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Society Hill

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum


            A few elaborate early homes were constructed in Millinocket near the intersection of Central Street and Highland Avenue. These were the homes of businessmen, doctors and a few GNP men, all of whom were already prominent citizens in town. The houses were of the Victorian style common in that 1900-1905 time. The majority of GNP’s executive branch never lived in Millinocket. If they came on business, they stayed at the Great Northern Hotel.

            William Heebner was a Millinocket druggist doing business on Shack Hill until moving to the Decker-Gonya block downtown. His home on the corner of Highland Avenue & Central Street had bay windows, dormers, and so-called fancy windows (round, half-moon, arched) in the gables. The Heebner house had a hip roof covered with slate (probably Brownville slate). Also, the front porch rounded out similar to a gazebo as it turned to join the porch on the east.

Later, this home was owned by GB Moran who owned a well-known clothing store in town and served the town on many committees. He died suddenly during Millinocket’s 50th anniversary celebration. The house was later sold to in 1953 to Dr. Ernest Young. When Young died, his widow turned it in to a guest house.

The house on the corner across from Heebner’s was built by the company for George Parks, manager of manufacture. After Parks left, Harry Bragdon purchased the property. Bragdon’s first business in town had been a steam laundry and his family lived upstairs. When he became an undertaker, he bought the Parks property and moved his family into the residence. Later, the business was taken over by Kelleher.

   On the two opposite corners at that intersection were the houses of Dr. Cody and Dr. Ryan. The Ryan home (no longer there) belonged to Dr. and Mrs. Ryan. Dr. Ryan was Millinocket’s first doctor. His wife was a sister to Frank Rush, who built the house. The house featured bay and ornamental windows. A stained-glass window from the Ryan house is on display at the museum. The Dr. Paul Cody house was on the other corner and later was owned by Dr. Bryant followed by Dr. Morey and Dr. Shippee.

On Highland Avenue behind the Parks house still stands the George Stearns

house. Stearns was the company land agent. Another home on Highland Ave. was the property of Sylver Gonya, merchant form Shack Hill. Both houses followed a similar style of fancy windows and gables. The Stearns and Parks houses had small towers.

          Other houses with Victorian influences were built for others in the Highland Ave./ Central Street area. The Dr. McKay home was a bit further up Highland Ave. When his sister asked why he had built so far in the woods, his answer was that so he could see the mountain! Also on Highland Ave. is the current Knights of Columbus building originally constructed by Frank Rush. It was a two-story and attic structure with a porch across the front. Twelve white pillars were prominent on the porch. This house had half-moon windows in the attic and stained glass in the living room windows.

This area of homes near the intersection of Highland Avenue and Central Street was sometimes referred to as “Society Hill” or “Snob Hill. The bones of these Victorian homes remain although changes have been made through the years. This area near the intersection of Highland Avenue and Central Street was sometimes referred to as “Society Hill” or “Snob Hill. More on these homes is found in Dorothy Laverty’s Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness and So You Live in Millinocket. Both available at the museum or by mail.

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