Pool halls and billiard parlors were popular hangouts in the earlier years of the 1900’s. Millinocket had its share too, sometimes located on the same premises as barber shops or tobacco shops. Most were located on or near Penobscot Avenue.
A museum photo of one of the first buildings on Penobscot Avenue shows a sign stating Bowling, Shooting, Pool. Another sign on the same building says Bowling Alley and Shooting Gallery. The building was at 75 Penobscot Avenue and was built and owned by Frank LePage. Later the Millinocket Theater was located on this site.
Some research of museum resources has uncovered several pool halls in the town’s business history. If readers know of others or have information or photos to share, we would like to hear from you! A token from SJ Hikel Pool Hall was recently donated. Hikel also sold tobacco products and was in this business possibly in the 1920’s and later other businesses. An advertisement in Stearns HS yearbooks in the 1950’s is for Phil Hikel’s Poolroom. Lemieux Pool Hall tokens are also in the museum’s collection. Lemieux is listed as having a cigar store and in one source it is Lemieux Beer and Pool Hall. The pool hall part of the business does not appear on some of the business records.
There was a bowling alley, pool room and barber shop in 1899 in the Decker/Gonya building (near the traffic light). Given’s Pool Room (Johnny Givens) operated in the late 1940’s further down Penobscot Avenue. In the 1970’s, Mac’s Pool Hall was located in the Morgan Block (Tanous Law Office today). Some early town maps (1904-1912) indicate there were more, but they are not identified by owner’s names.
A short article in a 1947 Millinocket Journal tells of Joe Civiello’s Pool Room located in the former Mrs. Gwynn’s Millinery Shop. After Gwynn sold the building, it had several owners including Givens (mentioned above) before it came to Joe Civiello in 1945. The article states “Joe’s is a popular spot and well known by many who go in and enjoy a game of pool. Incidentally, Mr. Civiello will have a brand-new pool table installed by Monday or Tuesday. He plans to have a new front on the building and other improvements. Civiello operates the business himself and is ably assisted by Mr. Stanley Thorpe, a veteran of WWII. Joe’s carries a line of candy, pop, cigars and cigarettes and many other things.”