Millinocket Historical Society

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

Category: Curator (Page 1 of 9)

Opera House News

In today’s world, news comes to us in many forms, TV, internet, phone, etc. In the 1930’s, one way was via the local movie theater. Two events of note are described in Opera House News, Volume 1, No. 23 distributed by the local theater in June of 1937 (5 cents per copy). A major world event was the coronation of England’s King George VI. The Millinocket Opera House showed, not a newsreel, but a documentary feature. This innovation was described as “a most significant application of the instrument of the motion picture to world events.” And the event was “enhanced by Technicolor.” The article continues, stating that as the coronation was colorful with flashing jewels and purple velvet, the use of Technicolor enabled the viewer to enjoy all the splendor of the event.
The same issue (and only one in the museum’s collection) also announced that “the battle of the year,” the boxing match between James Braddock and Joe Louis would be shown on Wednesday and Thursday. Opera House patrons “will see for 35 cents what fight fans paid $16 for in Chicago.” This was shown at some time after the fight actually took place and the article gives away the ending stating “the entire match, which saw a fighting champion go down before a stronger challenger, has been filmed at close range.”
A previous column stated Frank LePage was manager of the Millinocket Theater. He was the owner. He and his family started the Millinocket Theater at 75 Penobscot Avenue in 1938. As mentioned in the previous column, The Crown Theater (1937, Milton Glickman) began at that location and was quickly renamed Keith Theater. Then Charles Madden purchased all the equipment and further up Penobscot Avenue started the Four-Star Theater. This apparently all happened within a short time period, 1937-1938. Details are sketchy and a bit confusing. Thank you, Linda LePage Boyd for helping sort it out! At the museum, we are currently gathering all the theater photos and ephemera (paper items) into one location for easier access. Paper items include tickets, coming attraction handouts (various sizes), student movie passes, posters and more. Some of these will be on display in the near future. Donations of other local movie memorabilia welcomed!
Bill Geller, author of “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” will be in Millinocket, Wednesday, April 17, 12 noon, speaking at the Millinocket Literary Club’s annual spring luncheon. Limited tickets, purchased in advance, available from club members, at the museum and at the library. Geller’s book will be on sale (benefit museum).

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Some WWII Enlistees

On October 14, 1941, a group of twenty-one young men enlisted in the military in Old Town. The museum has a photo of this group with the above date written on the back. With the photo is a card with a few names. The card may have been placed with the photo after its donation to the museum. The photo’s condition is poor (dark and stained), but since it shows Millinocket WWII era military and perhaps East Millinocket and Medway men, it deserves to be shown. The names on the card are Brown and Farnsworth (no first names), George Ferland, Dana Edmonds, and two Monaco brothers (Restant and ?). We would very much like to identify all these young men who enlisted shortly before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into WWII. See this photo at the museum or on the Millinocket Historical Society’s Facebook page.
The museum has received a donation from John Beaupain of 50+photos taken by Roger Boynton, mill photographer. They include interior mill photos and several general subjects such as Mt. Katahdin, lakes, camps, fishermen etc. Beaupain also donated a number of 12” x 18” GNP photos which will be used for display purposes.
Do you remember blotters? Those rectangular pieces of heavyweight paper with a fuzzy coating on the back. They were used to blot ink when we used a fountain pen to write a letter! In even earlier days, they were a necessity when using pens dipped into ink bottles. There are several blotters in the museum’s collection. Many were given out as advertisements for businesses. The museum has one from the Millinocket Opera House. It says. “Opportunity of a Lifetime for Every Student.” It’s from 1940 and the theater was giving away one volume of an encyclopedia each week until the set was complete for a total of fifteen volumes. Other blotters in the museum’s collection advertise businesses such as Millinocket Insurance Agency.
A professor of animation from a Maryland college spent time at the museum. For a sabbatical project, he asked to look at GNP mill photos from the 1950’s -1960’s. These will provide him with information for his animated documentary. Can’t wait to see the result at some future date.
Several museum projects are in the planning stages: the museum’s 40th birthday, a second Little Italy story telling event, next year’s calendar and more. Stay tuned! Also, by July 4, we expect to place a new group of pavers out front. Order before May to be included. Honor an organization, school class, sports team, business, yourself or a friend. Plan a paver in memory of someone/family. Contact the museum for details!

