Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
The weather was favorable and the organizing committee and union representatives had planned well. As a result, the Labor Day festivities in Millinocket 100 years ago were a great success. Back then, Labor Day was the occasion for a big parade and other events…much more so than July 4th.
The Central Labor Union members (firemen, papermakers, trades, carpenters & joiners, electricians, teamsters, log workers are listed in a museum program) led the parade along with the Millinocket and Lincoln bands. Each union carried a large banner with the union name. The parade began at 8 AM at Union Hall (where?) proceeded to Penobscot Ave. to Central St. and then to the depot to meet the trains. It then proceeded to the Mill Office and down Penobscot Avenue to Central St. again and on to the Pavilion where the rest of the day’s activities were held.
“The huge crowd passed through the ticket offices to the grandstand and bleachers and other points of vantage to view the first ball game between the great rivals Millinocket and East Millinocket.” After the game (E. Millinocket won 2 to 1), the crowds went to one of various places for dinner. One spot was the “fine new basement of the Baptist Church.”
Afternoon events included an exhibition of “juvenile folk dancing by a dozen or so youngsters who had been trained on the playground by Miss Sadie Thompson.” Some children “romped on the ball diamond to the music of a graphophone.” There were races for children on the playground tracks.
A second ball game between Millinocket and East Millinocket not only had “the bleachers uncomfortably packed with people, but a dense mass of humanity lined the ropes several deep right to the riverbank and the other way to the playground.” (This would be all the space between Aroostook Ave. School to Millinocket Stream & from Central Street to beyond the former Armory (I Care Ministries). There was also a midway, a balloon seller, a man with a pet deer, fortune tellers and sellers of hot dogs, peanuts and ice cream! Every child has a colored balloon. Both “picture houses” on Penobscot Avenue drew large crowds.
The Millinocket Band entertained in the early evening at the bandstand in the park. The final event of the day was the grand ball at the Opera House at 9 PM. The crowd was so large that dancing was difficult. Because of the crowded space and the several different types of dances on the program, they had a floor director and five aids to manage the dancing. A grand march was led by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hume with the Cobby O’Brien musicians providing the music. Dances listed on the program included waltzes, 2 step and 5 step dances, Portland Fancy, round dances and Contra dances. Refreshments were served by the Royal Neighbors of America.