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

Month: June 2020

1921 Town Meeting

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

“A special town meeting will be held in the Armory, July 18th for the following objects: To see if the town will issue bonds to the amount of $150,000 in denominations of $1,000 for the construction of the George W. Stearns High school building, the proposed bonds to bear interest at 4 1/2% percent; to see if the town will increase the salary of the town treasurer, F. W. Rush, $200 for the year 1922; to see if the town will authorize the treasurer to borrow the sum of $1000 to construct sidewalks along such streets as have been designated by the U. S. Post Office as routes to be covered by the free delivery of the mail; to see if the town will authorize the selectmen to cause all houses on the carrier routes to be numbered, and place such numbers on the houses at the expense of the owners.”
The above paragraph describes some of the town business discussed at the Millinocket town meeting in 1921. The article is from one of the scrapbooks at the museum. In July, 1921, Millinocket’s first school building (Millinocket High School and Common School was still standing, but was very crowded so planning was under way for construction of a new high school.) This early planning proved to be a great idea, as later that same year, Millinocket High School and Common School burned to the ground in Nov. 1921.
The third item, regarding sidewalk construction, tells us that in that time period, mail was only delivered to homes on streets where sidewalks existed. I wonder which streets got sidewalks from that $1000? And only on one side or both sides of the street?
The 1921 town meeting was held at the Armory. At that time, a small building on Central Street (later site of Gonya’s Garage) served as the Armory. It was also the community center for plays, dances and boxing bouts. The small building had first existed at the corner of Katahdin Avenue and Cherry Street and was later moved to Central Street. The original had served as the town’s first church (interdenominational.)
The museum will be open on July 2, July 3 and July 4, 11AM to 3PM. Since this year July 4th looks to be a bit different without the usual parade etc., we will be open our regular hours. If there is good traffic, we will stay open a bit longer. The open sign will be lit. You can also call the number below to arrange an appointment at other times!
Remember to wear a mask and social distance! Stay safe!

In the Museum Store!
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** DVD’s from both Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 are available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each).
***Books available: “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” (Bill Geller) $30.00; “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” (Moody) $18.00; “Tanglefoot,” (Edwards) $15.00; “Millinocket” (D. Duplisea) $20.00; “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00; both Laverty books, $25 for history & $10 for architecture; “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00.
*** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item.
*** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Questions and Queries!

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

An earlier column stated that in the early days of GNP, Garret Schenck did not want “a typical company town with rowhouses and he determined that the company would retain control and would decide what was to be built and where.” A question has been posed to us by a museum visitor. When were Millinocket residents first allowed to own the land their homes were on? We, at the museum, would like to hear what readers know about this subject.
The two Laverty books discuss this issue briefly and that information follows. Laverty’s first book (the history) says, “As streets became realities, people applied for house lots.” Stearns (land agent) helped the locate their homes (value to be $750-$1000), placed 15 feet back from street and lot payments on pay-as-you-can basis as mill was just beginning production and money not always available. The book states that is it was in the 1920’s when land agent Seelye first started issuing quitclaim deeds when lot payments were completed.
Laverty’s 2nd book, So You Live in Millinocket (available to purchase at the museum) gives some additional information from McLeod’s GNP history. This says, “Between Nov. 1, 1899 and Dec. 31, 1927, Garret Schenck signed, as president, deeds to literally hundreds of lots sold by the Company in Townsites of Millinocket and East Millinocket.” It continues, “This may be a good place to spike the rumor which has persisted for seventy years that conveyances from the company for lots in these towns were not deeds, but 99-year leases…All conveyances of Company-owned land for house lots from the beginning were quitclaim deeds.”
Received information from the recent query regarding William A. Johnston opening a drug store in the Millinocket/East Millinocket area around 1906-07 until about 1918. Jay Robinson (lifelong bottle digger and collector) responded with photos of two Johnston Pharmacy bottles. The pharmacy was in East Millinocket (across from the present credit union) on the corner. At one time, visible on the door stoop, the words Johnston’s Pharmacy were visible. This information was passed on to the person who sent the query who will pass it on to Johnston’s descendant.
Author Brian Huey did a book signing at the former museum here in Millinocket in 2008 when his first book in the Perpetual series came out (three books in all with numbers 4 and 5 in the works). Much of the first novel is set in Millinocket. A recent email from Huey informs us that casting for Matthew and Maria (the two main characters) is in progress for a TV series pilot with filming hopefully to begin in 2021. All three Perpetual books are at the Millinocket Memorial Library when it reopens.
In the Museum Store!
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** DVD’s from both Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 are available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each).
***Books available: “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” (Bill Geller) $30.00; “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” (Moody) $18.00; “Tanglefoot,” (Edwards) $15.00; “Millinocket” (D. Duplisea) $20.00; “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00; both Laverty books, $25 for history & $10 for architecture; “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00.
*** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item.
*** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Papermaking Vocab!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

