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

Month: March 2021

Winter Cutting

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

Often museum visitors ask “Why did the lumbermen cut and pile the wood in the winter? Wouldn’t it have been easier to do it without snow on the ground?” The museum’s logging/river drive room has several photos on display showing teams of horses pulling loaded sleds and other photos showing wood piled along streams and on the iced-over ponds.
John McLeod’s book The Northern, the Way I Remember, discusses this topic. He states, “The actual felling of the trees and cutting them into logs was relatively simple, the transportation being the real problem.” Transportation in winter made moving wood easier since the ground was frozen as were the water surfaces. When covered with snow, large loads could be moved more easily. The wood was often piled along the streams ready to be pushed into the water in the spring when melting snow raised the water level making floating the wood downstream easier. In some areas the wood was piled onto the frozen lakes. In spring as the ice melted, the wood continued its journey to the mill.
McLeod also explains the difference between “lumberman,” “woodsman,” “lumberer,” “logger,” and “lumberjack”. He states that originally “lumberman” referred to anyone who worked in the woods. Lumberer, lumberman, logger and lumberjack were used to identify any woods worker although logger and lumberjack were not often used in Maine. (McLeod’s book was published in the 1970’s.) The same person working on the river drive was referred to as a “river-driver” or if he was an expert, he might have been called a “riverman”.
Before the lumbermen arrived to begin their work, an “exploration – sometimes by the lumberman himself. More often by a hired surveyor or “explorer,” later called a “cruiser”. This person, often with a guide or partner, would go into the woods in the spring to locate a good stand of timber. The cruiser would also estimate the quantity available and estimate its worth. He would examine the land, locate drivable streams and determine what might need to be done to get the logs. Early aerial surveys were done when the cruiser climbed a tree and counted all the pine tops he could see.
McLeod’s book is a great read. If anyone has copies they no longer want, consider donating them to the museum. We often have people looking for them and other out-of-print books by local authors. We sell extras in the Museum Store.
Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM, weather permitting!
In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars still available, $12 each, mail orders add $5 SH each. 2022 calendar will be available by summer!
*** 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 trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Katahdin Avenue School Keystone

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

A central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together. That is the dictionary definition of a keystone. Katahdin Avenue School had two elaborate keystones, one over each of the two original main entrances, placed there when the school was constructed in. The school opened in 1931. After 63 years as an elementary school, the building closed in 1994 and was demolished in 2002. Luckily, the two large keystones were saved.
Some are aware that one of these keystones, shaped like an open book, was then placed in one of the front flower beds at the Millinocket Memorial Library. During the library’s recent renovation, this keystone was again preserved and rests, for now, at one of the front corners of the library lot. At the museum, we were unaware until recently as what had become of the second keystone. Patric Santerre, architect of the library’s renovation, on a visit to the museum stated that that second keystone is safely stored at the town garage.
In recent weeks, several people have donated items to the museum. The Monson Historical Society mailed two early photos of Ripogenus Dam. Through the years, MHS has received several items from other historical societies and MHS in turn occasionally receives an item that is more appropriate for the collection of another museum, so we send it on to them.
Ronald Blum gave several sheets of holiday wrapping paper. It was GN Nekoosa produced paper that was used by the Maine Sunday Telegram and Portland Press Herald…it was printed with the GNN logo. The museum received a collection of Stearns class photos from 1942 and 1943, donor Ron Cyr. Randa Laplante Fitzgerald sent family history information and an interesting medicine bottle with a paper label from Wm. Heebner, Druggist. Sharon Machia added several local newspapers to the collection. A ladies’ eyeglass case with label from Dr. Shippee’s practice, was brought to the museum by Cal Wilson. Millinocket Players photo albums (Carousel and Irene) were donated by Lenny Berry and Martha Berry donated numerous scrapbooks and items from the Katahdin Red Hatters.
It’s great to keep receiving things for the museum collection…the variety is interesting. Be sure to check with us before tossing any item that might be of local historical value. We are going to be starting filling up the second floor display area soon!
Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM, weather permitting!
In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars still available, $12 each, mail orders add $5 SH each. 2022 calendar will be available by summer!
*** 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 trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Aroostook Avenue School

