Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: April 2018

More Building Plans

Spring has arrived! The piles of snow that filled some of the parking spaces at the museum have finally melted away and all the sand and winter debris can be swept away. Thanks, Robert Whirty, for taking care of the shoveling duties this past winter and the outside sweeping! Thank you to Adam Qualey, Inc. for the snow plowing. Now attention turns to spring cleaning. Lots of items to be dusted, not an easy task. Floors need attention. Windows need washing…any volunteers? Flowers will go in the planters under both museum signs and in containers near the handicapped ramp soon. And work will continue on the second floor space!
Last week I wrote of several house plans donated to the museum. They are from the 1940’s-50’s and drawn by Delore Theriault, local engineer. Along with the house plans were a few other building plans of interest. From 1954, is the original plan for the Millinocket Fruit Company (now Living Innovations on Penobscot Avenue). The first Fruit Store was located on the opposite side of the parking lot opposite the Municipal Building. Started by David Drago in 1929, he came from Calais and brought with him the cash register presently on display at the museum. This building burned in 1958. I do not know the year the Matangelo family took ownership, but they had the plans drawn for the concrete block building that was constructed on the left side of the parking lot. That is the Fruit Store most remember and those plans are at the museum.
Another interesting plan is for the local library. The original library was on Central Street in the Decker-Gonya Block. It opened in 1919. As part of the town’s 50th anniversary activities (1951), a construction committee was formed to make plans for a new larger library. A plot of land opposite the Millinocket Trust Company on Penobscot Avenue was acquired from the Great Northern Paper Company. It would be located between the Rexall Drug Store and A.C. Smart’s store. Monies were voted at town meetings and committees were formed. A plan was drawn up (the one at the museum). This library was to have parking space for eight touring cars and had an estimated cost of $75,000. But time passed and in 1961 when the Great Northern Hotel was demolished, the town exchanged the Penobscot Avenue lot with GNP for the former hotel lot on Maine Avenue. So these first plans were never used.

*** A Little Taste of History, recipes from 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 – still available. Now only $5.00 (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***Orders 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.
*** 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 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.

1940’s House Plans

After World War II ended and local military men and women started returning to Millinocket, the need for more housing grew. As a result, a new area west of Medway Road was made available by GNP who held title to all the land at that time. Eastland Avenue and Maple Street would become two new streets in that area and by the late 1940’s homes began to appear. The first is said to have been built by Wilber Culbertson in 1946 and later sold to Carl Stockwell, Jr. (see Laverty book). GNP also constructed three homes there.
The museum recently received twenty plus original house plans, and several were for homes on Eastland Avenue and Maple Street. Most were drawn by local engineer Delore F. Theriault. They were brought to the museum by Tom Plourde who came into possession of them through a job he was working on. It is believed they came from the former Theriault house on Highland Avenue. They are in good condition. It would be interesting to know if the final construction matched these plans and to know what changes may have been made through the years. On Eastland Avenue the plans are for the George Raymond house (#18, no date given); Vincent DeCourcey house (#28, 7/3/1947); Bernard Gerry, Jr. house (#52, 8/2/1948); George McCluskey house (#66, 4/24/1948); John Gonya house (#90, 10/10/1946); and the Kenneth King house (#32, 4/3/1947). On Maple Street are the houses of Fred Morrison (#28, 7/29/1947); William Edmonds (#33, 3/20/1946); Dana E. Edmonds (#37, 1/25/1947); and Harold Whitehead (#38, 4/18/1947), In addition there were also plans for a home on Medway Road (#47), and one each on Congress Street (#357) and Knox Street (#195).
In this same time period, new houses were built on the Flat (along State Street) as far as the athletic field. A new street, Water Street, was laid out near the stream. As mentioned last week, the former “pest house” on Water Street was renovated and became a family home. It is still someone’s home today. Bowdoin Street was extended to the area near the railroad making more space for new homes.
All of these plans may be viewed at the museum and we also have several aerial photos of different areas of town. Maybe you can pick out your home!

*** A Little Taste of History, a cookbook featuring recipes from 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. Now only $5.00 (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***Not too late to 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.

