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 located at 80 Central Street in Millinocket in our new building. Much work has been done in the past years that allowed us to open the first floor of this building to the public. Construction is now underway to house artifacts and open the second floor with the help from grants and donations from our patrons.
A BRIEF HISTORY
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.
There is so much of Millinocket’s rich history to share, so please, won’t you come and step back in time with us?