Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: September 2018

Roads

Join us this week, Thursday, September 20, 1-3 PM to hear a talk by several local residents sharing stories of Millinocket’s Little Italy. Please plan to join us for a few minutes or for the whole session!
Visitors from afar are amazed to learn that the building of the mill and soon after, the town, was commenced before there were any real method of getting here. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad passed through the area, although at some distance from the proposed mill site. The only other access was by water (West Branch) or via the old Sourdnahunk tote road. It wasn’t until 1901 that a road was petitioned by the Penobscot County Commissioners for a road to connect to Medway and Mattawamkeag. Central Street would be extended by building a steel bridge with stone abutments over Millinocket Stream. The museum has a display a large picture showing this bridge (c1911).
Getting all the people involved in building the mill to the site wasn’t easy. Another early GNP photo at the museum shows the 1899 version of Katahdin Avenue complete with tree stumps. This first “street” was the way to get people, building materials and other goods from the railroad into town until a railroad station was added and a spur line constructed to the mill site. People came from all parts of the world as this was where there was work for many.
A visitor to the museum asked to look at timelines showing major events in the town’s history. One is in the booklet printed for Millinocket’s 100th birthday. This has both highlights of the mill as well as town events. Dorothy Laverty’s 1973 published history also has a timeline. Both books are available at the museum. We have also collected a number of other timelines that have been printed in various sources throughout the years. These are compiled in a binder for easy access.
MHS will have a table at the craft fair at the American Legion, Saturday, October 20. Join us there!

***Now available, copies of Greg Westrich’s guidebook, Hiking in Baxter State Park ($20.00 at the museum). It describes numerous park trails.

*** Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps by Bill Geller is available at the museum. Cost is $30.00. By mail add $5 SH. The new 2019 “Sports for All Ages” themed calendars are available at the museum, Save-a-Lot, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General Store, Trailside Country Store and Spoiled Hair Salon, $10.00 each (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***Books by local authors, sets of GNP/Bowater drinking glasses & some matted 8” x 10” and 5” x 7” photos for sale. We have SHS and St. Martin’s yearbooks for sale ($10.00 each).
*** A Little Taste of History, recipes from Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants. 200 pages. $15.00 (mail orders $5.00 SH each). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, Trailside Country Store & by mail.
*** Engraved pavers are $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines, 15 letters, symbols, spaces max per line. Contact museum for form or more details.
***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.

Catching up with Donations

Reminder! Stories by descendants of Little Italy is the planned topic for the afternoon of Sept. 20 at the museum. Between 1PM and 3PM several local residents will talk about the history and people, their traditions, food and many other interesting tales of this historic area of Millinocket. Please plan to join us for a few minutes or for the whole session!
Recently added to the museum’s genealogy archives are several Madore family photos (Mark Sopko) and Walls family information (Don Howard). Mark’s mother Jacqueline visited a few weeks ago and shared stories of games played by children in the Little Italy area when she was young. A visitor from New Brunswick stopped in town (cemetery, museum and town office) while following up on his Boddy family line. He has been communicating via e-mail with us at the museum and with Boddy’s here in Maine.
Hayden was an early Millinocket photographer. His name appears on a number of photos at the museum. They are all matted to heavy black paperboard and each is embossed with Hayden’s name. Tom Oliver brought in several recently. One is thought to be Grand Pitch, another Stone Dam and the remainder are possibly Dolby Dam construction. The detail is great on these photos. Paul Allen donated several older photos also. Most of these are currently unidentified. One labeled Kimball’s Store is thought to be the original store located in the GNP mill yard near the bridge (Laverty book). Another shows an unknown logging camp. We were able to determine it is a copy from one of the glass negatives in the GNP collection in UMaine’s Special Collections at the Folger Library. It is listed as “unknown logging camp” there also. Another photo depicts a tall peaked barn or livery stable with men and horses in front. There were several livery stables in town as noted in some of the old local newspapers.
Enlargements of photos were donated by Gary Stevens. One, a sled of 4 ft. wood being hauled by a team of horses and another familiar photo of four river drivers “picking the rear” have found a spot in the Logging Room. The third is of #10 machine dated 3/26/1920.

***Now available, copies of Greg Westrich’s guidebook, Hiking in Baxter State Park ($20.00 at the museum). It describes numerous park trails.

*** Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps by Bill Geller is available at the museum. Cost is $30.00. By mail add $5 SH. The new 2019 “Sports for All Ages” themed calendars are available at the museum, Save-a-Lot, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General Store, Trailside Country Store and Spoiled Hair Salon, $10.00 each (by mail add $4.00 SH).
***Books by local authors, sets of GNP/Bowater drinking glasses & some matted 8” x 10” and 5” x 7” photos for sale. We have SHS and St. Martin’s yearbooks for sale ($10.00 each).
*** A Little Taste of History, recipes from Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants. 200 pages. $15.00 (mail orders $5.00 SH each). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, Trailside Country Store & by mail.
*** Engraved pavers are $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines, 15 letters, symbols, spaces max per line. Contact museum for form or more details.
***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.

Movies at the Log Camps, 1927

The movie man’s arrival at the logging camps of GNP’s Spruce Wood Department was eagerly awaited in the 1920’s. As many of the camps had no electricity, the movie man would arrive with two movie machines, cans of film, Victrola and case of records for his Victrola plus a generator. This is described in the museum’s copy of The Northern, July, 1927. From fall of 1926 through May 1927, Stanley Bartlett spent time in camps on the Chesuncook-Chamberlain Railroad and at the Cooper Brook and Ellis Brook Operations. Another movie man, Don Pearson showed films at farm houses, Grindstone, Canada Falls and Seboomook. The route they traveled was known as a circuit. Careful records were kept and showed that from September thru June, 264 shows were presented to 12,996 spectators.
The usual show consisted of a news reel, a two reel comedy and a feature movie. On most evenings, a total of nine reels were shown. The article states that movies titled Shameful Behavior and Sporting Life were well received and “proved to be less shocking than their names would indicate.” Eight different Hoot Gibson cowboy films were shown and enjoyed by all. The Victrola was used to play records for the music that accompanied the film. Remember, the first talking movie, The Jazz Singer, had just come out in October of 1927 and had not yet reached the northern Maine woods.
All the movie shown at the various log camps were provided by GNP’s Social Service Division who also provided daily newspapers to the woodsmen. During December, January and February of that wood’s season, over 400 papers were furnished daily by that department.
Another pastime at the GNP log camps was the making of “crooked knives.” These were fashioned with blades made from used three-cornered saw files. Handles were wood and carved with individualized shapes. These are described in a book by Sylvio Caron. The museum has several on display from the collection of Dana W. Brown. They are unique! Some woodsmen used these Native American inspired knives to make spruce gum boxes. Several of these are also displayed at the museum.

***Now available, copies of Greg Westrich’s guidebook, Hiking in Baxter State Park ($20.00 at the museum). It describes numerous park trails.

*** Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps by Bill Geller is available at the museum. Cost is $30.00. By mail add $5 SH. The new 2019 “Sports for All Ages” themed calendars are available at the museum, Save-a-Lot, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General Store, Trailside Country Store and Spoiled Hair Salon, $10.00 each (by mail add $4.00 SH).

***Books by local authors, sets of GNP/Bowater drinking glasses & some matted 8” x 10” and 5” x 7” photos for sale. We have SHS and St. Martin’s yearbooks for sale ($10.00 each).
*** A Little Taste of History, recipes from Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants. 200 pages. $15.00 (mail orders $5.00 SH each). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, Trailside Country Store & by mail.
*** Engraved pavers are $100.00 each. Up to 3 lines, 15 letters, symbols, spaces max per line. Contact museum for form or more details.
***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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