Millinocket Historical Society

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

Month: September 2019

Getting Out of Town!

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

Getting in or out of town in the early days of Millinocket was a challenge!
The people and most of the materials that went into the building of the mill, 1898-1901, came by rail. Roads (except perhaps a few logging tote roads) were non-existent. Dorothy Laverty’s book Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness describes the coming of roads to Millinocket. Very early, the Sourdnahunk tote road, a corduroy one-track road followed Millinocket Stream to near the foot of Millinocket Lake. As camps were built, what is now known as the Lake Road began to emerge. For the building of Rip Dam in 1916, a road came in from Greenville. After the dam completion, the road crossed the dam and was joined to the Sourdnahunk tote road.
The main highway connecting Millinocket to the outside world was Rte. 157, constructed in 1901. This is the now referred to as Medway Road (no East Millinocket then). Route 11 came years later. Frank Speed, John Ward and the Chamber of Commerce took the lead and in 1934 a road to North Twin was built on company land. Some folks crossed over the dam to get to Norcross. In 1946, after a hunting trip here by Gov. Hildreth, he was taken on a ride over what then existed as a road from North Twin to Brownville and Milo. This resulted in money being appropriated for a bridge across the West Branch. The bridge opened in 1948. People refer to it as the Green Bridge. Later, in 1966, Interstate 95 was extended north and automobiles could then access it at Medway.
The train was still a preferred way of “going out of town” even in the 1950’-60’s. Museum visitors have told of going to the tournament by train and often the teams, cheerleaders and band traveled by B & A. Shoppers could spend the day in Bangor or take the night train to Boston, spend the day and travel home the next night. Today, there are no passenger trains and there are still only two main routes out of town plus the secondary road (Lake Road to Rip Dam and on to Greenville). And of course, we should include the walking route, the Appalachian Trail.

*** New 2020 calendars available! The theme “Beyond the Mill” was chosen to highlight the wide reach of the Great Northern Paper Company. At the museum, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, Steel Magnolias, and Katahdin True Value. $10.00 each, by mail add $5.00 SH.
*** At the Museum Store:
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” by Roger Moody – $18.00 ($5 SH);
3. “Tanglefoot,” historical novel set 1920’s Chesuncook Village by BW Edwards – $15.00 ($5 SH);
4. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
5. “Tales of Little Italy, Part 1,” DVD, $15.00 ($4.00 each SH);
6. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
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.

Melting Pot

The Tales of Little Italy event was a great success and there is talk already about another event next year! Mention has been made of attempting to involve not just descendants of Millinocket’s early Italian population but those of other ethnicities as well. A walk through the Millinocket cemetery reveals names from many parts of the world. At the time of the Bicentennial in 1976, Dorothy Bowler Laverty and others visited the local schools as part of the celebration and shared stories of early Millinocket. Mrs. Laverty and fifth graders and their teachers at Granite Street School visited the cemetery where she walked us through the oldest sections telling us stories as we passed certain gravestone. Then she walked down along several sections where the immigrant names were prominent. And again, she had stories about many of them.
In the Laverty book, she lists the country of origin of some of these early residents. Mentioned are the French-Canadians from Quebec and the St. John River Valley. Many English, Scotch, Irish and Welsh came from Maritime Canada thanks to the Canadian Pacific Railroad that came through Maine. Eastern Europeans, “a strong and hardy lot” did construction. From Greece, Albania, Syria and Lebanon came several to open stores and become merchants as did some Jewish families. Some of these already had businesses in Bangor or knew tradesmen there. Some Swedes and Finns came here from the Kennebec area. Somehow the news that a great new mill was being constructed here spread to the far corners of the globe. There were also one or two Chinese laundrymen and at least one Spaniard (we learned about him this summer when his great-grandchildren visited the museum).
We encourage you to contact the museum if the idea of a multi-cultural Tales of Early Millinocket would be of interest next summer!
Currently the museum has Little Italy photos and other memorabilia on display as well as an expanded Boy and Girl Scout display. Thanks to Dianne Tinkham Bilodeau for donating Girl Scout and Brownie items! Copies of the group photo from the Tales of Little Italy, Part 2 is available at the museum.
*** New 2020 calendars available! The theme “Beyond the Mill” was chosen to highlight the wide reach of the Great Northern Paper Company. At the museum, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, Steel Magnolias, and Katahdin True Value. $10.00 each, by mail add $5.00 SH.
*** At the Museum Store:
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” by Roger Moody – $18.00 ($5 SH);
3. “Tanglefoot,” historical novel set 1920’s Chesuncook Village by BW Edwards – $15.00 ($5 SH);
4. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
5. “Tales of Little Italy, Part 1,” DVD, $15.00 ($4.00 each SH);
6. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
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.

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