We hope May would approve.