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;
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM weather permitting.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.