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

Month: April 2021

B & A RR and the Mill

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

The Bangor & Aroostook Railroad extended its line from Old Town to Houlton in 1893, passing near what would soon become the town of Millinocket. In February of 1899, F. W. Cram, vice-president and general manager of the B & A confirmed with Garret Schenck a verbal understanding regarding the railroad and what would become GNP. The Company would give the railroad “land for a station, freight house, roundhouse and turntable, yard space and other right of way; that the railroad would build the spur track from the main line to the mill yard boundary, and the Company would do the grading and lay the ties on the mill property.”
The cost of transportation was a concern for the new paper company due to the distance from its future markets and the large volume of materials and people both in and out. A quote in the McLeod book from Cram to Schenck years later said, “You made a devil of a fuss over the difference between paying $3.40 per ton paper Millinocket to New York, the rate we wanted; and $3.00, the rate you got: you said: “”no three dollars, no mill.’”
By June of 1899, 500 men were working on construction of the mill. The B & A planned an excursion train to the “magic city” so the curious could see what was being done. Three hundred folks came on the trip.
The first station was located near “the Pines” by a tote road and near the Rush sawmill. Later in the 1930’s, mill production was very high so changes were needed for the railroad to handle the traffic. The railroad yard was raised several feet and was surfaced. The station was moved across the main line and turned around. At the same time, the underpass was constructed to allow the continuation of Bates Street.
Daytime schedules later allowed for day trips to Bangor with a return home by evening. Some remember taking the “sleeper” to Bangor and on to Boston. It left in the evening for Bangor where the railroad switched the sleeping car to the Boston & Maine RR. This was good for businessmen, company officials as well as college students attending out-of-state schools. The Laverty book has this quote: “Does number 8 mean anything to you?” It was the night sleeper to Boston. By 1961, the Bangor & Aroostook RR ended its passenger trains. More people had cars and the roads were improving. A bus line run by the B & A existed for a few years.
The museum is looking for more railroad photos and memorabilia, especially photos of the roundhouse!

Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Noon-3PM
In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars still available.
*** 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.

Penobscot Log Driving Company

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

The Penobscot Log Driving Company (PLD) was one of the companies controlling much of what was happening on the log drives in the early days on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. John E. McLeod, author of The Northern, the Way I Remember, gives some background. The PLD, in the mid-1800’s, handled the drives on the West Branch from Chesuncook Dam to Medway, and the delivery of those logs to the booms above Old Town. The logs would be turned into lumber in one of the numerous sawmills between there and Bangor. This company was in business through the long log era and into the four foot wood era well into the first half of the 20th century.
March 7, 1913 is the date on a Bangor Semi-Weekly newspaper brought to the museum by Doris Davis. It was hidden among other newspapers and old magazines. An article on the back page is titled “Log Driving on the Penobscot.” The article tells that the company’s annual meeting was held at their office in Bangor on Exchange Street. Directors and officers for the coming year were elected.
A detailed treasurer’s report from company treasurer Charles H. Adams was printed. Listed are receipts, expenditures, credits, liabilities, assets and more for the 1912 year. Here are some of the line items. In expenditures: Total cost of the drive – $13,572.57 (includes payment to GNP for labor and board of men, $715.67; labor and board of horses, $$169.00; boom chains $35.00; dynamite, $103.98; and bateau, oars, paddles, axes, etc., $62.75). Some PLD assets listed include: dam at foot of Millinocket Lake, $35,000.00; wangan, boats, canoes and scow, $1000.00; driving and tolls on logs now in boom, $500.00.
1864 –1954, these are the dates included in six ledgers from the Penobscot Log Driving Company in the collection at the Millinocket Historical Society Museum. Five of them are account books showing cash paid out for labor, materials and wood purchased. Some show each entity wood was purchased from, including the log stamp, number of pieces of wood passing a checkpoint and the person or company receiving the payment. Another volume is a record of annual meetings, 1932-1954.
A reminder that these ledgers and many other items in the collection are available to be used (at the museum) for research. We can set you up with a space where materials can be spread out and you can work. Photocopying is available for a fee.

In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars still available. 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.