Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: May 2019

Letters from the Past!

A letter from times past…finding one can reveal a family story, enlighten you about what an ancestor was like and much more. Quite a few of these old handwritten letters have found their way to the museum’s collection through the years. Many are military related including two large scrapbooks from the WWII era local Navy Mother’s Club. This group sent cards, letters and gift boxes of goodies to Navy and other local military personnel. The scrapbooks contain the responses from the recipients. The museum also has a few other letters sent by WWII servicemen. Copies of a collection of WWI letters written to a friend by Murray Morgan can be viewed in the Research and Genealogy Room as can the Thomas Clark letters about his time here in the early days of Millinocket.
Recently a query came via email referencing a letter in the possession of the sender. A copy of the letter accompanied the email. The query came from a descendant of Garret Schenck and was sent to Oscar Nickerson, Esq., Millinocket, Maine. Dated June 13th, 1901, the letter thanked Nickerson for helping protect “the company’s property” even risking his own life. The letter states that a watch was also sent as a token of thanks for “not hesitating to make the care of the valuable machinery under your charge your first thought.” The person making the query was seeking information on the 1901 event and believes it was a fire. He has the original letter and also the watch. A search of the oldest newspapers in the museum collection did not produce any information on the fire as the 1901 papers are for November and December of that year. One wonders if there are other letters and watches out there in the hands of descendants of other Great Northern employees who also risked their lives to save company assets in June of 1901.
New items received at the museum include several paper maker training manuals plus Katahdin Avenue School photos of Mrs. Arlene Neal’s grade one class, early 1960’s. These were brought to the museum by Germaine Anderson. Mr. Albert brought in a brochure from Kidney Pond Camps and an early brochure advertising Millinocket. Judy Cyr dropped off several Millinocket related DVDs. The museum’s copy of Ch. 21, Spruce Wood Dept. from The Northern by McLeod has been scanned to a searchable DVD by Frank Crosby.

***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.
*** 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.

New Items Added

It’s finally spring which means many people are sorting through and finding new homes for some items. The museum is often the recipient of historical bits and pieces. In recent weeks, a wide variety of items have been donated. The newest and most unique piece is a commode chair that possibly is from the Millinocket General Hospital on Maine Avenue. Made of wood, the chair has a removable seat revealing a plywood bottom with appropriate opening. The opening is fitted with a plastic bucket with cover that appears to be original (identical photos on internet). There is also a soft toilet seat. This was donated by Ann Johnson Leavitt. This artifact is now on display in the museum’s rest room. By the way, there are also several chamber pots displayed there too! That seems to be the perfect place for them!
Barb Waters brought in a BF Rush quart milk bottle (great condition), Gary Stevens added another DVD to the collection (Early Snowmobiling in the Katahdin Area) and Rodney Gagnon added another Boy Scout handbook. A train set was donated by Bill French along with several wooden houses and fence pieces. These were made by Tom Hughes, Sr., for the donor’s grandfather. The houses are replicas of several actual homes in Millinocket. They need some tender-loving care, but it is hoped they can be fixed up a bit. We hope to identify where these houses are located. One is thought to be on State Street.
The sulphite pipeline was constructed in 1961 to carry sulphite laps to the East Millinocket mill and end the need to ship them by rail. The museum recently had several photos of this pipeline donated (John Beaupain) and soon after Sandy Haynes brought in a copy of a detailed report on it written by Nick Thompson in 1964. Another technical report is a daily GNP production sheet from May 8, 1946 given by Cal Wilson. It includes columns for total production, trim, basis, speed hours down and more. It also lists the customer names and how many rolls of paper were made for the orders on that day. The museum’s collection of various mill reports, manuals, blueprints etc. continues to grow. They are being archived and are available for anyone doing research.
Hannaford had chosen May for its $2.50 reusable bag program. For every Community Bag purchased at the Millinocket store during May, $1.00 will be donated to MHS. Also, the donation container that the Millinocket Hannaford has located just as you enter the store, all monies dropped in for an unspecified period of time will be donated to the museum. Thank you, Sally and Hannaford.

***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.

Lower Mill Manager’s Residence

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Fairly early in the Great Northern Paper Companies history, it was the practice to maintain a residence for the mill manager/superintendent. In Millinocket, the first such residence is what most people refer to as the “guest house.” The house was built in 1912 for Garret Schenck, Jr. Later it was the home of mill superintendents, including Robert Hume. More recently, this home was used to house visiting company officials and others as the company guest house. It is now a private residence.
After the construction of the Lower Mill in 1906, the company built a mill manager’s/superintendent’s home in East Millinocket. The museum recently acquired twelve blueprints/plans for this building. Thank you, Jeannie Waite! The plans are labeled A, B, or C which was a GNP designation of the drawing size, C being 18” x 24” while A and B are larger. One is labeled location of residence for mill superintendent, north half block 45 and is dated Oct. 20, 1913. It was made by the GNP Engineering Dept., drawn by A.I.H. and number C145. Is shows the home located in the center of a large lot with Pine Street, Maple Street and High Street named. Another blueprint shows grading of the lot.
Other plans of various dates in 1913-14 are for details of the home including fireplaces and chimneys, windows for the sleeping porch, a detached garage and some 1957 changes. Plans are included for an interesting feature, a refrigerator to be constructed under the staircase. In these old ice boxes as they were often called, a block of ice was placed in the top section and the food was kept in the bottom section. These plans tell that the top portion was to be “thoroughly lined with 24 gauge galvanized iron with all joints soldered.” The outside of this ice box was “to be made of matched spruce or white pine. No hard pine to be used. The ice racks to be maple.” A drain pipe was attached. Ice for the ice box in those days would have been harvested from the river or a lake and stored in blocks in an ice house. The ice blocks were covered with sawdust to keep them frozen. Many towns had an ice man who delivered the blocks to customers who did not have their own ice house.
There are 1918 photos and a 1929 photo of this managers/superintendent’s house in the museum’s collection. We would be interested in compiling a list of the former residents of both the Lower Mill home and the one in Millinocket.

***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.

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