Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: December 2018

The Library Story, Part 2

Millinocket Memorial Library story, part 2. “By 1926, Millinocket’s 25th birthday, the library had over 6000 volumes and a circulation of over 42,000 books. Information from early 1920’s town reports tell of the library’s importance to the community. The report for 1921 states, “The modern public library is not only a source for supplying light reading matter, a sufficient excuse for its existence, but a modern library is a place where information from the purely technical to the simplest may be obtained.”
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. Each year, monies were voted at town meetings for the new library and committees were formed. (Note: the museum has a blueprint of the exterior of this proposed library). When the Great Northern Hotel was demolished, the town exchanged the Penobscot Avenue lot with GNP for the former hotel lot and new plans moved forward.
The new Millinocket Memorial Library was constructed at the intersection of Maine Avenue and Highland Avenue. Opening and dedication ceremonies were held on December 11, 1963 and the new library had space not only for books, but also reading rooms, a lower level children’s room, reference room, multi-use space as well as office and work space for staff. The cost was $160,000.
The Memorial Room honors those who fought and sacrificed in World War I and houses a good collection of WWI, WWII and Vietnam era volumes. The dedication plaque from the original library can be seen near the main entrance. It has the names of Murray Morgan, Harry Boynton, Donald Henry and Lawrence Bradley, local men who gave their lives in WWI.”
The original Memories of Maine article (Spring, 2016) told of the community groups that helped the library (Teacher’s Club, Literary Club, Art Society, Garden Club and others. An old town report stated the schools taught “the proper care and regard for a book, and a very noticeable improvement has been made as the results of the ‘Library Etiquette’ suggestions which have been posted in each school room.”
The Children’s Room has been the center for many activities throughout the years including book swaps, craft days and preschool story time. The summer reading club still continues and usually revolves around a theme.
We can’t forget the efforts of the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library and the volunteers who kept the doors open through difficult times. It has truly been a community effort!
The museum has the Gilbert desk and a wooden newspaper rack from the original library plus photos.

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…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.

The Library Story, Part 1

The Millinocket Memorial Library will be celebrating its 100th birthday next year. Planning and fundraising are taking place prior to the major renovations expected to begin next May. The library has existed in two locations and its story is a big part of the town’s history. Following is part 1 of the library’s story by this writer which appeared in the Spring, 2016 issue of Memories of Maine magazine.
“On November 11, 1919, the first library in Millinocket opened its doors in the town known as the ‘Magic City.’ The nickname was earned due to the rapid growth from a spot in the Maine wilderness to a bustling town where many new homes and businesses were being built. There were two large hotels, an Opera House, Millinocket Light Company, two livery stables, two blacksmiths, three schools, a fire station and a growing paper mill that had just added three new paper machines. The town was 11 ½ years old.
The previous summer, the Chautauqua (an educational, cultural and religious movement from the late 1800’s that sent out speakers and musicians, etc. to towns throughout the U. S.) came to town and with them was an author/lecturer. In his speech he described the great things he saw in town, but mentioned that he failed to see a public library. This became the impetus for a library and the next town meeting had an article in the warrant to rent the former post office quarters on Central Street, to purchase essential books, and to employ a local person as librarian. There was some opposition to raising the needed $2500.00 but when it was suggested that it be called the Millinocket Memorial Library to honor those had fought in WWI, the article passed.
The Great Northern Paper Company added $1000.00 and Emma Schenck, wife of GNP president Garrett Schenck, added $200.00. Local individuals donated numerous books for this first library. It was located in the Gonya Block next to the Corner Drug Store. The library opened on Armistice Day, November 11, 1919 with Mrs. Mae Shorey as the first librarian. A bronze plaque honoring the town’s war heroes was placed in the library at its dedication. Due to the small space (only one room), adults only were allowed in on opening day. The next day after school, many children packed the sidewalk out front awaiting their chance to enter, to sit at one of the two low round tables and explore one of the many books or magazines from the packed shelves.
Part 2, to follow soon.

***Available at the museum store ………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. “Our Real War,” by Mike Murphy $15.00 ($5.00 SH);
7. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
8. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
9. …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.

Clock – MFD, Penobscot Ave.

