By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — This home was once filled with magic.
A 3,266-square-foot Boyd Road Victorian, once belonging to popular local magician Austin “Ace” Gorham, is up for sale. Local real estate agents put a magical spin on a recent open house.
Agents invited well-known magic expert B.J. Hickman to entertain guests during the open house on Oct. 22 in Gorham’s memory.
Hickman knew Gorham and first met him as a young magician while learning all about the tricks of the trade.
“I knew Ace when I was a kid,” Hickman recalled before starting his show. “This (house) is so rich in history.”
For Hickman, growing up in Manchester, learning from one of the area’s best was a valuable lesson.
“When I was in the eighth grade, Ace came to my school to do an assembly program,” he said. “I remember how much I was into magic at that time and it was the first time I saw him perform. I’d then see him pretty regularly.”
Gorham not only led the various magician organizations and groups, but also performed around the region and also on children’s TV programs.
He also served as a state legislator.
He and Hickman became friends and both were active members of the local affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Gorham served as president of the international group at one time.
Hickman often got a chance to fill in for Gorham on television.
Derry town historian Richard Holmes said Gorham may have been a “mover and shaker” when the Boys and Girls Club was being organized, but was known best for his magic.
He said there is a portrait of Gorham hanging at the club in East Derry.
Hickman is still very active, traveling around the country to perform his magic. He is regularly featured around New England at fairs, libraries, special community events and festivals. He has also appeared regularly at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.
Gorham died in 1978 in Florida, but his memory lives on in the Boyd Road home.
That, Hickman said, made his appearance at the open house extra special.
Once the show began, other local Realtors joined in, helping Hickman with his tricks.
“I thought it was fitting to host a magic show in the home of the great Ace Gorham who delighted so many people with his spectacular performances,” agent Charlotte McCaul said.
The home is currently owned by the Mark Hodgkins family.