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West of Chesuncook...New Book

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum

In the 1800’s one area for Maine logging was near Chesuncook Lake. A dam built at the lake in 1840 was important to the logging in that area. Bill Geller, author and historian, has completed his second book in a series about the log driving and sporting camps along the West Branch of the Penobscot River.

West of Chesuncook & North of Moosehead: Log Drives & Sporting Camps, 1830-1971 is the title of book two. This follows Within Katahdin’s Realm: Log Drives and Sporting Camps published in 2018 that detailed the history of the log drives east of Chesuncook from Ripogenus Dam to Nicatou Island at Medway on the Penobscot River. The next planned book will center on Chesuncook Lake (north) and the geographical area that connects books one and two.

Geller puts a great deal of research into his books, visiting area libraries and museums, talking with numerous former woodsmen, mill workers, log haulers and others who have knowledge of the area and the work that took place in the Maine woods. Geller himself has a life-long acquaintance with the areas he writes about, having walked, canoed, snowshoed and otherwise explored the areas in his books.

Geller began visiting the Millinocket Historical Society museum for research several years ago when it was located in the Millinocket Municipal building. Since then, he has made several visits to the museum on Central Street where he has gathered information from Great Northern and Penobscot Log Driving Company ledgers and maps in the museum’s collection. The museum is fortunate to have such important original items in the collection…thanks to many donors through the years.

A peek at the table of contents of this new book shows these sections: Early Activity west of Chesuncook Lake, West from Chesuncook Lake and logging on the Main Branch, Toting from Kineo Station, Jackman and Quebec into the South and North branches, South Branch and its tributaries, North Branch and its tributaries and Sugar Camps, Sporting Camps and Other Abodes.

It’s a large book (8 ½” x 11”) with 290 pages and includes 19 maps and drawings and 389 black and white photos.

Due to the generosity of the author, copies of both books (West of Chesuncook & North of Moosehead: Log Drives & Sporting Camps, 1830-1971) and also Geller’s first one (Within Katahdin’s Realm) are only available for purchase through the museum (80 Central St., Millinocket) or by mail at Millinocket Historical Society, PO Box 11, Millinocket, ME 04462 or contact us through Facebook or our website. Cost is $30 per copy plus $5 each SH.

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