Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Communication between the Great Northern farms, woods camps and the main office in Bangor was done in the early days by telephone, an amazing system for that time when many of the smaller towns and rural areas in central and northern Maine had no such system available. The following information is from Chapter 21 of John McLeod’s The Greater Great Northern.
In 1901, the same year that Millinocket was incorporated as a town, Great Northern built its first piece of telephone line. It went from Chesuncook Dam to Millinocket. Earlier, in the 1890’s, the Kineo & Northeast Carry Telephone Company was formed and ran a line to serve the hotels on the east side of Moosehead Lake and to Chesuncook Village. Another line was built to Rockwood. Then the New England Telephone & Telegraph Co. took over the Kineo company and added lines as far as Jackman, Seboomook and Pittston Farm.
McLeod states that information is “sketchy” on these early lines. The lines were of the grounded type, using a single iron wire, strung on trees. They were gradually replaced, first with two-wire circuits and later with multiple trunk lines on cross-arms. These main lines ran from Pittston Farm to Grant Farm. One lineman with help from timekeepers from area camps maintained the 100 miles of wire.
About 1911-1913, the system was placed under the Division of Forest Engineering. A second lineman was added. There were no switchboards or operators. If someone wanted to talk with some operation, he called the first place on the line, and the clerk or cook switched the call to the next point and so on. Switchboards and operators may have been added about 1921. By the time the West Branch system was completed, mid 1920’s, there were about 200 miles of pole line along the “turnpikes” and 500 miles of ground line in use. This system was used until about 1952 when the switch was made to a radio system.
A print copy of this Sprucewood chapter 21 may be viewed at the museum.
In the Museum Store!
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** 2020 Calendars – Beyond the Mill ($10)
*** DVD’s from both Little Italy Part 1 and Part 2 are available at the museum ($15 each) or mail order ($15 each).
***Books available: “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.
*** All items may be mailed – add $5 SH each item.
***Museum open Thurs., Fri., Sat. Noon – 3PM, weather permitting.
*** 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.