*** 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 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.

Epidemics and Pest Houses

A mention on Facebook regarding former “pest houses” in Millinocket sent me into research mode on the topic. Pest houses were buildings used for the isolation or quarantine of individuals afflicted with a contagious disease. In Millinocket, cholera, smallpox and typhoid were the main causes for the need of pest houses although some cases of diphtheria were found also.
A copy of a report by the medical inspector for the State Board of Health of Maine, Henry Hawkins, M.D. gives statistics, causes, and details of Millinocket’s cholera and typhoid epidemics of 1904. Early town reports also contain case statistics compiled by the local health officers. As early as 1902, a local Board of Health was appointed consisting of Dr. Cody, Dr. Bryant and Benjamin Bragdon, deputy sheriff.
Typhoid cases in 1903 were so rampant that a portion of the Mountain View House (hotel, boarding house on Penobscot Avenue across from the park) became a temporary hospital. At a later date, thirty cases of smallpox at Levasseur’s Boarding House resulted in those patients being quarantined there. As more townspeople were stricken, the town purchased a small building on the way to Stone Dam, This was the town’s first pest house. When this structure was not enough, the town built a two-story building on Medway Road. It had beds and cooking facilities. Five small camps were placed around it and each housed five or six patients who had to live there until the disease was no longer a threat to others. (Note that this last information is from the Laverty book which also has a photo of a pest house, possibly the Medway Road location. This photo was also reproduced as a post card view and as such may be recognized by some people. The museum collection has this post card.)
By 1912, the Medway Road pest house had burned. The Laverty book states that the Alex Resignol house was used for a time. (Where?) Then GNP built pest houses for both Millinocket and East Millinocket. They were a bungalow-type. The location is not mentioned, but a later reference, after WWII, is made of a pest being located in the area that is now Water Street. It stated the “old pest house was no longer needed.” New homes filled the area and the pest house became a home.

*** A Little Taste of History, a cookbook featuring recipes from 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. Now only $5.00 (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***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.
***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.

Great Northern Hotel Menus

Many people today depend on social media to share information. A post recently on a Facebook group site called Millinocket, ME History that I follow had mention of original menus from the Great Northern Hotel. Readers responded with comments and suggestions and someone mentioned the museum as a possible caretaker of these items. I then corresponded with the holder of these three menus and as a result they are now in the museum’s collection after being mailed by Juli Pelkey Ratcliffe of Colorado. Her grandfather Joseph Tardy was head chef at the hotel. Julie stated that the typewritten menus were found in her grandfather’s personal cookbook. Each is on what seems like stationary with the words Great Northern Hotel, Today’s Specials at the top.
The earliest menu is for Christmas, 1946. The entire meal had a price of $1.75 and started with a choice of grapefruit juice, tomato juice or cream of mushroom soup. Main dish selections were roast turkey with dressing and giblet gravy or grilled tenderloin steak with mushrooms or grilled sirloin steak with mushrooms. A diner could choose boiled or mashed potatoes and creamed peas or mashed squash or salad. The desserts featured a choice of apple or chocolate cream pie, brownies, plantation cream cookies, date bars or plum pudding with hard sauce. Coffee, tea or milk were the beverage choices. Quite a meal for the price!
The second menu was Thanksgiving, 1949 and the price had risen to $2.00. Again a choice of two juices, but the soup was chicken with rice. Additional choices included oyster cocktail and corn fritters. The main dish options were roast stuffed native turkey with cranberry sauce and giblet gravy or grilled western sirloin steak with mushroom sauce or grilled premium ham. There were nine dessert choices including orange marmalade cookies, cream layer cake and ice cream. The museum would like to have copies of some of those recipes in case we do a volume #2 of our successful cookbook.
The third menu was dated 1/15/1956 with ten entries featuring beef, veal, chicken, pork and lamb dishes plus halibut steak. Prices ranged from $1.80 to $2.85. No sandwiches or other options are mentioned, but perhaps were included on the hotel’s regular daily lunch menus.

*** A Little Taste of History, a cookbook featuring recipes from 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. Now only $5.00 (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***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.
***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.

The Northern Magazine

The Northern, a monthly magazine published by the Spruce Wood Department, Division of Social Services, Great Northern Paper Company existed for a few years in the 1920’s. It was referred to as “a magazine of contact between the management and the men.” The idea came from F. A. Gilbert as he wished to offer the people working out of areas such as the Grant Farm, Rice Farm, Pittston and Seboomook “opportunities for diversion which they could not otherwise get.” These magazines would offer a variety of entertaining and informative news of the time. The museum has almost, but not quite, a complete collection of these magazines available for reading, reference and research. The first issue came out in April of 1921 and consisted of only four pages. Until recently, the museum did not have the first issue. Now, thanks to Bob C. Leet, we were allowed to scan an original first issue and a copy has been placed with the rest. Here are the issues still needed to make a complete set. 1921 – May thru Dec.; 1922 – April, Aug., Sept., Nov.; 1923 – Jan., March, May, July, Aug.; 1924 – Feb., March; 1927- May, Nov., Dec.; 1928 – Nov., Dec. If you have an original you do not wish to give up, consider allowing us to scan it.
Gaile Nicholson donated a box of vintage kitchen utensils from her grandparent’s camp on Millinocket Lake. Most were from 1935 or a bit later. Some have been added to our kitchen display including a stainless steel tool to release ice from a metal ice cube tray, a small kitchen towel drying rack (fold up arms), an adjustable tool for opening screw-top jars and a sugar/flour scoop. We use such items for “What is it?” with the students who visit. Two original unopened boxes with great color graphics hold an early version of plastic household gloves and kitchen trash bags. The bags are advertised as moisture proof, super waxed and water repellent. They appear to be paper and said to have double pasted seams and triple pasted bottoms. The lady on one of the boxes is reminiscent of an early TV mom in a pretty dress and apron.

*** A Little Taste of History, a cookbook featuring recipes from 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. Now only $5.00 (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***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.
***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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