Post WWII Millinocket Housing
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
With many returning from the war (WWII), the housing shortage became evident in Millinocket. At this same time, GNP was bringing in new employees with mechanical and engineering skills who also needed housing. Central St. was extended east from Medway Rd. to the town line and there was talk of a “new development.” In 1947, GNP made 51 lots available in this new area and also other lots elsewhere in town.
Streets were laid out with water and sewer facilities ($10,000 cost to town). Millinocket Water Company put in hydrants and water mains (no cost to homeowner). GNP charged about $200 for a house lot with a corner lot costing an extra $40. The local bank offered 5% loans.
A June,1949 news article includes interesting information! GNP offered much assistance to the new home builder. A GNP bulldozer with operator would dig the cellar and the company provided the cement forms. After the cement was dry, fill was put in and the lot leveled. Cost to the homeowner was overtime for GNP bulldozer and cement mixer operators.
Engineering services of the mill, including the drafting department to help with blueprints were available. The homeowner just had to ask. If the new homeowner was a logger and could cut his own logs, he had access to company horses and trucks at a reduced rate. Frank Rush set up a portable sawmill in the development area and sawed the lumber to specification…at a reduced rate. GNP also sent out a landscape gardener to guide the homeowner in “planting flowers and vegetables best suited to Millinocket’s sandy soil.” Two trees were provided for each lot. These services were provided by GNP to any prospective homeowner, not just their employees.
This “new development” was given the name Hillcrest although today many still refer to that area as the New Development or the Development!
Between the end of WWII and 1949, 80 new homes had been constructed including some in the Eastland Avenue area of town. An addition of 12 to 14 new house lots were to be made available on an extension to Bowdoin Street. Hillcrest would add 51 more with space for others going forward. In 1948, Ladies Home Journal magazine carried an article titled “Homes Millinocket Builds.” It was authored by Margaret Hickey who was a Millinocket resident at the time.
Information is from a news article (June 18, 1949) and Dorothy Laverty’s books Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness and So You Live in Millinocket (both available for purchase at the museum).