Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
The museum will have a table with calendars, books, DVD’s and more at the Trails End Festival on Saturday, 9/16! Hope to see you there!
Several months ago, I wrote about the Millinocket Gas Company and the lamplighter who had the task of lighting and extinguishing the town lamps. Now the story continues! Ann Catherine Bonis, a 5th or 6th grade student at Maine Avenue School here in Millinocket (1970’s) wrote a family newsletter as a school project. Included is an editorial written by her grandfather John Galvin. In that, Galvin recollects his interaction with the lamplighter, his horse “Old Bill” and what happened the night twelve year old Galvin substituted as the lamplighter. The following is a brief look at Galvin’s four-page story and a few quotes from it.
The gashouse was located near the railroad tracks behind Katahdin Avenue. The superintendent (and lamplighter) was Orville Crommett. Instead of walking around to light the lamps carrying a short ladder and a sawed-off pool cue with a hook on the end to turn the valve, Crommett chose to ride Old Bill, leaving his hands free to turn the valve on and off. Old Bill was kept in an old woodshed near the gas company.
One day Crommett asked young John Galvin to tend the lamps so he could go fishing. It would earn Galvin fifty cents, a great sum for a young boy of that era. Dusk came, Galvin walked the route to light the lamps, but later when he went to get Old Bill for the extinguishing the lamps, things happened. “There was just room for Old Bill to squeeze through (the door), and in order to do that, he had to duck his head.” Galvin saddled the horse, turned Bill around and waited while Bill ducked his head and started through the door. “There was a loud crash and there stood Old Bill, half in and half out. The saddle horn had caught on the top of the door and the saddle had ‘slidden’ all the way to the back of Bill’s hind legs holding him fast.” And Galvin was still inside and unable to get out of the shed! The story continues, “I managed to slip the saddle down so Bill could step out. I then realized Mr. Crommett must put the saddle on outside the stable.” Thus begins the next chapter of this story…to be continued!
*** Stearns and Schenck yearbooks for sale, $10.00 each, good condition!
*** The 2018 calendars available at the museum, Levasseurs, Save-a-Lot, Katahdin General Store, Rideout’s Market. Just $10.00 each. Add $4.00 SH each for mail orders.
*** Orders for the next group of pavers now being taken. Contact MHS for specifics. The pavers are $100.00 each (tax deductible) and may be in honor or in memory, for a school or team, business, organization, family, your own name or other wording.
*** Visit the museum store for local books, calendars, DVD (legends of Mt. Katahdin) and more or contact us for details including prices and shipping information. We have copies of the 2010 alumni book, some Fernwood items, dishcloths and more.
*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. The new OPEN sign will be lit.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.