History of Millinocket 

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Our History of Millinocket Timeline is an online exhibit detailing our town's history as compiled by the museum staff from various resources. It's a living document and will change over time as we add photos and videos.

1830 – 1899


1830 – Thomas Fowler builds a log cabin and settles in the area that would later become known as the town of Millinocket.
1837 – A census by the State of Maine shows several families living in what was then known as East Indian Township No. 2.
1846 – Henry D. Thoreau hires Thomas Fowler, Sr. and son Thomas as guides for a trip to Mt. Katahdin.
1882 – Francis Fowler sells the Fowler homestead located on Millinocket Stream to a relative, Charles Powers.
1893 – Bangor & Aroostook Railroad is completed as far as Houlton.
1898 – Preliminary work by surveyors begins in Indian Township No. 3 for the Great Northern Paper Company mill.
1899 – GNP Co. is formed as construction begins for the mill and the town. The crew starts at 500 men in June and doubles to 1000 by August. Houses for the workers go up in the area across the stream from the mill which comes to be known as “Little Italy”. The area which came to be known as “Shack Hill” also becomes a housing area.
1899 – St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church is built and the Millinocket Water Company is formed.


1900-1910
 

1900 – The town’s population reaches approx. 2,000 and on Nov. 9, the first newsprint is made on the No.7 paper machine.
1901 – On March 16, the Maine Legislature enacts a charter for the Town of Millinocket which holds its first town meeting on April 18. The County Highway Commission builds a road to Medway which becomes known as Medway Road. The mill begins shift work and housing increases in the area on the other side of the B & A railroad tracks which is from then on referred to as “across the tracks”. Housing develops on the mill end of Aroostook Avenue which becomes known as “Tin Can Alley” and housing also continues on Katahdin Avenue, Penobscot Avenue, and “the Flat”. The Great Northern Hotel, which was started in 1899, is completed. St. Andrews Episcopal Church is built.
1902 – Unions begin to form in the mill. Two that organize in 1902 are Local No.69, International Brotherhood of Firemen, Oilers & Helpers, and Local No.27, International Brotherhood of Papermakers. Millinocket Light Company is formed and the Millinocket Common and High School opened in January. It has been noted that 1902 was the year the Town of Millinocket was entered into the Maine State Atlas. Fred M. Gates becomes the chief of police and fire departments and the town sees an epidemic of children’s disease spread through the town.
1903 – Typhoid fever, diphtheria, and smallpox reach epidemic proportions in Millinocket, and the first “Pest House” is built. This was the year Millinocket’s cemetery was established. The Baptist Church was built in 1903. The first movies were shown in town.
1904 – The Congregational Church was built.
1905 – Millinocket’s fire station is built and Millinocket High School has its first graduating class of 8 members.
1906 – While Shack Hill homes are torn down, the Millinocket Foundry is built. Another union, Local no.12 International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite, and Papermill Workers is organized.
1907 – Oxford Street School and Rush’s Sawmill are built and the building for Millinocket Trust Company is finished.
1909 – Millinocket Municipal Court is organized with G.W. Stearns as the first judge.

 

1911-1920
 

1911 – Millinocket’s population reaches 5,000.
1913 – A milk inspector is appointed and the Fire Department receives a Knox combination chemical and hose motor truck.
1914 – Aroostook Avenue School is built.
1919 – November 11, Millinocket Memorial Library is dedicated and the Cooperative Store is built.
1920 – Dr. C.S. Bryant opens Millinocket’s first surgical hospital, Millinocket Light Co. installs electric lighting, the Fire Dept. receives a LaFrance pump, hose, and chemical truck, and the town’s first playground opens on July 6.
The early 1920s also see Maine and Highland Avenues extended to Bowdoin Street with more houses built on the Flat. A concrete road, the first of its kind, is built on Katahdin Avenue and Central Street. The Millinocket Water Company installs a chlorinator for sterilizing drinking water.


1921-1929
 

1921 – The Millinocket High School burns down on November 13.
1923 – In September, Stearns High School opens.
1925 – The Millinocket Chamber of Commerce is formed and the Fire Dept. acquires a Ford truck for still alarms and grass fires. Millinocket also saw some Ku Klux Klan activity in 1925.
1926 – Millinocket celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Stearns High School gymnasium is built and a public bathing beach opened in the Pines.
1927 – The Central Street bridge is rebuilt and Bangor Hydro-Electric buys Millinocket Light Company. Streets were named, houses numbered, and mail delivery began. The year also saw the first storm sewer built and a plumbing code was established.
1928 – Bangor Hydro-Electric Company installs new street lights, the Bandstand is placed in the park, and a municipal skating rink was opened. On January 3, GNP Co. President, Garret Schenck dies.
1929 – Electricity is installed in Little Italy. The school system establishes a health program and hires a school nurse.


