The Millinocket Historical Society –
Historical Preservation Project
The goal of the society is to present an informative legacy of Millinocket’s once famous industry and nationally important heritage.
Millinocket is rich in American history, but unfortunately, this history, its arts and culture may erode in the progress and passage of time. If asked, how many high school students would know that a ship called the USS Millinocket was torpedoed and sunk in 1942, or of the 10,000 year tribal history of the original inhabitants. There is so much of Millinocket’s history that needs to be preserved and displayed for all to see and enjoy. Millinocket, an Indian name for “the land of many islands”, built by the Stonemasons, once home to our nations largest paper industries is currently in need of help in preserving its historic past. The goal of the Historical Society is to present a visual history to those that venture north, for those of us that are curious by nature, and most importantly educating the adults of tomorrow.
Since founded in 1979, the Historical Society’s mission has been to preserve, maintain and display the chronicles, culture and gathered past of those that came before us.
Preserving Millinocket’s heritage, one story at a time.
A number of the goals listed on this page have been successfully met since 2007, one being that the MHS museum is now open to visitors at the 80 Central Street location (first floor only). It continues to be a work in progress. Further updating of this page will take place soon.
Challenge: Raise the necessary capital to initiate project.
*On December 1st 2007 the Town of Millinocket purchased 80 Central Street and began the groundwork of what will become the future home of the Historical Society Museum.
Solution: Through various grants and fundraising efforts, the Historical Society can secure additional resources to complete the museum and attract those that would undertake stewardship of this community pillar.
Project Goals & Milestones
- Acquire and establish a suitable building to display the historical artifacts.
- Seek grant sources and continue working on fundraising efforts.
- Post restoration, the focus will center on additional fundraising events to both promote and exhibit gallery additions.
- Selection and training of stewardship needs to reflect the dignity and reverence of the Town of Millinocket.
80 Central Street is a unique and modern building, offering many possible options for renovation. This location presents a magnet for the downtown area, and will stimulate surrounding businesses year round. Upon completion, the initial visual appeal that draws the visitor’s attention will be the focal point of the long front porch.
This New England style entrance represents a place to reflect and is a compelling invitation to visitors. The main room on the first floor will serve many functions and will allow access to three “Theme Rooms” and a restroom. Toward the back wall, will be a secondary exit that will also serve as a handicap ramp.
Once inside, visitors may sign the museums registry and become a living part of Millinocket’s rich history. The Historical Society’s dedicated directors will combine their talent with Millinocket’s historical artifacts and create an entertaining and learning experience for all visitors. The advantages offered by the large open rooms on both floors will include:
- Versatile placement of the glass showcases used to display smaller items
- Walking space needed to place larger floor bound items that visitors enjoy inspecting more closely
- Revolving exhibits
- Facilities and wall space necessary to run a projector and display Millinocket’s history in motion picture form
- Large open spaces will continue to allow the Millinocket Historical Society to adapt to ever changing exhibits, contributions, and visitor traffic.
- Away from the main front entrance and at the rear of the building, will be the staff’s office entrance. In this area staff and working members will have private access to office space, computer, kitchen facilities and stairs down to the basement/meeting room.
Having multiple rooms that can follow a particular theme, adds a great deal of adventure to the visitor’s experience. For example, walking into a re-created classroom generated from 1950’s memorabilia will offer a vision of an educational era gone by.
Theme room displays will focus on, but are not limited to:
- Great Northern Paper & Timber Industry: Those that forged Millinocket into a mill town and the hundred year history it took.
- Native Americans: preserve and display the rich ten thousand year history of the original inhabitants.
- Vehicles: (snowmobiles, logging trucks; a pictorial exhibit of an era gone by)
- Services: (Military; those sent off to war and how it has changed them, Police & Fire – those that battled a different conflict, but are all to often forgotten in the passage of time) – (Letters Home; a recent discovery, and through this project will become the future exhibit of letters sent home from WWII)
- The physical being of the forest itself, the life within it, landscape and stewardship it will require to maintain it.
- Artifacts and the collected history from Teachers, Doctors, elected officials, and other community pillars that helped shape Millinocket’s history.
To summarize, the renovation of 80 Central Street into a museum will represent a giant step forward for the community. The location guarantees brisk visitor traffic, which will play an important role in the Millinocket Historical Society’s need to become economically independent. Because the Society maintains an enormous volunteer base, its needs are as simple as heat, lights and a roof over their heads. Any surplus can be directly applied to preservation of the inventory and showcasing the artifacts so they may share them with the public.
Over a century ago, a handful of brave, adventurous individuals set out to build the Great Northern Paper Company here in Millinocket. The Paper industry later became the State of Maine’s largest employer and Great Northern Paper, with more than ten million acres of land and a 19 dam hydro-electric system, became the largest paper company of it’s kind in the state, in the country and in fact, in the world.
The Millinocket Historical Society has the pleasure and the responsibility of caring for and displaying the rich personal and industrial history of a small town that became the focal point of the largest paper company of it’s kind.
The Great Northern Paper Company was once the largest independent landowner in the State of Maine, and the biggest paper mill in the world. GNP’s holdings up until 1970 were in excess of 2.1 million acres and were as big an industry as the ship builders down stream
With the help of generous donations, a dedicated volunteer base and the efforts of our community minded elected representatives; the completed renovation of 80 Central Street will allow the Historical Society to share Millinocket’s colorful history with the world.