Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
Several late 1940’s issues of The Millinocket Journal featured articles on local businesses. One is titled “Fruit Store Building One of Oldest Landmarks.” Many remember this business being run by the Matangelo family and being the place to go to purchase penny candy. However, there is an interesting history before that time.
The original building was constructed about 1899 (on the right side of the current town parking lot on Penobscot Avenue). It was originally the location of Hayden’s Photo Studio. In 1928 the building was sold by Mrs. Bowler to David Drago who came to town from Castine. He named his business Millinocket Fruit Company and operated it until about 1940 when he sold to Michael Matangelo. Chester Matangelo worked as clerk there as he had for Drago (seven years). During WWII, while Chester and John Matangelo were in the service, the Matangelo girls managed the business.
When the Journal article was written in 1946, it stated that there had been improvements to the building, but it “still stands as one of the familiar landmarks of the town, being considered the second oldest building on the main street.” This building burned in 1958 and was replaced by a similar size building on the opposite side of the parking lot (now Living Innovations). The “Fruit Store” continued in business for many more years.
The 1946 article mentions a few of the store’s offerings at the time included Hood’s Ice Cream, a full line of confectioneries and Schrafft’s, Donna Deane’s and Johnston’s Chocolates. There were fresh fruits, roasted peanuts, soft drinks and a miscellaneous line of cookies and pastry as well as the Pastene brand of groceries and macaroni. At that time there was a new model Dry Cool beer container and everything in tobacco and smokes. The article mentions that beer was in scarce supply since the end of the war, but they hoped to have a plentiful supply soon.
The original cash register that David Drago brought with him to Millinocket in 1928 is on display at the museum along with a copy of a photo of the original store. The Journal article states that as of 1946 Drago was living in Edgecomb, Maine and operating a filling station and night cabins.
In the Museum Store!
*** Get your 2021 Calendars! Theme: Millinocket, Oh! How We’ve Changed! $12 each, mail orders add $5 SH each calendar. Each page has several photos from different areas of town (Society Hill, park area, Medway Rd., Outer Bates St., Across Tracks, Aroostook Ave., and more).
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** DVD’s, Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each).
***Books: “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 history & $10 architecture; “Our Real World,” (M. Murphy); “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00 and several preowned books (out of print) by local authors.
*** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item.
*** For information, groups or appointments, contact Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.