Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Horses were an essential part of GNP’s logging operations. Many words have been written about these four-legged workers and the museum has several books that describe their feeding and care, size, harnesses, temperament and more. The logging room has photos of horses at work plus a portable forge that blacksmith Martin George hauled into some of the camps or farms to shoe the horses. There are several blacksmith tools on display also. A recent donation from John Stanley is a single horseshoe all rusty with portions of some horseshoe nails protruding. It must have in buried in the ground for some time.
“Woodsmen, Horses, and Dynamite” by C. Max Hilton, 1942, tells about the logging horse’s shoes. In summer and fall, a “mud” shoe which has heavy and had blunt toe and heel calks was used. In winter a “snowball” shoe was used. It was lighter weight and had a convex edge on the inside that would not hold dirt or snow. For use on hard snow or icy roads, the toe and outside heel calks were sharpened and the inside heel calk was rounded and blunted (to prevents cuts to the horses other legs, called “interfering”). Note that the museum has several “snowball” hammers on display that were used to knock frozen clumps of snow off the hooves. Four mud shoes could weigh eight pounds while the snowball shoes were a bit lighter. A half-pound of horseshoe nails were required to fasten the four shoes.
Sylvio Caron’s book, “Lumbering in the Millinocket, Me. Area, 1930 thru 1950 states that most of these work horses needed a size 8 horseshoe. To fit the shoe properly, sometime the blacksmith had to place the shoe in the forge to reshape it. Some horses required special shoes. Size 8 shoes were nailed on with size 8 horseshoe nails. Before attaching, the hoof needed to be trimmed and the bottom of the hoof had to be filed flat so the shoe would fit properly. After the nailing was completed, the outside edge of the hoof was filed even with the outside edge of the shoe. Caron mentions that some horses took a dislike to the blacksmith, making it difficult to shoe them. Some horses would lean on the blacksmith’s shoulder or try to pull their leg away.
The Caron book tells that when the winter hauling was complete, the horses were returned to the GNP barns where the rear shoes were removed. This was to lessen the possibility of injury from horses kicking each other when out to pasture.
In the Museum Store!
*** Preowned yearbooks – $10.00 each.
*** Matted photos, various prices – GNP mill, Little Italy, river drives, Mt. Katahdin.
*** 2020 Calendars, a few left – 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; “No Time for Moss (McKeen) $15.00.
*** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or the Millinocket Historical Society, P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.