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

In the early 1900’s, Millinocket’s population increased every year. Oxford Street School had opened in 1907 as the Millinocket High School and Common School was full and overflowing. By 1913-14, another new elementary building was needed. Plans were put together to have one by 1915 but delays kept it from opening until the fall of 1916. It had four classrooms and included a teacher’s room. Four more rooms were finished soon after and later basement space was converted for use. According to the town reports, for some time this building was referred to as the Brick Schoolhouse. Later is became known as Aroostook Avenue School.
The town report, Feb. 1914 – Feb. 1915, show the town had paid out $18,533 for this new building. Another entry states “the new school house will cost approximately $40,000 which leaves $10,000 to be raised by direct taxation.” Another $2000 each year would be raised yearly “to extinguish the debt.” A later entry by the superintendent of schools says “due to delays on the part of the architect and company furnishing the cement trimmings, it is doubtful we will use the new building until fall. When finished, this school will be one of the best north of Bangor.” The report issued in Feb. 1916 tells of payment for “the Brick School fence of $414.75. This included the wire fencing, posts and the building of a concrete wall. In addition, it is noted that the sum of $1.75 was paid to R. E. Elliott for hauling the fencing and other materials from the railroad station.
The superintendent’s report (1915-1916) sums up the student population situation at the time. “The number of school children in Millinocket is increasing so rapidly that it is becoming quite a problem to know what to do with them. We thought the new school building which was built to accommodate 400 children would solve the question for several years, but already there are over 400 in the new building and no teacher has less than 40 students.”
From there, plans were begun for another elementary school, but WWI happened and it would be fifteen years before the next elementary school would open.
Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM, weather permitting!
In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars still available, $12 each, mail orders add $5 SH each. 2022 calendar will be available by summer!
*** 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 trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Did You Know?

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

So You Live in Millinocket? Did you know Dorothy Bowler Laverty wrote a book with that title which explains the history of housing in the town of Millinocket?
Did you know…some people settled along the tote road that came from Medway, nearly 400 Italians were housed in crude shacks across the stream from the mill while a few folks built on higher ground back of the mill and others built near Millinocket Stream in the area known as the Flat?
Did you know that boarding houses were constructed on Penobscot Avenue near the mill, along Katahdin Avenue and in Tin Can Alley…all with different designs unlike those in many mill towns? Did you know that early house lots had only 60 foot frontage to cut down on water and sewer costs? There were many different designs (described in the book) including those with a small stained glass windows.
Did you know that most company officials did not plan to live in Millinocket, thus the Great Northern Hotel was constructed to house them on their visits? The more elaborate homes built near the four corners of Highland and Central Streets were done for early doctors (Ryan, Cody) and a druggist (Heebner). The Stearns, Parks and Ferguson homes did house company executives who lived here as did the Ingleton Schenck house (later known as the GNP Guest House)
Many families lived above the businesses on Penobscot Avenue. Frank Rush used train cabooses for his saw mill workers at his business near the railroad station.
Between the 1920’s & 1950’s, changes occurred. Little Italy homes grew to accommodate growing families. Granite Street (no one knows why called that as no granite in area) was extended to Medway Road. New houses on Medway Rd. were wrapped with mill paper! Water Street (a new street) was laid out and houses were being built along the Flat. Bates Street was extended when the railroad underpass was completed.
After WWII, new housing was needed for returning vets. Houses sprung up on Eastland Avenue and Maple Street. Plans were made for the Hillcrest Development (then and now referred to as the New Development). During the 1970’s, still more space for housing was needed so Wassau St. (apartments buildings) was laid out. Mobile homes came to the former Rush Farm and later to Pamola Park. Senior living facilities were constructed.
Laverty describes all of these in her book, So You Live in Millinocket, available at the museum (some copies are signed).

Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM, weather permitting!
In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars still available, $12 each, mail orders add $5 SH each. 2022 calendar will be available by summer!
*** 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 trudy18@beeline-online.net or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.