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Two Queries

Happy Birthday 118th, Millinocket! On March 16, 1901 Millinocket became the 467th town to be incorporated in Maine. Historian Dot Laverty’s version of the name’s origin of and spelling of Millinocket is this. The name was taken from Millinocket Lake and the stream of the same name. Millinocket means “lake of many islands.” Millinocket was spelled with two t’s on several early maps, but for the town the last t was dropped. Note, the museum has a couple of photos with signs showing Millinockett.
Historical Societies and libraries are two places people look to for historical research. Two queries came to MHS last week and on occasion, help from the public is needed. GNP owned many trucks and in Dec. 1962, they purchased two (twin) Mack trucks. Last year, one was purchased and restored by a Skowhegan man who hopes to learn more of its history. He contacted the Mack Museum in Pennsylvania and now has reached out to MHS. His truck is serial #22121 and the sister truck would be 22122. It has a flat-bed body that dumps, one rear axle and the original gasoline engine. He is looking for information and/or photos. A photo of the restored truck is on our Facebook page. Contact the museum if you have information.
A genealogy query involves an immigrant from Albania who came to work in the mill. His great-granddaughter provided this information. Pandi Dimitri, born 1882, arrived in New York about 1915. It is known he was married and died in Maine. The 1940 census has him living in Millinocket.
Museum sources checked include the 1900 Millinocket census, cemetery records, school census books and obituaries, all with no luck. One last resource revealed the name Pandeli Dimitri. A ledger listing Millinocket registered voters 1912-1938 has him registering on 3/2/1944. His signature is there along with the address 124 Bowdoin Street.
This volume is one of several at the museum. They include voter enrollment books from 1912-1938, indexed alphabetically by last name. Included are addresses, political party and town of last enrollment (if any, and date of filing.) Maine was heavily Republican at that time, so that book has more names than the Democratic book. One other book is for the Socialist Party, popular in the early 20th century. In Millinocket, this party had two enrollees in 1912 and one more added in 1926. The second one changed to Democrat in 1918 and the third changed to Democrat in 1940. Prior to being Socialist and Democratic, he had been a Republican. From a genealogy aspect, these enrollment books show where these people were living at some time during the years 1912-1939. One museum volunteer has already discovered addresses for several branches of her family tree! They are available for visitors to view.

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Theaters from By-gone Days

Did you know that Millinocket once had theaters called Crown, Keith, and Four-Star? The Crown Theater opened in September 1937 at 75 Penobscot Avenue (most recently bowling alley site). It had 350 seats and was constructed by Milton Glickman. Soon after, the name was changed to Keith Theater. Frank “Binky” LePage was assistant manager. Later the same year, Charles Madden purchased the theater. He reopened it up the street at 151 Penobscot Avenue as the 350 seat Four-Star Theater. The next year, Madden started construction of a new theater (Millinocket Theater) on site of old Keith Theater. The Millinocket Theater’s gala opening took place Sept.9, 1938. There were 702 seats and Frank LePage became general manager. Thus, in 1938, Millinocket had three operating movie theaters, the Opera House (1st talkie, 1929), the Four-Star, and the new Millinocket Theater.
As of 1939, only the Opera House was allowed to show major films. This resulted in the Four-Star closing the following year. In 1943, the Millinocket Theater won a lawsuit and gained the right to show major motion pictures. They went on to add Cinema Scope, a giant wide screen.
Glen Wheaton became an important part of the Millinocket Theater’s history beginning at age eleven passing out programs. In return, he received free movie passes. His first paying job was selling candy.
Through the 1940’s, 50’s and into the 1960’s, the Opera House and Millinocket Theater attracted crowds to view great motion pictures. The Millinocket Theater ended its run in 1962 when it was destroyed by fire. In 1971, the Opera House closed and in 1977, the building was demolished. For a time in the 1970’s and early 80’s, the K Cinema operated at the local shopping center on the hill.
The museum has a variety of posters, programs and other handouts from the Millinocket Theater and the Opera House and one each from the Four-Star and Keith. Penobscot Avenue street scene photos and post cards show the Millinocket Theater and Opera House. In one museum photo, the marquee for Four-Star Theater can be seen as well as a portion of the building. This theater was located where Katahdin Valley Health Center is now.
The Opera House (1912) was the scene of live performances and other town events in the years before silent movies and then “talkies”. The museum has a piece of stationary from the Dream Theater (live performances, not movies). It says: Dream Theater, Cutliffe & Ferland, Owners, Millinocket. No information as to location. Advertisements in 1923 and 1925 show it was on Penobscot Avenue,

