Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
Why was the paper mill built here where there was no town? That is a question museum volunteers hear on a regular basis. The simple answer given is that in the late 1800’s the demand for newsprint in the larger east coast cities prompted a group of men to choose the northern Maine woods as the ideal place for a paper mill. McLeod’s The Northern, the Way I Remember gives some detail on this topic.
Early paper mills manufactured paper from rags so mills were built close to population centers. Later when wood grinders began being used, water power was needed so mills were built along rivers. Poplar was the first wood of choice in the early days, but then spruce was used as it made a stronger pulp. Therefore, northern New York, New England and eastern Canada became the choice for paper mills.
In Maine, papermaking began in 1731 when General Sam Waldo built a mill near the mouth of the Presumpscot River in Falmouth. Fire destroyed that mill along with many others during the next 100 years.
In 1897, the Maine Legislature chartered the Northern Development Company, with Charles Mullen and other Bangor timberland owners as incorporators and they were to develop the water power on the Penobscot River. In that same year, a group of influential businessmen (Chisholm, Russell and more) brought twenty New England paper mills together as the International Paper Company in an effort to control competition.
A few months later, Garret Schenck, (his Rumford Falls mills was one of the mills absorbed into International Paper), severed his connection with that company. Schenck got together with Mullen and they associated themselves with the Northern Development Company. This then became the Great Northern Paper Co., and in November, 1900, Schenck presided at the opening ceremonies of the GNP’s Millinocket mill. It was a statement against the other group that competition would remain a fact of life in the newsprint industry.
In 1899-1900, the Maine woods were opening up. Horse-drawn and ox-drawn vehicles traveled “highways” and “tote roads” to Medway and north. The B & A RR extended to Houlton” and “sports traveled via train and boat to secluded camps to hunt and fish. The Fowler Farm was situated on what would become the mill site. There was something here, just not a town!
The museum has a few preowned copies of mentioned book, The Northern, for sale.
In the Museum Store!
*** 2021 Calendars are here! 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; “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 email@example.com or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.