1929-1939
 

1929-33 – The Depression years. Civilian Conservation Corps camps set up on Medway Road.
1930 – Horses are retired from the Fire Department. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are organized.
1931 – Katahdin Avenue School is built.
1931-39 – Airport Development years. 1931 – An Aviation Field Committee is formed by the town and a year later (’32) it was increased to a board. 1934 – the town acquires 45 acres for the airport. 1937 – Private flyers are appearing, the Aero Club is formed, and Northeast Airlines introduces passenger service.1939 The Civil Aeronautics Authority has a base here and the airport has two runways.
1932 – A standpipe is built on what was Shack Hill, the cemetery is expanded, and Bates St., School St., and East Terrace are extended.
1933 – The Knights of Columbus erect a shrine at the cemetery.
1934 – GNP Co. constructs a power plant at North Twin Dam and houses in Little Italy moved from the river to Prospect Street.
1936 – Housing on Bates Street extended and the north end of Aroostook Avenue is built up between Second Street and the junction with Penobscot Avenue.
1936-37 – Highland Ave. and Maine Ave. are expanded to North Terrace and Cherry Street bridge is built. On Main Street, the U.S. Post Office is built. Great Northern Paper Company is now the largest newsprint mill in the world.
1938 – St. Martin of Tours parochial school is built and Hillcrest Golf Course is laid out.
1939 – A new Fire Station is built on Aroostook Avenue and the street is extended south from Second Street to Spring Street as new house lots are laid out. The National Guard Armory is built. Don Fendler is lost on Mt. Katahdin.


1940-1950
 

1940 – Sunday movies are permitted.
1941 – Stearns High School auditorium is built and the school system buys its first bus. December 7, Pearl Harbor disaster and the airport becomes a military emergency field.
1943 – More than 600 Millinocket men and women are in the Service. Oxford Street School closes.
1945-57 – An extensive home building period for the town
1946 – Eastland Avenue and Maple Street are laid out and State Street expands north to the bridge. Water Street is built and the dump is moved from Central Street to Millinocket Lake Road.
1947 – The wading pond in the town park is filled in and new lamp posts installed on Main Street.
1948 – Bowdoin Street is extended west, North Terrace completed, and Garden & Wassau Streets extended. The State Highway bridge over the West Branch is completed and the Brownville Road officially opened as Route 11.
1949 – The town enlarges the Golf Course from 6 to 9 holes and houses are built on Aroostook Avenue extension, from Second Street to Spring Street.


1951-1960
 

1951 – The town celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The Municipal Building is opened on April 9. The town purchases a new fire truck to replace the 1913 Knox Combination.
1953 – Rush’s sawmill burns down. Housing continues on Aroostook Avenue from Central St. south to Birch St. and housing is extended on Congress St. from Central St. south to Birch St. The Elk’s Club builds a new building on Aroostook Ave.
1954 – On July 4, the first Municipal Swimming Pool is opened. Central St. is extended due east to join Route 157 below the Rice Farm Road.
1955 – Millinocket Community Hospital opens on March 12 and Granite St. School opens in September.
1956 – Bob Mott begins Katahdin Flying Service from the Municipal Airport. Housing is begun on Iron Bridge Road, Ash and River Streets built. Granite St. opened between Medway Road and the Cherry St. bridge. Waldo and Prospect Streets are extended to Granite Street. Kelley Trailer Park is opened and new housing begins on the Millinocket Lake Road.
1956-57 – Hillcrest or “New Development” housing project is started with the first section opening in 1956 and the second section opening in 1957.
1957 – The town manager form of government is adopted.
1958 – St. Martin of Tours convent is built.
1959 – Piscataquis Bank moves into the Eugene Rush block.
1960 – The Katahdin Rangers Drum & Bugle Corps is formed.


1961-1969
 

1961 – Great Northern Hotel is torn down, a new fire truck replaces the 1936 truck, B & A Railroad discontinues passenger service. On April 6, the GNP Co.’s original smokestack is taken down.
1962 – GNP Co. Engineering & Research building is opened. Grant’s Dairy, Inc., buys Sno-land Dairy which incorporated with the town’s private milk business in 1957.
1963 – On December 3, a district court replaces the Municipal Court. December 7, WMKR radio station airs its first broadcast. The new Millinocket Memorial Library is dedicated on December 11 and the Millinocket Junior High opens in September. Stearns Minutemen win the New England Basketball Championship. Northern Shopping Plaza is developed.
1964 – Second Street bridge is built for access to the new Junior High School. The new Episcopal Church is constructed.
1961 – Great Northern Hotel is torn down, a new fire truck replaces the 1936 truck, B & A Railroad discontinues passenger service. On April 6, the GNP Co.’s original smokestack is taken down.
1962 – GNP Co. Engineering & Research building is opened. Grant’s Dairy, Inc., buys Sno-land Dairy which incorporated with the town’s private milk business in 1957.
1963 – On December 3, a district court replaces the Municipal Court. December 7, WMKR radio station airs its first broadcast. The new Millinocket Memorial Library is dedicated on December 11 and the Millinocket Junior High opens in September. Stearns Minutemen win the New England Basketball Championship. Northern Shopping Plaza is developed.
1964 – Second Street bridge is built for access to the new Junior High School. The new Episcopal Church is opened and the old one torn down. Jerry Pond recreation development is started. Helicopter lands at the airport and airlifts caribou to Mt. Katahdin. The Millinocket Players is organized. Heritage Inn Motel built.
1964-65 – Poplar St., Katahdin Ave., and Main street part of Penobscot Ave. are widened for greater traffic, and mercury vapor lighting is installed on the main street and the Municipal Parking Lot was built. The Millinocket Trust Co. building is modernized. Women traffic officers are employed for the school street crossings.
1966 – The third expansion begins in the New Development area and Wassau Street is extended east from Medway Road. Traffic is now able to access Interstate 95 from Medway.
1968 – The Millinocket Band disbands after 65 years.
1969 – St. Martin of Tours parochial school closes as does Bossie’s Boarding House. The town adopts the Council-Town Manager form of Government. GNP Co. becomes part of the Great Northern Nekoosa Corp. Balsam Road is laid out parallel to Central Street, starting at the Plaza.


1970 – 1979
 

1970 – Census reports Millinocket’s population has reached 7,672. Heritage Motel burns down. New St. Martin of Tours Church replaces the town’s first church on August 18. GNP Co. lays out Pamola Trailer Park and apartment buildings begin to be built on Wassau Street near Pamola Park.
1971 – Last GNP Co., log drive runs on the West Branch. Coach George Wentworth retires from Stearns High School.
1979 – Millinocket Historical Society is founded.

1970-1979

1970 - The census has Millinocket’s population as 7672.

1970 - St. Martin of Tours' new church is dedicated.

1975 - The Millinocket Junior High building becomes Stearns HS (grades 9-12) and grades 6-8

 move to former SHS building as Millinocket Middle School.

1976 - Baxter State Park information center opens on Balsam Drive, Millinocket.

1977  - Baxter State Park fire burns 3800 acres and campers evacuated.

1978 - Hotel Terrace on Medway Road burns.

1977 - Terre Haute housing completed on Walnut St. and opens with housing for the elderly and for low-income families. Kelley’s Trailer Park expands.

1979 - Millinocket Historical Society is organized by Bud & Polly Segee and others to preserve the town’s unique history. They open a small museum in the municipal building.    

 

 

1980-1989

1982 - The former St. Martin of Tours Catholic School is remodeled into 22 apartments and

 is named Maine Avenue Manor.

1984 - Town’s last remaining movie theater, The Movie Mill, at the shopping center on Central St. closes.

 1985 - Dead River Co. opens in a new building on the corner of Central St. and Rhode  Island

Avenue.

1988 - Emerson’s Pharmacy closes downtown after many years as a family-run business. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Emerson Pills, semi-pro basketball, and baseball teams were sponsored by Emerson’s.

1989 - Hundreds of locals volunteer to raise funds to build the Magic City Creative Playground near Stearns High School. School children collect $3600 in pennies to help.

1990-1999

1990 - Great Northern Memorial Park, a small mini-park, opens next to the municipal building.

1992 - Newberry’s closes after nearly 50 years of doing business in two locations on Penobscot Avenue.

1995 - The world’s largest popsicle is unveiled at the Katahdin Nursing Home.

1998  - Granite Street Elementary School and Stearns Junior-Senior High School

become the town’s only schools.  The building which had been the original Stearns HS, and later the Millinocket Middle School is closed down.

 

 

2000-2009

2000 - The US census has Millinocket with a 5203 population.

2001 - Stearns Assisted Living and Congregate Housing opens in the original Stearns High School building.              

2001 - Many gather around the July 4th holiday for the huge parade and many special activities for the town’s 100th birthday.

2001 - A time capsule buried in 1937 at Post Office dedication is opened and a new capsule is

 buried.

2002 - Katahdin Avenue School is torn down.

2005 - Katahdin Valley Health Center, a new healthcare facility, opens downtown

2009 - The TV Show “American Loggers” premiers featuring the Pelletier family’s seven brothers.  It ran for three seasons.

 

2010-2019

2010 - Millinocket’s population decreases to 4466.

2011 - The 1.65 mile Michaud Walking and Biking Trail is dedicated.

2013 - The town sells sixty tax acquired homes.

2014 - On July 4, the Millinocket Historical Society opens at its new location, 80 Central St.

2014 - The non-profit Our Katahdin is formed. Its first project, spruce-up the bandstand in the

               park and light it for Christmas.

2015 - Millinocket Memorial Library closes during the summer for 3 months due to a lack of funding. The library reopens in September thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the

 Millinocket Memorial Library.

2015 - First free Millinocket Marathon organized by Gary Allen had 52 runners in December.

2016 - Second Millinocket Marathon draws 552 runners and many others to town.

2017 - The Millinocket Memorial Library receives a $500,000 grant from Next Generation

Foundation to help renovation project. Many groups and individuals continue to contribute and support the project and the library.

2020- Covid-19 causes many disruptions for schools, businesses, and families.