Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: June 2019

The Bandstand in the Park

Band Concert Tonight! Those words were on at least one sign in the park calling attention to the weekly concerts by the Millinocket Town Band (formed about 1903). These concerts took place over a span of years and were popular with young and old. The bandstand was a gift to the town by GNP. The Laverty book states the bandstand was in place by 1928.
A book on Maine bandstands mentions the Millinocket bandstand on several of its pages and says it was actually constructed in 1923 as an octagonal granolithic structure in the neo-classical style. The Laverty book used these same words. The bandstand measures 23 ½ feet inside a perimeter of handsome cast iron railings and was designed by Great Northern engineers. There are Doric columns twenty inches in diameter at the base tapering as they near the top. Their height is twelve feet. The nearly flat roof is topped by a cannonball-type finial. Take a closer look next time you are in the park.
This book (in the museum’s collection) also notes that several Maine paper companies had their own bands, as did GNP. In 1903, the company band found a room at the mill where they could rehearse on Sunday mornings, twenty years before the grandstand was built.
The bandstand currently is situated in the park between Penobscot Avenue and Katahdin Avenue. The park location was used as an early cemetery and a few graves were relocated to a new cemetery (current one) when the park was laid out. The new park had flowers, shade trees and a brook. The brook was dammed to form a wading pool that was enjoyed by the young people in town. In 1947, the crowds attending the concerts grew so large that the wading pool was filled in to make more seating room.
The museum has a Band Concert Tonight sign (donated by Belle Rush) and several photos showing Town Band members (various years). There is also a saxophone played by Harry Carroll in the Town Band and a band uniform from this band’s later years (donated by Lenny Berry).
The museum will be open on July 4th from 10:30 AM-3 PM (longer if busy) and from 5 PM until 7:00 (longer if necessary). Friday and Saturday, July 5 and July 6, we will be open 10:30 to 3 and longer if busy. Come in and see our local history displays. Appointments for other times available, call Trudy at 723-5477.

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. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
4. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
6. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
7. 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.

Pittston Farm Weekly

The Pittston Farm Weekly, a small mimeographed newsletter, was published for a time in the mid-1960’s. The editors were E. G. Fernald and S. R. Hall. A few years ago, the museum was able to photocopy all of these issues. Recently what appears to be a first run printing of Vol. 2 through Vol. 4 came to the museum. Some issues are missing. These newsletters make an interesting read.
According to one of the issues, Pittston Farm, located where the North and South Branches of the Penobscot River join, was purchased by the Great Northern Paper Company in 1906. C. J. McLeod was the first superintendent and Charles Glaster was the first clerk. In 1908 the company constructed several new buildings higher up the South Branch. A blacksmith shop, stables, storehouse, boarding house, ice house, and a water works were added over the next few years. Later a cannery, a new boarding house, henhouse and a potato house were built.
The stables could accommodate 128 horses, four cows and could house 550 tons of hay. For many years the Pittston Farm was an important part of the Great Northern Paper Company wood harvesting operation.
Humor is a big part of this newsletter. There are jokes and stories, often aimed at one or another of the employees or management. The weather is mentioned in every issue and snowfall amounts appear to have been carefully recorded. Poems abound. Many are written about the people and the work being done.
Of special interest to the Millinocket Historical Society are the historical articles sprinkled throughout the issues. There is information on the number of cords of wood cut and who was in charge of the crew. There are articles on the river drives, road building efforts in the area, the towboats and the dams. Many of these were reprinted from early publications such as “The Northern,” the Bangor Daily News and letters from GNP officials.
One historical note informs us that the first four foot wood cut by GNP “was cut by Charley Gilbert during the winter of 1912 and 13 on Township 1, Range 10 in the vicinity of Norcross. The first four foot wood on Sourdnahunk Watershed was in 1915. After Slide Dam went out there were many long logs left that couldn’t be floated out as the water was too low so W. J. Curran cut them into four foot pieces and drove them the next spring.”
This newsletter was printed in the 1960’s and The Northern, a publication of the Spruce Wood Dept. was issued in the 1920’s. Were there other similar publications in between? A recent visitor believed there might have been. Does anyone remember?

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. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
4. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
6. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
7. 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.

What’s New at the Museum!