2018 is almost at an end! So far, the museum has had a donation of one or more items from eighty-nine different individuals or sources. Sally Stewart’s donation included a vintage post card showing the original Baptist Church and Parsonage. This “souvenir card” as they were called in times past, is new to the museum’s collection. A GNP store order card and other post cards were also donated. Dan Thobodeau gave DVD’s made by his film company. Included were the fictionalized story of the “The White Lady” and a great view of the mill and water tour called “Millinocket Stream Boat Tour” with Bubba Davis.
The Millinocket Fire Department was originally housed in a large building on Penobscot Avenue (present site of the Millinocket Municipal Building). The building was completed by 1905 and housed a hose wagon, ladder wagon and two teams of horses. The wagon could be converted to sleds for winter use. Recently added to the museum’s collection is a clock from that fire station. Donated by Susan Rush, the Seth Thomas clock is 18” x18” and housed in a dark wooden box frame. The clock requires winding and unfortunately has no key. According to MFD historian Tom Picard, this clock was probably a clock located somewhere within the first fire station, but was not part of the alarm system.
Among the MFD artifacts in the museum collection are the Gamewell fire alarm system and an “all out” bell. The Gamewell, housed at the station, was connected to alarm boxes placed around town. Fred Gates was fire chief when this system was first used. The “all out” bell on display was used by a later fire chief, Chris Clark, and rung by the chief on the way back to the station after a fire to signal the fire was out. It is a hand bell, about seven inches high. Several photos of the first fire station are available for viewing at the museum. One panoramic photo on display shows the men, two horse-drawn fire wagons and the departments first motorized fire truck. The photo was taken in the park by AF Orr, photographer, on Sept. 4, 1916. Labor Day celebrations were big events in the early days and that occasion shows the Dover & Foxcroft band in the photo with the Millinocket firefighters, wagons, horses and motorized fire truck.

Reminder – the museum is open all winter, regular days and hours, weather permitting.

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH) (available at museum, Save-a-Lot, Steel Magnolias and Spoiled Hair Salon;
6. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
7. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
8. …plus a variety of used books by local authors, vintage post cards 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 Runner’s Fundraiser Nets $500 for Museum

Here’s an article written by Barbara Waters, Millinocket Historical Society member, following an interview of runner Darryl Perry on Sunday, Dec. 9.
MILLINOCKET – Millinocket was long known for the top quality paper its mill turned out and the papermakers who possessed the skills to produce it. That, of course, changed dramatically. The mill no longer exists. Yet, today, Millinocket’s belief in itself has re-emerged on the feet of the more than 1,300 long distance runners who brought with them a can-do attitude and a desire to help out a struggling town by supporting local businesses. They did so, too, by donating to the town’s important causes through the now well-known December half marathon and marathon event.
One of those beneficiaries of this generosity of spirit is the Millinocket Historical Society Museum. Last Sunday morning (Dec. 8, 2018) Darryl Perry of Keene, N.H. and a member of the Porcupine Athletic Club of New Hampshire, presented grateful museum curator Trudy Wyman with a check for $500.In the past Perry’s fund raising efforts resulted in monies being donated to other worthy causes. This year, based on Perry’s like for history, he donated the $500 in pledged monies through the CrowdRise fund to the museum.
An experienced runner, Perry has run the New York and Brooklyn marathons and is scheduled to run a race in Berlin, Germany. Perry had never heard of Millinocket, but learned of the event at a New Hampshire pre-race dinner and planned to run after he and others researched the event. (Note – In 2017, Perry ran the full marathon and this year the half marathon. Coincidently the date of the Millinocket race came just 26.2 years after the death of his mother. For that reason he dedicated the Dec. 7, 2017 race to his mother. The length of the full marathon is exactly 26.2).
“I’ll be here next year (2019),” Perry promised, noting he has already booked a hotel room. Perry shared his views with museum volunteers Sunday morning after he and about 30 other runners concluded their stay in Millinocket by running a “Fun Run” for “survivors” along the length of Congress St., ending up at the museum.
This self-employed talk show radio host, trim and slim looking today, once weighed 300 pounds. By drastically changing his diet, he lost more than 125 pounds.
Directing “Fun Run” runners along the Congress St. route was Valerie Silensky of Maryland, who wrapped up her third marathon at the Dec. 8 event in Millinocket. The fact she walked the race and finished last did not bother her. She had special praise for the camaraderie and friendly attitudes of the local people and fellow runners.
While runners were getting ready for the race on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, friends and relatives found plenty to do, including visiting the museum. In all, approximately 30 people visited the museum over the weekend. Visitors came from other areas of Maine, Massachusetts, Georgia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa, Cape Elizabeth and Portland.

