Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Going out of town? Just take Route 157 to the interstate, Route 11 toward Brownville or even the road Rip Dam and on to Greenville. Not so easy 70+ years ago. For several years, talk was happening about the need for a road to the Brownville-Milo area. In 1934, GNP built a road as far as North Twin. Petitions were made to the State Legislature by the towns of Millinocket, Milo and Brownville to consider a road. Passable sections were being built by the 1940’s and a traveler could (not easily) get from Milo to Millinocket. This trip included crossing the dam at North Twin as no bridge spanned the West Branch.
In 1945, Gov. Horace Hildreth came to the area on a hunting trip. He also met with Chamber of Commerce members at the Great Northern Hotel where his party was was staying. The Chamber planned to pitch the idea of a bridge over the West Branch. The Governor was treated to a rather bumpy ride and saw for himself the condition of the existing “road.” Shortly thereafter, the State Legislature appropriated money for a bridge and for additional work on the road.
The museum has one of the three pens that the Governor used to sign the Bridge Resolve. This pen was then presented to Speaker of the House John F. Ward of Millinocket. This pen, currently on display at the museum was donated in 1981 by Robert Speed. Frank Speed had been one of the men working to get this road and bridge done for many years, along with William O’Connell, Frank Bowler and Robert Hume. Donated to the museum at the same time as the pen was an ornate inkwell with a pen rest. We do not know if this was also used by the governor. The museum also has two photos showing a crew of men at work building a section of the road. In a side note, the new MHS calendar has a very early photo looking toward Central Street hill before a road was constructed up the hill. It takes us back to a time when “getting out of town” took some planning and could not be done easily. The train was often the easiest option.
*** The 2018 calendars are now available at the museum, Levasseurs, Save-a-Lot, Katahdin General Store and Rideout’s Market. Still just $10.00 each. Add $4.00 SH each for mail orders.
*** A new paver order has been placed in front of the museum. Orders for the next group are being taken. Contact MHS for the specifics. The pavers are $100.00 each (tax deductible) and may be in honor or in memory, for a school or team, business, organization, family or in your own name.
*** Visit the museum store for local books, calendars, DVD (legends of Mt. Katahdin) and more or contact us for details including prices and shipping information. We have copies of the 2010 alumni book, some Fernwood items, dishcloths and more.
*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. ***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for groups or appointments. Contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.