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Millinocket Opera House Coming Attractions

James Stewart, Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda are movie star names many readers remember. These three had long careers, but in the late 1930’s they were just becoming headliners and had films showing at the Millinocket Opera House. A scrapbook in the museum’s collection revealed seven of the small coming attractions handouts from July-August 1938-1939. Stewart was starring in “Shopworn Angel” while Fonda was the headliner in “Blockade.” Hepburn, with co-star Cary Grant, was the star of “Bringing Up Baby.” Along with the daily feature films, most nights there was a cartoon, a short feature and Metro or Movietown News. During this run in July and August, each viewing contained a chapter in a serial story “Lone Ranger.”
The Opera House had a long history. Originally built by Charles Rush in 1908, the building was used by the Modern Woodmen of America as a lodge room and had a large auditorium for public use. In 1912, it was destroyed by fire and Rush immediately constructed a new building, the Opera House, for community use. This theater opened with 692 seats. Many variety shows, concerts by famous names, town meetings, graduations and dances took place there before silent movies became available. In 1929, the first talking movie was shown. In the early 30’s, another fire caused damage. The beautiful front entrance was gone (early museum photos show it was used for many photo ops). The owner, a man named Kurson, had repairs done including a new entrance situated at the corner of the building.
By 1939, Millinocket had three operating theaters (Opera House, Millinocket Theater, Four-Star), but only the Opera House was allowed to show major films like those mentioned above. In 1971, the Opera House was sold and the new owners closed it. It was torn down in 1977. (Note: much of this information on the Opera House is from local newspaper interviews with Glen Wheaton, long time manager of the Millinocket Theater and member of MHS before his death.)
A recent mention on Facebook of Dorothy Bowler Laverty’s second book So You Live in Millinocket brought questions whether it was a follow-up to her original history of Millinocket. It is not a history, but it does discuss the different styles of architecture found in Millinocket. She tells of the houses with the stained glass windows, the two-story hip roof houses and the boarding houses. She spends several pages on the house at 4 Hill Street where she lived with her family growing up. She tells of the Eastland Ave. area, the “new” development expansion and the “amazing” mobile home. This book is at the museum store (Hardcover $15.00 and softcover $10.00, some signed, new).

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Millinocket 1903

Millinocket is often referred to as the “Magic City.” Dorothy Laverty used this term in the title of her 1973 book, Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness. There is no reference available as to when this term first came into use, but it seems appropriate.
In 1899, there was a farm house, a barn and several outbuildings, with a few acres of land, all located within the bounds of what became the town of Millinocket. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad tracks did pass nearby, but otherwise it was wilderness. However, by 1903 there were about 3000 inhabitants. A report filed by the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics for the State of Maine gives this information and a great deal more and is a very interesting read. Much of the report is about the development and growth of GNP, but some tells of the town itself.
In 1903, Millinocket was one of only four incorporated towns in northern Penobscot County. The others were Medway, Patten and Mount Chase. The report states, “the town has large, neat and comfortable dwelling houses, and many of them, in architectural beauty, would do credit to any town or city in the state. It has one hardware store or firm that carries on plumbing in all its branches, one tin smith and plumber, two drug stores, thee grocery, meat and provision stores, one general store, one bakery, one boot and shoe store, five clothing stores, two dry goods stores with millinery connected, one jewelry store, three confectionery and fruit stores, one department store, one furniture store, three barbers’ shops, three hotels, several boarding houses, one restaurant and three livery stables. There is also a good photographer, and his fine views taken during the development of the plant, a good idea of the progress made in the building of the town.” An interesting project would be to identify and map out these businesses. The museum has some newspapers from that time period and the advertisements would give clues. It would be a good student project or a task for anyone else interested!
Recently, a Bangor middle school student (with Millinocket ties) visited for information for a class project. Also, the museum has just been contacted by a Maryland college teacher who is coming to the area doing research. Historical societies, along with libraries, are the go-to places for historical and genealogical research.
The museum is sending out its annual fundraising letters. If you did not yet receive a letter and wish to donate to help preserve Millinocket’s history, see contact information below. Thank you!