Runner Donation, Millinocket Marathon and Half

The Millinocket Marathon and Half is done for another successful year! According to Racewire (site on the web, 1305 runners participated. The museum was busy and we even had some open time on Sunday. Many of the museum’s visitors were family and friends of the runners who were filling the time between the full and half races starting and finish times. People lined Penobscot Avenue urging the runners on as they neared the finish line. Several states were represented at the museum this year including Georgia, New Hampshire, Virginia, Massachusetts and Iowa and people were interested in learning a bit of the town’s history.
On Sunday, Darryl Perry of the Porcupine Athletic Club of New Hampshire visited the museum and presented MHS with an oversized check (the real one will arrive later). His plan was to raise $500.00, but the end result is expected to be $600.00. He started a Facebook fundraiser and also organized the Sunday Fun Run Recovery Run 1k race that took place the day after the marathon. The Fun Run participants were encouraged to support the museum. Their 1k route brought them from the park, up Congress Street and to Central St. and right in front of the museum where we cheered them on. Perry chose the museum to assist as he stated he has always loved history. After the race and their awards ceremony, Perry, his girlfriend and about fifteen of the Fun Run participants returned to the museum to present the donation. Perry is already signed up to run again next year as are several others we met at the museum this week.
MHS thanks to all of them for the donation and support!
Even though it’s been snowy, cold and icy in recent weeks, people have been visiting and donating items for the collection. Rodney Gagnon spent an afternoon perusing volumes in the research room and also donated his complete Boy Scout uniform (shirt with pins & badges, hat, pants, belt scarf). James Nyman gave a large plaque with names of all members of Troop 57 who attained the rank of Eagle Scout between 1968 and 1997. Rodney’s name is on the plaque. He has spent many years involved in scouting as has Nyman. The museum would like to acquire Girl Scout, Brownies and Cub Scout uniforms as well as photos and other artifacts.
Reminder – the museum is open all winter, regular days and hours, weather permitting.

***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. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. Taste of History cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH) (available at museum, Save-a-Lot, Steel Magnolias and Spoiled Hair Salon;
6. “Hiking in Baxter State Park” by Greg Westrich – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
7. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
8. …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.

Steamboats

The Crosby Steam Gauge and Valve Company of Boston started to receive patents for their steam whistles and parts in the 1800’s. In 1966, Gary Jandreau of Millinocket found a piece of one in a cove at the foot of Millinocket Lake. In November of 2018, he donated it to the museum. One can wonder what journey this piece has traveled! The piece, with a green patina (brass?) is approximately 4” tall and about 2” across and had threads top and bottom for other pieces to be attached. It is marked with the Crosby company name plus Patent, Feb. 23, 1875. The company still exists today. Some research leads us to believe it may be a part of a chime whistle of the kind used on steam boats. Note that the Titanic had three steam whistles (9 inch, 12 inch and 15 inch diameters).
Was this once a part of the whistle on a GNP towboat or was it from one of the boats that carried passengers from the train station at Norcross to one of the many sporting camps on one of the lakes in the early 1900’s? At least one of the towboats was steam powered.
The book, A Day’s Work, A Sampler of Historic Maine Photographs 1860-1920, part 2, shows a photo of the steamer Gypsie. A canoe atop the steamer may have belonged to one of the passengers or “sports” shown waiting to board the Gypsie prior to a voyage up the lake to a sporting camp. Several passengers are shown waiting to board. Also visible in the photo are crates addressed to Sourdanahunk Dam Co. and West Branch Driving and River Driving Company. Thanks, Gary Stevens, for letting us borrow this book!
Fraternal and social organizations! There have been many in Millinocket through the years. The museum has items on display or archived from Odd Fellows, Rainbow Girls, Philharmonic Club, Emblem Club, Masons, American Legion, Art Society, Knights of Pythias, Katahdin Kiwanis, Eastern Star, and more. The collections consist of uniforms, pins, swords, photos, regalia and more. A recent donation from Suzanne and Jon Kendrick included three vests and one shirt from the former local Jaycees and Jaycettes. Lenny Berry donated a photo (Camelot) and treasurer’s books from the Millinocket Players.
A reminder – museum open regular days and hours throughout the winter, with the exception of heavy snow days or ice. Open extra hours during Millinocket Marathon and Half weekend. Some runners are supporting the museum with donations through CrowdRise at https://www.crowdrise.com/millinocket-marathon-runners-give-back. Look for the museum sign to be lit on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and a while on Sunday!!
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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