Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: April 2019

Sears Roebuck Kit Houses in Millinocket?

Looking to build a new home? From 1916 through the 1940’s, you could buy a “kit house” from the Sears Roebuck catalog! The kit included the entire house with numbered parts, instruction books, paint and nails. For several years previously, Sears Roebuck had been selling house plans and building supplies, but is was 1916 when they produced the first kits. Other companies also sold kit houses, but the Sears models were the ones that sprung up in the Millinocket area.
At the museum, we have heard that a number of these Sears houses were constructed here in Millinocket. Where are they? If you know of one, please stop in at the museum to talk with us about it or send along the information by email, letter etc. We are interested in the address, original owners, photos then and now and anything else you can share about these unique houses. Dorothy Laverty’s second book, So You Live in Millinocket does not make mention of them.
In the 1920’s Sears Roebuck put out the Sears Honor-Bilt Modern Homes catalog featuring over one hundred house models. It included summer cottages and garages in a variety of styles. One of the biggest sellers was the bungalow which came in several styles including Arts and Crafts and Tudor. Photos of many of the styles are found on the internet and may be useful in deciding if your home is a kit house.
Your kit house would arrive at the railroad station ready to be picked up and hauled to the building site. All lumber was pre-cut and ready to be assembled per instructions. A basic plan was purchased and then various embellishments (porches, inside bath etc.) could be added depending on the buyer’s pocketbook. If you couldn’t afford an inside bath, you could choose the outhouse option. Costs were kept down as the kits were shipped direct from the factory. A sample of one seven room with tower (similar to a style seen in Millinocket) was $871.00. This included lumber, lath, shingles, flooring, ceiling, gutters, sash weights, hardware, painting material, mill work, pipe and building paper. Guaranteed at the mentioned price, no extras. All labor, cement, brick and plaster were the responsibility of the buyer. Therefore, the total house cost was expected to be under $1600.00.
The museum has three reproductions of Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogs from 1894-95, 1900 and 1909. They do not show any of the kit houses (available after 1916) nor any building supplies. They have clothing, household furnishings, wagon scales, iceboxes, bicycles, boxing gloves, pianos and even cemetery monuments.

***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. Booklet -1903 Report on Millinocket & mill – interesting statistics – $7.00 at museum
3. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
4. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
5. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form; please order by mid-May for this year’s placement.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM.
***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.

Log Stamps

We get questions about the log stamps on display in the logging/river drive room. Stories from museum visitors plus some research on these tools revealed information about these tools. Log stamps, sometimes called log hammers, are a vintage logging tool used across the U.S. to mark ownership of a particular log. The marks were placed on one end of the log and were used similar to the brands placed on cattle in the old west. In some places in this country, these identifying marks were registered with the state. Sometimes the marks were cut with an ax rather than stamped with the hammer-like tool.
The typical log stamp was made of cast iron (three to eight pounds) with a design on it. Like branding irons, the marks on log stamps were cast backwards so that the design can be read properly when struck into the wood. The wooden handles these tools varied in length.
On display at the museum are several of the stamps, all double ended. Two have the letters GN. One has a short handle and the other a long handle. Another has LAM and one has P. Two other stamps have no recognizable letters, rather the end is roundish with notches cut into it. The majority of these are from the Dana W. Brown collection. On display are two sections of a log, one having the GN imprint and one with LAD. The LAD “tree cookie” came out of Dolby Pond. An interesting ledger from the early 192-1904 tracks the number of pieces of wood passing through Stone Dam on individual days. These are separated by the individual log marks and some pages indicate that as many as twenty different log marks were recorded on any given day.
The museum was given a number of Hannaford cookbooks (2018) to use a fundraiser. We have decided to give them out while they last to anyone who stops in at the museum and gives a $2 or more donation!
Added to the books at the museum store are several photocopies of the 1903 report filed by the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics for the State of Maine. An earlier column listed the many businesses that were in town in 1903. Much of the report is about the development and growth of GNP. Topics mentioned include: the Penobscot, water power at Millinocket, the canal, many details on the mill and workforce plus interesting facts about the growing town. This booklet is being sold at $7.00 each.

***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. “A Little 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; please order by mid-May for this year’s placement.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM.
***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.

Girl Scouts in Millinocket

Great news was received by the historical society last week! The Davis Family Foundation has awarded the museum a $30,000 grant that will allow work to commence again on the second floor portion of the museum. We’ll keep you updated! Thank you, Mark Bigge and KEDC for putting this grant together for MHS.
A new exhibit will be appearing soon at the Millinocket Historical Society museum will feature photos and artifacts from the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Last week, I shared information relating to the Millinocket Boy Scouts. This week highlights the local Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts of America began in 1912 and within a few years, this organization became worldwide. In Maine, the first troop was formed in Augusta in 1917.
The earliest local artifact in the museum’s collection is a scrapbook compiled by Polly Segee. The scrapbook contains many newspaper articles featuring Girl Scout and Brownie events from, 1952-1963. Articles pasted into the scrapbook tell of the many activities from thinking days, skating parties, fly-ups, cookie sales (40 cents a box) and many more all under the direction of the Millinocket Girl Scout Association. One piece states that for 1958-59, the Millinocket GSA had 262 girls and eighty-five adults registered. Other more recent scrapbooks were donated by Dianne Bilodeau (Brownie Girl Scout Troop #181) and Bobbie Allen (2 scrapbooks mostly photos).
What else is in the museum’s Girl Scout collection? Posed photos from the Segee scrapbook (1953-54), one from 1960 showing older scouts and one from a 1950’s Brownie Troop. The last two donated by Carolyn Foster Willinski. In another photo, nine women (probably all GS leaders) are dressed in an attempt to appear as scouts from the early days. Front and center in a vintage GS uniform is Belle Rush. Among artifacts to be displayed are a sash from Troop 4 with several badges and pins and a GS handbook (Joan Carr) and patches (Ethel Kelley). Dianne Bilodeau gave GS handbooks. A Brownie Bonanza (date unknown) took place with Brownie Troops 64, 275, 122, 240, 62, 250, 63, 50 and 200 and all the participants are listed in the program for this event. Another program is for a Brownie Pow Wow in 1964. The number of local young people who have participated in scouting (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts) is large and the lessons they have learned have helped them become outstanding citizens!
The museum will gladly accepts photos and other memorabilia from any of the local scouting programs. And don’t forget to get your paver orders in soon for summer placement!

***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. “A Little 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; please order by mid-May for this year’s placement.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM.
***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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