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Local Books

Some interesting folks have called Millinocket home! A few have been written about and others have written about topics other than themselves. A package arrived in the mail recently for the museum. It contained ten copies of the book No Time for Moss and a note stating that perhaps the museum could sell them as a mini-fundraiser. Published in 2014 and written by Sid McKeen, it is the story of his mother, Verna Thorpe McKeen, born 1910, whose early life was in Millinocket (and many other places). The book states that a family log indicates Verna, her husband and children changed addresses no fewer than sixty times by the time Verna was sixty years old with fourteen of them being in Millinocket. Some of the story is in her own words from the audio cassette tapes and diaries Verna kept and the remainder of the story is memories of some of her children. It’s a good read! The museum has a couple of copies available to look at in the Research/Genealogy Room as well as the copies for sale.
The Research/Genealogy Room has a section with all the books by/about Millinocket people and topics. All are welcome to visit and look at or read these books here at the museum. They include books by Katy Perry, Dorothy Laverty, Marion Whitney Smith, Jane Rideout Jones, Dr. Morey, Rick McAtee, Joel Dearing, Tim Caverly and more. We are looking for more local authors to add to this section.
In the museum store, we have a small selection of used local books for sale. Did you know that in addition to Katahdin Fantasies (tales of the spirits of Katahdin), Marion Whitney Smith wrote two books about Thoreau’s travels in this area plus two works of fiction? The Northern by John McLeod is a great brief history of early GNP.
Availability varies on these used books depending on what becomes available. Books written by Sylvio Caron, Sawtelle’s story of Coach Wentworth, Timber by McCann quickly disappear from the sales shelf. The museum gladly accepts your unwanted copies. Available for purchase (not listed below) include Mike Murphy’s Our Real War and Westrich’s Hiking in Baxter State Park.
Some of you know, there is always a jigsaw puzzle in progress on the back table and we invite visitors to sit and put in a few pieces. A large collection of these are available for purchase (50 cents each). Stop in and take a look!
The museum is sending out its annual fundraising letters. If you did not yet receive a letter and wish to donate to help preserve Millinocket’s history, see contact information below. Thank you!

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Confectioners, Clothiers & Furnishings

Early Millinocket businesses included those that provided millinery, confectionery items, furnishings and clothing. Last week this column told about Rosalie Rush Ryan, local milliner (lady’s hat designer and maker). A confectionery was a store or small shop that sold candy and other sweets that might include cakes and more. The maker of these candies and sweets was called a confectioner. If a store sold clothing particularly for men and boys, the owner was called a clothier. A furniture seller who also provided other household decorative items such as curtains and carpets was said to sell furnishings. Businesses from early years advertised in newspapers, yearbooks and other ways.
The 1928 Stearns HS yearbook includes the following ads. A fruit and confectionery store was run by R.V. Fowler who also sold ice cream. Mrs. J. Simon offered a “quick lunch and confectionery.” Hobb’s advertised a candy kitchen.
Listed as a clothier was H.A.M. Rush. His message to young male students and graduates was “get the fine appearance habit. It will be one of your greatest assets in years to come.” His brother Eugene Rush had a women’s and children’s store next door. His ad does not use the word “clothier” rather it says “ladies’ and children’s furnishings.” Moran’s was a well-known store for men’s wear including the popular 1920’s straw hats for men. Harry Carroll’s business, Carroll the Tailor, could alter, mend and otherwise repair men’s clothing. He also did cleaning and pressing.
Fuller Furniture Company could supply the home owner with many of the needed home furnishings and also sold refrigerators, paint, varnishes and wall papers. They also gave out green stamps. Another milliner in addition to Mrs. Ryan was Blanche Stevens who had a Hat and Art Novelty Shop. She advertised “millinery and fancy work, Butterick patterns and Belding Dress Silks (silks referred to silk sewing threads).
Other local businesses long gone from Penobscot Avenue that have ads in this yearbook are: The S.& S. Bowlerdrome, Mabel Hardy’s gift and baby shop, S.J. Hikel’s pool room and barber shop, Millinocket Bottling Company and Bouchard’s Shoe Hospital. There are many more and all have an interesting history. Help the museum create a file on these businesses and others through the years by providing information and/or photos, items and signs related to these businesses and their owners.
The museum is sending out its annual fundraising letters. If you did not yet receive a letter and wish to donate to help preserve Millinocket’s history and aid in the completion of the 2nd floor display space, see contact information below. Thank you!

