Millinocket Historical Society

Preserving Millinocket’s heritage, one story at a time.

Month: March 2017

Odds and Ends from the Museum

It’s spring! The warmer weather is starting to bring more visitors to the museum.  Recently five people with the group Friends of Baxter State Park stopped in as did a recent transplant from Oregon and folks from Boston, Washington County, Brunswick and Vermont. The 2017 U.S. map we use to keep track of where visitors are from is starting to show lots of color.

Someone recently asked what the museum had on the Medway Road area. There are winter photos of trucks and houses and one showing the CCC camp near where the Airport Cabins are today. The museum also has photos of the other CCC camps in the area.

Dorothy Laverty’s book revealed interesting pieces of information. Early on town leaders realized that other than the train, there was little access to this new town. You could travel by water up the West Branch or by land over the old Sourdnahunk tote road. Penobscot County commissioners were petitioned (1901) to consider a road to connect with Medway and Mattawamkeag. Central Street was extended and a bridge constructed over Millinocket Stream. A large picture (c1911) on display at the museum shows this bridge. The new road was continued and followed the old trail to Medway. Everyone referred to it as Medway Road. Just beyond the bridge was the original town dump. Later on, the Millinocket Cemetery was established on a plateau about a mile from the center of town. This street was also the location of a “Pest House” built circa 1917 to house quarantined individuals during the smallpox epidemic.

*** Still time to get your paver orders in for the next group to be placed later this year. Contact MHS for the specifics. The pavers are $100.00 each (tax deductible) and may be in honor or in memory, for a school or team, business, organization or in your own name. Once the snow melts, come view the pavers already in place.

***In the Museum Store: Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness  and So You Live in Millinocket, both by Dorothy Laverty; Millinocket by David Duplisea; Our Real War by Mike Murphy; No Time for Moss by S. McKeen (story of author’s mother, Verna Thorpe who grew up in Millinocket). Other local books for sale include: Katahdin Fantasies by Marian W. Smith plus her other books on local Native American legends and her books on Thoreau’s journey to Katahdin; The Northern by John McLeod and booklets from the town’s 50th and 100th birthday. We sometimes have an extra copy of Sawtelle’s Coach & His Boys; Sylvio Caron’s book on lumbering in the area and others. A great DVD titled Spirits of Katahdin researched and compiled by Colleen McLaughlin with music by Jude Ippoliti is available. Additional items include a few Fernwood pieces, vintage postcards, dishcloths and several things in our mini-yard sale display. As always, copies of the MHS calendars from 2009-2017 are on sale. Most items also available by mail. Contact me via email or phone for prices and SH info.

*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. Watch for the sandwich board sign out front.

***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 207-723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net to arrange for groups or appointments. Contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Fundraising Activities

See the Store page for information on books, calendars and other items for sale at the museum!

Paver Fundraiser

We’re off to a good start!

That describes the Millinocket Historical Society’s new fundraising project. Below is a brief explanation.  Please contact the museum for further details, to see a sample of what the paver will look like, to pick up an order blank, or to have one mailed to you.


Help the Millinocket Historical Society complete the renovation of the second floor, basement, and exterior of the new museum at 80 Central Street by purchasing your engraved paver.

Purchase a paver in memory of a loved one, your children, your family or yourself.  Buy a brick for your business, organization, or high school class. These engraved pavers will be placed in the space between the museum’s front porch and the sidewalk, along with a new permanent sign for the museum.

Odds and Ends from the Museum

More from the Laverty album! Several experimental saws for use in GNP’s logging operations are shown in photos from this album. All are the 1940s. One is a mall gasoline engine drive saw. The photos show two men, one at either end of a long saw blade and there is a small motor on one end. That end of the saw is attached to a support cable and pulley system. Two of the photos show this saw in use at South Twin Lake.

Three photos show two men working with a Davey Air Saw at South Twin Lake. They appear to be on the frozen lake and a horse-drawn wood sled is in the background. Another saw is called a “Sally” Power Saw. These photos are dated 1946 and show the saw being used in the summer. One man is holding saw in one hand (similar to how one would hold a chain saw today), but there is a metal support to the ground under this end. Then there is a large “jaws-like” apparatus on the end that cuts through the log.

The last saw shown in these photos is a Precision power saw. These photos are dated 1947. This is a fairly large saw, but it is shown being used by one man and one photo shows him carrying it on his shoulder. Were these experimental saws? Did any of them come into common usage by GNP? We would be interested in learning more.

Another group of pictures are of an experimental side dump truck. It looks as if a loaded truck drove to a prepared spot and the right wheels went into a dug out space so the truck leaned to the right. The side stakes were loosened so that the logs would roll off and into the water.

Thank you for voting in the Bangor Savings Bank Community Matters More campaign. If you haven’t voted, there’s still time (through rest of February). Get a paper ballot at any Bangor Savings Bank or go online to www.bangor.com/cmm and cast your vote. There will also be a link to this site on our Facebook page. You may vote only one time. We hope you will share this information with your family and friends. Voters must live in Maine and can be of any age.

