Millinocket, Maine

Discussion in 'Places I Have Lived' started by Ken Anderson, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Despite a few problems, Millinocket is not a bad place to live. The town was formed as a mill town in the late 1800s. Before the mill, there were only a couple of farms here. We have the Penobscot River and Millinocket Stream, and Millinocket is the town that hikers first see after completing their through-hike of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. We have Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. It is a beautiful area.

    Once the largest pulp and paper mill in the world, Great Northern Paper closed its mill in Millinocket, after several changes in ownership, about ten years ago. At its height, it employed a few thousand workers, and was nearly the only employer in town. Under new owners, it briefly reopened a couple of years later, but ran only one machine, employing just over a hundred people.

    Without the mill, people who are dependent on a weekly paycheck have to commute seventy miles or more, each way, in order to find work. Once the second wealthiest town in Maine, nearly the entire population found themselves unemployed, underemployed, or driving long distances for work. Keep in mind that every other business in town was also dependent upon the mill, in one way or another.

    There are for sale signs all over town, and several home owners have simply abandoned their houses. A friend of ours recently bought a perfectly livable home for $600 after the town had taken it for non-payment of taxes. Although there are still high-end houses carrying prices of $200,000 or more, it is not at all unusual for houses to sell for $20,000 or less.

    We bought our house in 2000. The mill had just laid off 700 people, and hadn't hired anyone new since the 1970s, but it hadn't closed yet. At the time, our house was a three-unit apartment building, and the asking price was $36,000. We had $25,000 in cash so that sounded good, considering that we could easily quality for a mortgage by putting $25,000 down.

    When I called the realtor, she said that the price had been lowered to $25,000. Great, we could pay for it in cash, with no mortgage necessary. We were in Texas though and, although we had just visited Maine, we hadn't looked at that particular house. I paid $500 to an assessor, who took photos of the interior and exterior of the house, including the crawlspace.

    He said that it was structurally sound, but that it required a lot of aesthetic work. There were holes in the walls, and a couple of the interior doors, etc.

    When we called the realtor back, she said that the price had been lowered to $15,000. Great, we'll buy it. Then she asked what we had paid the assessor, since she was the one who had let him in. That $500 was deducted from the selling price, and we bought it for $14,500.

    Except for the snow, and having to drive 70 miles to Bangor in order to find a department store, Millinocket is a pretty nice place to live. