Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: November 2018

Camp Baxter, CCC, part 2

Last week I wrote about the Thanksgiving dinner at the C.C.C. camp at Togue Pond. Coincidently, several new camp photos were just added to the museum’s collection by Paul Pasquine. A few show what the structures looked like where the men lived. Some were tents while others were no more than tarred paper shacks. The book titled In the Public Interest, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Maine (published 1988) states that side camps were erected in order that the proposed projects could be completed. One of these side camps was at Togue Pond.
One of the enrollees described this side camp as follows. “Togue Pond on the map is a beautiful lake within the game preserve of Mt. Katahdin, about five miles from its base and almost twenty miles from Millinocket. This camp, built of timbers, rough hewn, laid in place, nailed and chinked, and when finished gave the outward appearance of a ‘Fort Apache’ style, but within its confines. Two barracks to house 125 personnel, a large mess hall, a tool house, a blacksmith shop, an underground ‘refrigerator’ for food storage, plus latrines, a water pump from the lake and a garage to accommodate all the heavy equipment and trucks. This was all accomplished in the period of a couple of months, and I repeat, all built of heavy timbers, cut and hewn by hand by these same kids! And the location, a millionaires paradise, in the shadows of Mt. Katahdin. A truly beautiful setting, and when disbanded by the ‘C’s, was converted to a girl scouts camp.” This Girl Scout camp is Camp Natarswi and is still active today.
One Pasquine photo shows the mess hall with two rows of picnic style tables and benches. A wood stove occupies one end of the room and kerosene lamps are suspended from the ceiling. Another shows a bunkhouse with individual cots, wood stove and what appears to be a half wall separating the sleeping spaces. Another of the photos is labeled “washroom” with a row of washbasins, lines for drying clothes and a container for hot water. A photo shows a man, outside a barrack or the washroom, standing in the snow shaving with a straight-edge razor. A small mirror hangs beside the barrack’s door.
A reminder that the museum is open regular days and hours throughout the winter, with the exception of heavy snow days or ice. We are, perhaps, the only small museum in the state to keep winter hours. Open extra hours during Millinocket Marathon and Half weekend. Look for the museum sign to be lit!
More DVD’s of the “Tales of Little Italy” are available for purchase at the museum, $15.00 (add $2.50 SH for mail orders).
***Available at the museum store for Christmas gift giving………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
3. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 SH);
4. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
5. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
7. …and more
***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.

Baxter Camp, CCC, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner (1933) for the men of Baxter Camp, No. 2103 sounds great! These hard-working men who had been building roads and camps surely enjoyed it. This group of men, members of the 193rd Company of the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.), had the task of constructing a road from Millinocket to Big Windy Pitch in Baxter State Park, about twenty-five miles away. The same crew also cleared brush and built bridges on the Appalachian Trail, cleared a right of way for a telephone line, built a fire tower and a wharf on Ambejejus Lake.
The Thanksgiving Day menu featured Roast Vermont turkey with giblet gravy and sage dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, boiled onions and Hubbard squash. This was accompanied by sweet pickles, Boston celery, green relish, hot rolls and creamery butter. Dessert consisted of pumpkin pie with American cheese plus grapes, apples sweet cider and coffee.
This is from a small printed menu/program that appears to have been given to each of the men present. In addition to the menu, it lists the roster of the 193rd and all the members of the C.C.C. A number of these men who were from other areas of Maine later decided to make Millinocket their home and still have descendants here. The program has encouraging words from the group’s leaders and also from Percival Baxter. There are 172 names of the C.C.C. men included plus names of the Army personnel, forestry personnel, leaders and assistant leaders.
A book on the history of the C.C.C. in Maine states the main goal of the 193rd was to build a road from town to the base of Mt. Katahdin. They took a group of “undisciplined and untrained kids” and “trained them to use a pick and shovel, to drive heavy road equipment, to blast the rugged terrain with dynamite, swamp and cut heavy timbers for bridges, all hewn with an axe, the adz and the crosscut saws.” Their campsite was at Togue Pond. The 193rd was at this location from June 1933 through October of 1935. More next week with a description of the camp at Togue Pond.
A reminder that the museum is open regular days and hours throughout the winter, with the exception of heavy snow days. We are, perhaps, the only small museum in the state to keep winter hours. Open extra hours during Millinocket Marathon and Half weekend. Look for the museum sign to be lit!
More DVD’s of the “Tales of Little Italy” are available for purchase at the museum, $15.00 (add $2.50 SH for mail orders).
***Available at the museum store for Christmas gift giving………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
3. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 SH);
4. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
5. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
7. …and more

***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.

Marathon Fundraiser for Museum

Recently, we shared the following (plus some museum background information) with Gary Allen, creator of the local marathon. He responded and kindly shared it to his marathon websites and Facebook pages. “The Millinocket Historical Society is proud to share that marathon runner Daryl Perry of the Porcupine Athletic Club (NH) has started a Crowdrise fund for the museum. We hope you might help in sharing this news prior to the Millinocket Marathon and a Half. On the web go to: Porcupine Athletic Club on CrowdRise and click on Millinocket Marathon Runners Give Back or on Facebook at Millinocket Marathon Runners Give Back.”
Anyone can donate, not just runners! On Marathon weekend, the museum will be open extra hours. Watch for the open sign to be lit.

Baxter Letter

The following letter was written by former Governor Percival Baxter in November 1959 to three employees of the Great Northern Hotel. Baxter always stayed at the hotel whenever he was in Millinocket. The letter reminds us of an earlier time when thank you letters were composed and sent, sometimes for small kindnesses.
“My dear friends, Alma, Margaret and Mary,
You are most thoughtful to remember my birthday by sending me the beautiful card with its cheerful message which came this morning. It meant much to me to have this expression of your friendship and I thank you from my heart. I always enjoy coming to your hotel. You take such good care of me and my friends that I want you to know I deeply appreciate the kindly attention you give us. The winter is just starting out, but as the poet says, ‘When Winter comes, Spring is not far behind.’ This card and this little quotation give me cheer and I look forward to being with you before many weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you all keep well and in good spirits. I am pleased by your remembering me. Sincerely, your friend.”
The letter is signed Percival P. Baxter and was written to Mrs. Alma Barnes, Mrs. Margaret Lesuer and Mrs. Mary Gerich.
The museum has some unused pieces of stationary and envelopes with the hotel letterhead as well as some letters written on hotel stationary. For years, not only visitors at the hotel made use of this stationary, there were usually semi-permanent tenants who called the hotel home.
Recently, I shared the following (plus some museum background information) with Gary Allen, creator of the local marathon. He responded and kindly shared it to his marathon websites and Facebook pages. “The Millinocket Historical Society is proud to share that marathon runner Daryl Perry of the Porcupine Athletic Club (NH) has started a Crowdrise fund for the museum. We hope you might help in sharing this news prior to the Millinocket Marathon and a Half. On the web go to: Porcupine Athletic Club on CrowdRise and click on Millinocket Marathon Runners Give Back or on Facebook at Millinocket Marathon Runners Give Back.”
Anyone can donate, not just runners! On Marathon weekend, the museum will be open extra hours. Watch for the open sign to be lit.
A reminder that the museum is open regular days and hours throughout the winter, with the exception of heavy snow days. We are, perhaps, the only small museum in the state to keep winter hours.
More DVD’s of the “Tales of Little Italy” are available for purchase at the museum, $15.00 (add $2.50 SH for mail orders).
***Available at the museum store for Christmas gift giving………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
3. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 SH);
4. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
5. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
7. …and more

***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.

Birthday and New Items

The American Legion Post #80, here in Millinocket, was formed one hundred years ago in 1919. The first meetings were held in a tarred paper shack. By 1926, the group had purchased a small brick building on Penobscot Avenue. In the 1959, the Legion constructed and moved into a new building on outer Central Street. It was during the 1950’s that Central Street was extended up over the hill. Of the many organizations that have been in Millinocket, few can celebrate a 100th birthday. The museum has American Legion uniforms with insignia from Harry Carroll, Joe Stevens and Lawrence Mackin. There are souvenir canes from parades. Some items are displayed in the military room.
New items recently donated to the museum include Katahdin Times and other newspapers by Nadine Webster and maps by Nick LaCombe. One map shows the Woodlands of the East and West Branches of the Penobscot River. Maps such as this are helpful when showing museum visitors how the many logs and sticks of pulpwood made their way from the logging areas all the way to the mill. Mary Ellen Whalen brought in a T-shirt to add to the Little Italy collection.
Several small photos have been added to the collection. Celeste (Sturman) Poulin sent in photos of GNP, Jerry Pond and the old town pool. Belinda Smyth donated a photo of the Millinocket the Opera House showing several young men sitting on the staircase leading to the balcony. Roderick Fraser, Jr mailed two snapshots from an early photo album. One is labeled log jam at Millinocket Lake, 7/1937. The other says Ernest and Margaret (or Margot) Dyer, 10/8/49, married.
In the 1960’s and later, visitors were allowed to tour the GNP mills. Tourists, locals and school groups were given an overview and led on guided tours throughout the mill. I remember, in the late 1970’s, going through twice with my fifth grade students from Granite Street School. Recently the museum was given a photo and a set of six gold trimmed glasses by Donald Raymond. The glasses were presented to Raymond as a gift for being the 1000th visitor. A photograph of Raymond (about age 10) shows him receiving the gift. With him are his father and brother,
A reminder that the museum is open regular days and hours throughout the winter, with the exception of heavy snow days. We are, perhaps, the only small museum in the state to keep winter hours.
More DVD’s of the “Tales of Little Italy” are available for purchase at the museum, $15.00 (add $2.50 SH for mail orders).

***Available at the museum store for Christmas gift giving………

1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
3. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 SH);
4. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
5. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
7. …and more

***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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