Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
A new bridge is slowly taking shape outside of Millinocket on Route 11! Often referred to as the “Green Bridge,” the original bridge was significant in the history of travel to and from Millinocket in the 1940’s and after. Until then, access to Millinocket from Brownville and beyond was difficult. The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad train was the best option. It brought many “sports” to Norcross in the early days and some hardy folks detrained and made their way as best they could to Millinocket. Some locals crossed the river via the North Twin dam, constructed in 1934.
Talk of a bridge began in 1926, but it was 1948 before the bridge was completed and all the previous bits and pieces of road were improved to make Millinocket to Brownville by automobile a reality. The museum has a pen (donated by the Speed family) used by Governor Hildreth to sign the order for the bridge and two photos of the governor and local dignitaries from the local Chamber of Commerce. People and businesses on the Millinocket side of the bridge were excited for this event.
A 1946 scrapbook in the collection has an article from another perspective. It looked at the need for a decent road and bridge and how the lack of such was costing the businesses in Brownville, Milo and surrounding towns.
Examples cited: 1) Ernest Ladd, owner of four sawmills (Brownville) had to get his pine logs via roads from Mattawamkeag and Lincoln; 2) John Lewis Industries 200 employees (Brownville) made tongue depressors for the Army and Navy and wooden knives, forks and spoons and used birch brought by truck from Howland or shipped from Ft. Kent; 3) In Milo, both American Thread Co. (used wooden spools) and B and A Railroad would benefit from a road direct from Millinocket.
Another resource (Sawtelle’s Ebeemee, North Brownville and the Prairie, gives this timeline for the road. In 1939, legislature appropriated monies to complete road; 1939-40, WPA & Dept. Transportation worked on Brownville end and construction reached North Twin dam area; WPA workers were transported in a dump truck with a canopy which was removed during day for construction work.
The Millinocket Chamber of Commerce was very much involved in this project from start (1920’s) to finish (1948). Some local men involved were: Frank Speed, Jack Ward, GB Moran, Carl Stockwell, Frank Rush and Frank Bowler.
Also associated with the “Green Bridge” is the oft repeated story of “The White Lady” whose ghost has appeared to some since the 1950’s in the area of the bridge. The story tells of a young couple returning from their honeymoon driving down the Brownville Road. The car swerved off the road for unknown reasons and crashed. The husband told his wife to stay in the car while he went to look for help. When he returned, she was nowhere to be found. Later stories tell of her haunting the road and nearby bridge. Will she appear again after completion of the new bridge?