Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: January 2018

Shack Hill, Little Italy, Tin Can Alley, The Flat

Shack Hill, Little Italy, Tin Can Alley and The Flat were names associated with certain areas of Millinocket in earlier days and some of those names are still used today. A recent museum visitor inquired about the origin of these names and it has had museum volunteers doing some research on the subject. Two sources have been helpful, Dorothy Laverty’s Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness and The Katahdin Times article from 1997 by Judy Heikkinen.
Shack Hill was the name given to the hill behind the mill site. It consisted of tents, hovels, shacks, lean-tos, larders and rough tarred paper shacks. There was no town yet so no regular housing was available. The Laverty book refers to this area as “the town’s first housing development.” This was also the area where the early businessmen set up shop. As the mill grew, some Shack Hill buildings were moved and the location became a storage area for tree-length long logs. Nearby, the other side of the stream, became known as Little Italy. This name came from the large number of Italian workers who needed housing close to the mill. This area has a rich history that needs to be documented.
An early town street was Aroostook Avenue and the section near the mill gate at first housed Greek and then Polish families. We found two different mentions as to why it became known as Tin Can Alley. One version suggests some houses had a shiny galvanized siding on them. Another version states that prior to becoming a housing area, it was a dumping spot for tin cans, metal and glass. (In early days, the only items folks had to throw away were glass bottles and metals such as tin cans as the pigs got any food scraps and wood stoves consumed what little other trash families had.)
Low land near Millinocket Stream became known as The Flat. The ends of State Street and Congress Street to Central Street near the bridge became the location of some early town houses. Across the bridge, a road was constructed to Medway. The museum has a large c1911 photo on display of the bridge and a portion of the town.
Later columns will describe other town areas with unique names. Please share your knowledge of these town area names with us as we would like to learn more!

*** A Little Taste of History, a new cookbook featuring recipes from many Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants (wives of mill employees, businessmen, school and town employees and more. Includes some photos and personal notes. 200 pages. Each cookbook is $15.00 (mail orders add $5.00 SH each book). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium & by mail.
***2018 Calendar with vintage photos – still available. Just $10.00 (by mail add $4.00SH).
***Get your orders in for one of the laser engraved pavers. Cost $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines with up to 15 letters, symbols, spaces per line. Contact museum for form or more details. Another group of pavers will be in before July 4.

*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. The new OPEN sign will be lit. Weather permitting!
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Millinocket’s Airport

Did you know Northeast Airlines once made regular stops to unload/pick up passengers at the Millinocket Municipal Airport? A recent visitor to the museum posed this question and then gave some information on the subject. A look into the Dorothy Laverty book revealed some further details. The airport was constructed in the early 1930’s and in 1939 Northeast (one of the major U.S. airlines at that time) extended its service from Bangor to Millinocket, Houlton and Presque Isle. A small building served as office for passenger tickets, baggage weighing and waiting room. Northeast continued scheduled stops at the Millinocket Airport until the early 1950’s.
The museum has a small collection of local airport related photos, news articles and other paper items but would very much like to add to this. The Laverty book mentions several local pilots, flying clubs, military usage and more. It would be nice to have photos and information to add to the museum’s collection and research files. One local pilot currently in the museum’s file is Charlie Mack (Charles Mouckerezi, SHS graduate 1938). Among his accomplishments were record-setting flights in small aircraft. In 1989 he became the first man to fly a single engine solo non-stop flight from New York City to Paris retracing Charles Lindberg’s route. A few days later, he turned around and flew solo from Paris back to New York City. His plane was a Beechcraft Bonanza. The same year, he also completed a polar flight. His intention was to fly from Point Barrow, Alaska to Helsinki, Finland, but possible fuel complications (after he was in the air) made the flight extremely risky. However, he managed to complete the flight. The museum has quite a long article describing these flights.
Another article in the museum file tells of the 1956 “flaming crash” of a U.S. Air Force plane near Route 157 as it attempted to land at the airport. It was in route from Boston to Loring Air Force Base. The museum file also contains the program from a 1963 air show held at the airport featuring ground displays of WWI planes, home-built planes and many displays. There were sky divers, fly-overs from Loring and Dow Air Force Bases. There were stunt pilot demonstrations and a free plane ride for the oldest person attending the show,

*** A Little Taste of History, a new cookbook featuring recipes from many Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants (wives of mill employees, businessmen, school and town employees and more. Includes some photos and personal notes. 200 pages. Each cookbook is $15.00 (mail orders add $5.00 SH each book). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium & by mail.
***2018 Calendar with vintage photos – still available. Just $10.00 (by mail add $4.00SH).
***Get your orders in for one of the laser engraved pavers. Cost $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines with up to 15 letters, symbols, spaces per line. Contact museum for form or more details. Another group of pavers will be in before July 4.

