Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Bangor & Aroostook R.R. Grand Excursion to Moosehead Lake and the Mt. Kineo House!! Large black lettering on bright orange paper (about 16” x 24”) announced the opportunity to take a day trip from Millinocket to Greenville and spend a few hours on Moosehead Lake. The date was Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1902. Millinocket was a new town with citizens from Maine, several U.S. states and from countries around the world that had come to the new community in the wilderness that had a new paper mill.
This rail trip offered an opportunity for a day away from work, from house building and from the busy life in the new town.
Anyone interested could purchase tickets (individual or for entire families) at any of the B & A stations between Houlton and Milo. Round trip tickets were $1.50 per person. The ad stated “astonishingly low rates” which included “rail trip and steamer passage” on Moosehead Lake to Mt. Kineo. Tickets could be purchased at all stations from Houlton to Milo. Tickets were good only for that one day.
The stations were at New Limerick, Ludlow, Ashland Jct., Oakfield, Island Falls, Crystal, Patten, Sherman, Stacyville and Grindstone. The next station was Millinocket (leaving there at 7.25 AM). After passengers boarded at Millinocket, the train would proceed to the Norcross Station, then to West Seboois (that is the spelling on the poster). From there the train traveled on to Schoodic, Brownville and Milo
At Milo, passengers would change trains to an Express that ran between Milo and Greenville. If you boarded at Brownville, the ticket price was only $1.25 and at Milo, $1.10. The train was to leave Milo at 8.38 AM. It would arrive at Greenville at 10.30 AM where passengers would board the steamer Katahdin.
Once aboard the steamer Katahdin on Moosehead Lake, the trip to Kineo (20 miles) would take the rail passengers to the island and a visit to the Mt. Kineo House. After enjoying the amenities at the Mt. Kineo House for about 3 hours, passengers would leave Kineo at 3.25 PM for the return to Greenville to catch the 5.10 PM train for the trip home. The last passengers would disembark at Houton at 10.10 PM. (Note: the times on the poster are listed in this form, 10.10 PM not 10:10 PM).
First built as a small tavern in 1844, the Mt. Kineo House grew into a two-story hotel. This burned in 1871 to be replaced by a much larger and grander hotel in the mid 1880’s. It grew to be one of the largest “water hotels” in America. Its dining room could seat 400 guests at the time of the excursion train. In later years, changes of ownership, WWII, another fire and other factors resulted in the closure and demolition of the hotel.
The Katahdin steamboat passengers boarded on this excursion is not the Katahdin currently carrying passengers today on Moosehead Lake. The current Katahdin was built in 1914, twelve years after the excursion.