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

A Million Hats by a Local Milliner

At the time of Millinocket’s 50th birthday in 1951, a number of its citizens received Pioneer Badges. To receive a badge, the person had to have lived in Millinocket since it was incorporated in 1901 and register at the new municipal building. Many of these pioneers were featured in the Bangor Daily News special edition, August 18-19, 1951.
One of the ladies on the list was Rosalie Rush Ryan, famed local milliner. Recently, I found a 1963 BDN article titled “Millinocket Milliner Retires after 54 Years in Business.” Rosalie and husband Dr. Matthew Ryan came from Rumford and built a home on Highland Avenue. It was one of the first homes and was constructed by her brother Frank Rush, contractor and owner of a saw mill.
Unfortunately Dr. Ryan died two years later & Mrs. Ryan was left with two young children to raise. At this time, women rarely entered the business world, but Mrs. Ryan decided to start a millinery business. The news article details Mrs. Ryan’s journey. She placed her children in a convent so she could travel to Portland and learn to make hats. Then she traveled to New York for a six month stay to learn more. Having learned the skills of a milliner, she returned to Millinocket with her children and started a hat business in her home and hired a woman to care for the children.
Later, Mrs. Ryan moved her business to brother Eugene Rush’s women’s and children’s store on Penobscot Avenue. During the next few years, many millinery businesses came and went in Millinocket, but Mrs. Rush continued on. Women today do not realize the importance hats were to women in those days. The article states that Mrs. Ryan made two trips yearly to wholesale houses to copy new styles. The proper lady of that era would only wear a hat for a season and would need to update as the styles changed. Mrs. Ryan’s first hats sold from $8 to $25 and might be trimmed with large plumes, birds of paradise, feathers, beaver etc. Hats from past seasons would sell for $5. Attempts to train several girls to make hats, failed as they said it was too difficult.
When Mrs. Ryan retired at age 86 after 54 years in business, she claimed to have sold over one million hats. Visit the museum to see one of these creations. It is a black hat, round with a label RM Ryan, Millinocket and was probably suitable for someone in mourning to wear.
The Ryan home, demolished several years ago, was located near the Great Northern Hotel facing Highland Ave. (across from former Dr. Shippee office).

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

Bits & Pieces

A little bit of everything this week! People have been contacting the museum with queries, the first item donations for 2019 have been received and Facebook users have been busy posting interesting Millinocket photos.
I found an interesting black three-ring binder by the museum’s front door recently. It contains many news articles about George Wentworth and his basketball teams plus other articles from the same era. Wish the donor would email or Facebook message so we would know who to list as the donor.
Volunteers have been busy preparing and sending out the museum’s annual appeal letters. This is a major part of the fundraising efforts to keep the museum’s doors open year round. These letters will continue to go out over the next several weeks. Options include a money donation, the purchase of an engraved paver, buy something from the museum store or become an MHS member. If you do not receive a letter, we would still like to hear from you!
This column appears weekly on the MHS Facebook page and on our website. Recently on the Facebook page Millinocket, East Millinocket & Medway, ME History page, people have been posting many interesting area photos. Just want to let you know that many of these can also be seen at the museum. In particular, we have several of the Millinocket 50th birthday albums (1951). The photos were done by Millinocket photographer Crowell. Most of the albums have photos of all the parade floats, but the albums differ slightly as to other photos. Apparently, families could choose which photos they wanted included. Other recent Facebook photos are from John McLeod’s The Northern, The Way I Remember. This is the condensed version of the much larger work. The museum has several used copies of this book for sale ($25.00).
The sign board recently placed on the location of the former mini-golf has two photos provided by the museum. The sign was made and placed by the Katahdin Tourism Partnership.
Queries come to the museum by phone, mail, email and Facebook. One person asked if we had information on the Springfield, Carroll Plantation area. We do have some things on the town’s immediate area, but not from those towns. Another query asked about Phillipe Rouleau who was known to be in Millinocket in 1939. He had a brother Octave Rouleau who died 1939. We have the contact information if anyone recognizes those names.
A new item was donated by St. Martin’s Church. It is small bell (tap with your finger) from the former St. Martin’s school. The bell was brought to the museum by Dot Howard.

***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
3. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
4. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. 2019 MHS Calendars, “Sports for All Ages”- $10.00 ($5.00 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form;
…and more.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or trudy18@beeline-online.net. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.

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