*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. The new OPEN sign will be lit. Weather permitting!
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

SHS Coach Jimmy Stevens

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

It’s basketball season and many are looking to finish out with an winning season and a trip to the tournament. This has long been a tradition in Millinocket with both the boys and girls high school teams. The museum has a scrapbook with many pages devoted to a former coach and physical education director at Stearns High School. His name was Jimmy Stevens.
Stevens graduated from Stearns HS in 1928 and was described as an outstanding athlete in spite of the fact he never weighed more than 125 pounds. He then attended Higgins Classical Institute and excelled at three sports there. His next schooling was at Springfield College where he was on the wrestling and baseball teams. He graduated from Springfield in 1933 and accepted a coaching position back in his home town of Millinocket.
During the next few years, Stevens’ boys’ basketball teams made the Eastern Maine tournament every year and the finals twice. An article in the scrapbook states. “Jimmy Stevens’ teams have had perhaps the greatest following of any team in Maine. Each time they worked their way into a tournament the whole town locked things up and boarded special trains to go and cheer the boys on.” In addition to boys’ basketball, Stevens also coached football, baseball and girls’ basketball at Stearns. Visit the museum and check out the yearbooks for photos and game highlights and statistics for the teams he coached.
A Bangor Daily News article tells of Stevens’ popularity after the announcement that he was leaving Stearns. He was called “Stearns Two Thousand Dollar Coach” by his admirers. He was applauded “as a coach, guide, mentor and friend of the Magic City’s famous Minutemen.” The students, in appreciation of their coach, presented him with an “expensive Gladstone zipper traveling bag.” Another article relates that Dr. Morey, school board chairman, called Stevens’ resignation as a “bombshell on the schoolboy sports front.” The new physical education director/coach hired for the 1940-41 school year was George Wentworth.
According to Jimmy Stevens’ daughter, Judyth, her father is primarily responsible for the Stearns’ teams being called the Minutemen. Judyth is a regular visitor to the museum. Stop in and check out the scrapbook, yearbooks and many photos of the Jimmy Stevens years at Stearns as a student and a coach.

*** A Little Taste of History, a new cookbook featuring recipes from many Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants (wives of mill employees, businessmen, school and town employees and more. Includes some photos and personal notes. 200 pages. Each cookbook is $15.00 (mail orders add $5.00 SH each book). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium & by mail.
***2018 Calendar with vintage photos – still available. Just $10.00 (by mail add $4.00SH).
***Get your orders in for one of the laser engraved pavers. Cost $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines with up to 15 letters, symbols, spaces per line. Contact museum for form or more details. Another group of pavers will be in before July 4.

*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. The new OPEN sign will be lit. Weather permitting!
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Old Local Businesses

Custom and laws have changed the number of days and hours that businesses remain open. The Millinocket Journal dated January 17, 1902 has an announcement that states “The merchants made a strong effort this week to secure the closing of the stores in town for two evenings a week.” That announcement implies that many of the stores were open possibly seven evenings each week. It continues, “ We, the undersigned merchants and businessmen, do hereby agree to close our stores and place of business on every Wednesday and Friday evening at 6 o’clock of each consecutive week during the months of January, February and March.” Some of the signers included: G.B. Moran (clothing store), Higgins & Bach (?), Fred McLawlin, H. & J. Rush (clothing store), John Simon (groceries+), Mrs. J. Gwynn (seamstress), Asa Craig (dry goods), F.M. Peasley (hardware), Boston Shoe Store, Gonya Bros., James F. Kimball (groceries & more), G.S. Baker & Co. (furniture, crockery, funeral goods) and McAvey Bros. The museum continues to learn more about former local businesses to add to our research file. If you have information on any of the above businesses, their owners, dates of operation or photos, please consider sharing by stopping by the museum, sending a letter or an email.
The same newspaper has local news items from Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway, but it also has a short column of items from Braggville. Anyone know where that might have been? It mentions that J. D. Leon, E. H. Townsend & Co. and Thos. Neddo are putting in their supply of ice for next summer. Another item tells that the bark teams of F.L, Robinson & Son are hauling some loads at present, while some of the outsiders have been tied up for the past few days. Was this an organized Maine town at one time or the name of a section of one of the area towns? It would be interesting to know!
The blizzard, high winds and extremely cold temperatures kept us from opening the museum last week. We hope that winter will be kinder to us for the remaining time that it is with us.

*** A Little Taste of History, a new cookbook featuring recipes from many Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants (wives of mill employees, businessmen, school and town employees and more. Includes some photos and personal notes. 200 pages. Each cookbook is $15.00 (mail orders add $5.00 SH each book). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium & by mail.
***2018 Calendar with vintage photos –still available. Just $10.00 (by mail add $4.00SH). Get your orders in for one of the laser engraved pavers. Cost $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines with up to 15 letters, symbols, spaces per line. Contact museum for form or more details. Another group of pavers will be in before July 4.

*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. The new OPEN sign will be lit. Weather permitting!
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

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