Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
“Due to adverse weather conditions, it has been impossible to work on the ice-skating rink.” This was the statement made by a member of the Millinocket Chamber of Commerce to the local newspaper in late 1922. At that time, the C of C had been raising funds and working to provide a safe place to ice skate (There had been accidents while skating on Millinocket Stream). The month before a Thanksgiving Ball had been one of the fundraisers.
The Chamber hired Cyrus Cyr to supervise the construction work. A large area in front of Hobb’s Garage on Aroostook Avenue would be flooded and a shelter erected. At that time, 1922, there were no houses on the stream side of Aroostook Avenue. By January, 1923 Frank Speed reported “over $100 has been expended in labor, hire of teams for snow removal, etc.” The town also helped in getting rid of snow and many Chamber of Commerce men volunteered to shovel snow.
Mr. Speed said he “considered the rink to be one of the finest projects the C of C had put through and many hundreds of the citizens were taking advantage of the safe and sane enjoyment provided.”
In the 1950’s, several ices skating areas were developed by the recreation department (Wally Delahanty, director). Weekly reports in The Millinocket Journal give some information. Dec. 9-10, 1951, due to weather conditions, no skating, but at “the first sign of cold weather, will start flooding the rink.” Feb.27-28, 1952, “ice skating tests were given by the Recreation Director to six Girl Scouts. These girls were working for their winter sports badge.” When the ski area was developed in 1952, fewer children used the rink and warmer weather prevented good skating. Even so, Director Delahanty reported that this was the only skating rink in this section of the country (including Bangor).
“The total number using the rinks since the last report is 402. The rink on Eastland Avenue has not been cleared (since the big storm, Feb. 12). The rink in Little Italy was cleared by the middle of the afternoon of Feb. 13. This rink has been utilized to the fullest by the smaller children in that section of town.” At one point, the “skating house” was moved to the large rink at the Aroostook Avenue site and lights were planned to be installed. And one further note…the recreation director also was the instructor for skating classes for youngsters on Monday, Wednesday and Friday!