The Millinocket Historical Society was founded in 1979 by residents Polly and Bud Segee with a mission to gather and preserve Millinocket's history along with the artifacts that remind us where and how our town came to be. These are the elements that have shaped our lives, our town, and generations of hometown traditions. By preserving these treasures of our past, we ensure our future generations will be able to appreciate the people and families that built this town and savor the spirit of the generations that came before them.
The Millinocket Historical Society is currently undertaking a capital fund raising campaign to purchase a new home for our museum. With much appreciated financial support from our local town council and recent large capitol donations, moving to our new home comes closer to reality every day. This much awaited move will allow our patrons and historical artifacts to benefit with greater visitation hours and more than ten times the floor space available today. The many artifacts that are currently in storage would then be available for all to view at our new 80 Central Street location. Our Museum will then gain better exposure and increased revenue from visitor traffic, because of our new home's location on the primary tourism corridor to Baxter State Park.
In 1830, Thomas Fowler cleared land alongside the West Branch of the Penobscot River at the head of Shad Pond, built a log cabin and settled in the area that would later become known as the town of Millinocket. As of 1837, a census by the State of Maine showed several families living in what was then known as East Indian Township No. 2. They were families of Thomas Fowler, Issac Webber, Jesse Martin, and Asher Martin. On his first visit to the area in 1846, Henry David Thoreau visited Thomas Fowler and a homestead owned by the McCauslin family. Thoreau later described the area in his book titled, "The Maine Woods."
In 1894, the Bangor and Aroostook railroad extended its service to Houlton which opened the Millinocket area to development. Thanks in part to this new rail service, the "Magic City" was about to be born.
In 1898, the Great Northern Paper Company began construction of their paper mill. The Italian stone masons were largely responsible for the construction of the Millinocket mill. The mill became the largest of its kind in the world at that time. From this development, the town of Millinocket came to be. Because of the speed with which the town grew, it gained the nickname of “The Magic City.” The word "Millinocket", in the language of Maine's Abenaki people, roughly translates to "land with many islands" which described nearby Millinocket Lake.
In 1901, the town of Millinocket was incorporated. From then on, the successes of this rural town's paper industry became apparent through its increasing population and development. With the development of the town came the Volunteer Fire Department in 1901. The Congregational Church soon followed in 1904, with Stearns High School in 1923 and Katahdin Avenue School in 1931. The Millinocket Post Office opened its doors on August 23, 1937.