Found an article in a 1902 Millinocket Journal on the Millinocket Baseball Club. It was formed in that year with FM Peasley, president; Frank Parsons, secretary; GB Moran, treasurer; W. Long, manager. It says that “Mr. Long will leave soon to visit colleges and large cities and secure the best talent obtainable. He has large experience in this line having been an umpire in the National League. He thoroughly understands the game. The GNP Co. will at once have the ball grounds fenced in and will build a grandstand with a seating capacity of about 300. Now let us have baseball as it should be played. Not a rough game, but good, clean baseball.” A photo of the club and the ballfield is currently on display at the museum. Stop in!
Millinocket has had many doctors through the years! One was Dr. Ernest Young who along with Dr. Martin Grumley started the Millinocket General Hospital in 1938. This was located in the former Curran house on Maine Avenue. The museum has a sign from that hospital on display. A recent donation to the museum is a daily log book kept by Dr. Young. No personal medical information is included, only notations such as medicine, house call, hospital visit, etc. The prices appear to range from 50 cents to about $5.00 with the most common charges being $1.00 or $2.00. This was donated by Jil Beaupain along with an antique set of podiatry tools. These tools have been added to the museum’s medical collection (some of Dr. Gilman’s instruments, antique dental tools, Dr. Ryan’s black medical bag, Dr. Morey’s sign, Dr. Young’s baby scale).
Sixteen white porcelain street signs arrived at the museum, thanks to Ralph Soucier. These include Congress Street, State Street, Bowdoin Street and more. Holly Hartley donated a large collection of SHS senior photos of her mother’s era, 1954-1957. The museum has several boxes of senior photos and can be available to borrow for class reunion displays. Also available are copies of many years of SHS and St. Martin’s yearbooks (for sale, $10.00 each). Bruce Leavitt brought in an interesting diploma. It is Helen McGowan’s grammar school diploma, 1936, and is nicely framed. It is 16” x 20” as were the high school diplomas of that time. Denise Page gave a 1956 copy of the Millinocket Journal. Ann Nice gave a bunch of 2003 Katahdin Times and Bangor Daily News. They all had articles on GNP. Don’t toss those older local papers as the museum’s newspaper archive has missing issues!

***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. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
4. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
6. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
7. 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.

Early Millinocket Baseball

It’s time for baseball! Do you know the Great Northern once had its own baseball team? Do you know that GNP used to provide uniforms for the Stearns baseball team? Do you know there was once a ballfield with a grandstand and a pavilion where the teams played? Do you know there was a town team called the Millinocket Tigers? Do you know there was a Millinocket Baseball Club that attracted players from the surrounding area? Do you know that one of those club players went to bat against pitcher Babe Ruth?
According to photos, news articles and magazine articles and the Laverty book, these are all true pieces of information! The GNP team included employees and also some college players and others who came to town for the baseball season. These extras were placed on the mill’s payroll temporarily. During the mid-nineteen twenties, there was lively play with teams from Houlton to Bar Harbor. Several players went on to have roles with big league teams of the time.
The museum has a photo of the SHS 1926 baseball team showing some uniform shirts with a GNP logo and others with an M. Writing on the back states that the company provided some of the uniforms. GNP also provided uniforms for the Schenck baseball team.
The ballfield was built on the flat area between Penobscot Avenue and Water Street (Water St. was not there until later and Aroostook Avenue School and the National Guard Armory were later located on that site). The ballfield came about due to the popularity of a town team known as the Millinocket Tigers. The 1909 team featured the names Pond, Good, More, Willey, Donley, Breen, Lemeur, Monahan, Ordway, and Jones. Dr. Cody was a sponsor.
A 1913 postmarked photo postcard has a picture of the 1909 Millinocket Baseball Club with the same players as the Tigers, so it seems they were known by both names. A player, Billy Jones, left Millinocket to join minor league teams. In 1914, he played briefly with the Boston Braves and during a game in Baltimore versus the Orioles, he went up to bat five times against an unknown pitcher at that time named Babe Ruth. That game Jones went five-for-five and stole five bases. However, that game wasn’t good enough to allow him to continue as a professional baseball player. After a time he returned to Millinocket. He is buried in the Millinocket Cemetery.
Some of the early baseball photos in the museum collection are now on display in our sports section. Stop in and visit!

***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. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
4. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
6. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
7. 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.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén