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History of Millinocket Post Office

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

 

Millinocket’s post office (c1899) was once located near the mill yard in an area where a few businesses were situated (Kimball & Company store, Gonya Brothers Boots & Shoes and Heebner, Druggist). The first post office building was across the road from those businesses. The Postmaster was C. H. Eastman who had formerly kept the post office in the old Powers farmhouse (formerly known as Thomas Fowler farm).

By the 1920’s, the post office was located on Penobscot Avenue (near where many remember the Newberry’s store). The second postmaster was Harry E. Reed, who served from 1911 to 1915. Reed left the postmaster job to start his own business as an insurance agent, Harry E. Reed, Insurance.

In April of 1937, the cornerstone was laid for the new post office (the current brick building). The building built by the federal government cost $91,000. Garfield Jones was the first postmaster in the new building. He served for 18 years. Jones was also a manager of the town airport and was responsible for the first air mail in town. He had the town band to play at the airport on Aug. 4, 1937 when the first airmail plane landed in Millinocket.

Jones was followed as postmaster by Willis Gates. A dozen postmasters or postmistresses have served since that time.

            A first day cover is a postage stamp on a cover, envelope or postcard that is “franked” on the first day a stamp is authorized for use. The museum has two of the special envelopes “inauguration day covers” from August 22, 1937 when the new post office opened. The envelope has a picture of the new post office, photo of G. Jones, postmaster, picture of the construction engineer plus a picture of Katahdin from Togue Pond. Along the bottom of the envelope is a panoramic photo of the mill.

The mural that adorns the wall over the service windows (still there today) depicts a lumbering scene. The Laverty book states that the painting appears to have been painted directly on the wall and a wooden frame added. It has the appearance of a wall hanging. It was painted by John Beauchamp, an award-winning artist who won a fine arts competition and got the chance to paint the mural.

            A time capsule was buried at the post office as part of the 1937 dedication ceremony. Sixty-four years later, on the occasion of the town’s 100th birthday in 2001, that capsule was removed. Much of the contents can be seen at the Millinocket Municipal Building as they were placed in a large frame and are displayed on a wall near the manager’s office. At the same time, a new time capsule was buried.



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