***Now is a good time to place your orders for pavers for placement next spring. Contact MHS for the specifics. The pavers are $100.00 each (tax deductible) and may be in honor or in memory, for a school or team, business, organization or in your own name. A new museum sign, as yet unfinished, will occupy a place in the center of the paver area.

***2017 calendars still available! They may be purchased at the museum, Levasseur’s or Save-a-Lot. Older calendars, books by local authors and other items available in the museum store.

*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM (weather permitting).  Watch for the sandwich board sign out front.

***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 207-723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net to arrange for groups or appointments. Contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Memories: A Mill Town’s Beginnings

(Millinocket’s Downtown Area) by Beth Cyr

When Millinocket was first built, the main street was a dirt road with a few stores. As time went by, more and more stores opened up, more streets were added for our growing population, and Millinocket grew.

This section welcomes your memories. Maybe there were some interesting things that your grandparents or other family members told you about the past that would be of interest. Especially, to those of us who would like to know what used to be in Millinocket and how the town was first layed out.  What was the first street?  Who built the first home in Millinocket?

I’m a firm believer that anyone who is living or has lived here, or has family here, knows a little something……maybe many know what you know….maybe they don’t. You might know something that nobody else knows, or maybe you have a little more information that we didn’t have which takes it to a newer level! What a concept!! So, don’t think that what you might know, even if it’s a small thing, isn’t important. Sometimes it’s the small details that really add to the story.

We are hoping you will help us find a way to bring back those memories, and what better way than to start with the first stores that came to Millinocket and where they were located. If anyone knows who owned these stores, it gets even better! Even if it’s memories that weren’t so long ago, we do not discriminate any memories, we welcome them all.

So, to get started…

Does anyone remember Monahan’s? Was that one of the first stores, or did that come later on?
What about the Millinocket Theater, Theater Grill and the old Opera House? Any information would be wonderful. Remember who owned and operated them?

Does anyone know the name and location of the first store built and who owned it?

Did we have any famous people around then?  Any interesting stories about the stores or their owners/family?

Who can resist strolling down “memory lane” without smiling over remembered experiences and people from our past? I’m hoping this site will be extremely informative to people who have moved here who want to know about Millinocket’s past, and it could also be a kind of blueprint for those future historians to go by when discussing what “used to be” in this area, generations from now.

You’ll be surprised how many things come back to you as you start to think about the past and what was here before, things you probably haven’t thought about in years.

Now…does anyone remember the name of the grocery store that was on the corner of Penobscot Ave? There was a drug store across the street that you could sit at a counter and have lunch, or get ice cream sundaes, milkshakes, etc. Anyone remember the name of it?

I know somebody out there knows the answers to many of these questions. We’re hoping you will all participate in recalling main street, back when, and share your memories with us. To that end, we are supplying an email address for you to respond to.

Please write us and send your memories of Millinocket to the Millinocket Historical Society, PO Box 11, Millinocket, ME 04462

IN PURSUIT OF TRIVIA…….

Did you know that there were two ships named after Mount Katahdin?

USS Katahdin (1861)

The first USS Katahdin of the United States Navy was a screw gunboat of the American Civil War.
The “90-day gunboat” was launched by Larrabee & Allen of Bath, Maine,  October 12, 1861, and commissioned at Boston Navy Yard  February 17, 1862, Lieutenant George Henry Preble in command.


After the Confederate collapse in April 1865, the veteran gunboat returned north and decommissioned July 14, 1865. Katahdin was sold at New York  November 30th.

Second USS Katahdin (1893)
USS Katahdin, an ironclad harbor-defense ram of innovative design, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Katahdin, a mountain peak in Maine. Her keel was laid down by the Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine. She was launched on  February 4, 1893 sponsored Miss Una Soley, daughter of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on  February 20,  1897 with Commander Richard P. Leary in command.
Katahdin’s design was a new departure in naval architecture, built to ride extremely low in the water with her bow awash while under way. Her hull embodied several new features later used in early submarines.
She was recommissioned there  March 10, 1898. She was attached to the North Atlantic Squadron and operated along the Atlantic Coast from New England to Norfolk protecting the Nation’s seaboard cities from possible attack. After decisive American naval victories at Manila Bay and Santiago Harbor eliminated this threat, the ram decommissioned for the last time at Philadelphia Navy Yard  October 8th. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on July 9, 1909 and designated “Ballistic Experimental Target ‘A'”. Katahdin was sunk by gunfire at Rappahannock Spit, Virginia, that September.

If you found the above article interesting, or know more about it, please let us know by mailing us at the address below.

We are looking for trivia about the Katahdin area and/or knowledge of places or things named after the region, (like the ship in the article above). We would like to hear from anyone that has knowledge of anything associated with this region and it’s names. It could be something that either travels or is located somewhere else, but named for or after something here. In other words, we would love to hear about any trivia you might know about and think would be of interest to those of us who are forever… in pursuit of trivia.

The more people that participate, the more we all learn about the community and the region we live in.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Please write us and send your “trivia” questions and answers to the Millinocket Historical Society, PO Box 11, Millinocket, ME 04462.

We are hoping to feature different objects from our museum on a monthly basis.  Some of them might hit a “Memory button” with a few of you, and some of you might get a great laugh from the fond memories they bring. 

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