A bit of papermaking vocabulary from John McLeod’s The Northern, The Way I Remember.
1. Back-tender – the “second hand” or No. 2 man on a paper machine crew (museum has pharmacy bottles containing back-tender’s lotion so appears to have been a pain producing job),
2. Blade coater- the worker who applies coating material to the paper web and then scrapes off excess with a metal blade,
3. Bleeding – to draw steam from a boiler,
4. Broke – New paper that has been torn or damaged on its way through a paper machine,
5. Set – When a full width of paper roll is split into narrower rolls for a customer, they are called a set
6. Spear – Long pole with sharpened end used to cut through paper that has wrapped around itself around a roll,
7. Wire – A fine-mesh wire or plastic screen on which paper is formed from pulp as water drains away.

An earlier writing told a brief history of the Millinocket Post Office. It mentioned that for a time (before the post office building was constructed on Penobscot Avenue in 1937) space was rented in several downtown buildings. While viewing a 1916 Sanborn map at the museum, I noted that it showed the Millinocket Post Office on Central Street in what would be called the Decker-Gonya block. It appears to be where the Computer Rehab is currently located next to the alley. It is also where the original Millinocket Memorial Library would be located in 1919. The 1916 map indicates a variety store was next to the post office with a drug store in the corner spot.
The museum had a query recently about a William A. Johnston. He was believed to have opened a drug store in the Millinocket/East Millinocket area around 1906-07 and was in this area until about 1918. A family member has letters mentioning starting a drug store from “scratch” and investing $500.00 for “drug fixtures.” If anyone has knowledge of this person or drugstore, please contact the museum.
The first week of reopening went well with a few people stopping in and two with items to donate. Museum will continue to be open regular days and hours…plan to stop in with mask and social distancing!
In the Museum Store!
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** DVD’s from both Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 are available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each).
***Books available: “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” (Bill Geller) $30.00; “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” (Moody) $18.00; “Tanglefoot,” (Edwards) $15.00; “Millinocket” (D. Duplisea) $20.00; “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00; both Laverty books, $25 for history & $10 for architecture; “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00.
*** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item.
*** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Biggest Mill in World

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

“Immense Plant for Great Northern Paper Co. Nears Completion” reads the headline in the Bangor Weekly Commercial dated June 8, 1900. A secondary headline states “Biggest in World”. A copy of this newspaper page can be seen at the Millinocket Historical Society museum. Things happened quickly in 1899 on the Millinocket project once Schenck (founder & first president of GNP), Ferguson (engineer who designed the mill) and others got things started. Construction contracts were signed for a newsprint mill with facilities for groundwood and sulfite production and eight paper machines. It would have a capacity of 240 tons per day. This number would make GNP the largest mill of its kind in the world at that time.
The railroad figured prominently in this new business venture and in February of 1899, a deal was made with the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad. The company gave B & A land for a station, freight house, roundhouse and turntable, yard space and the railroad would build the spur track from the main line to the mill yard.
The bulk of the construction work was done during the winter of 1899-1900. Some of the machinery had arrived in the spring and the 235 foot brick chimney, tallest in Maine at the time, had been completed in June. Work continued through the summer and fall. On Nov.1, 1900, President Schenck opened the gate that turned the water on the turbines. Then he turned on the electricity to the machines, pulled the lever to the log carrier and then moved on to start more of the links in the process. On Nov. 9, the first set of paper was turned up on No. 7 machine and six were running on Jan. 31, 1901. This was the beginning of GNP’s paper production referred to in the Bangor Weekly Commercial and the John McLeod book, The Northern, the Way I Remember.
Men of many nationalities worked on construction of this mill including a large number of Italians. Housing was a problem as there was no established town at first. Tents, boxcars and crude shacks provided shelter. Some barracks type buildings housed engineers and supervisors. Plans for the townsite were drawn up early by the company and some assistance was given by GNP to people who wanted to construct homes (on GNP land). Schenck did not want a typical company town with rowhouses and he determined that the company would retain control and would decide what was to be built and where.

In the Museum Store!
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** DVD’s from both Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 are available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each).
***Books available: “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” (Bill Geller) $30.00; “Logging Towboats & Boom Jumpers” (Moody) $18.00; “Tanglefoot,” (Edwards) $15.00; “Millinocket” (D. Duplisea) $20.00; “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00; both Laverty books, $25 for history & $10 for architecture; “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00.
*** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item.
*** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.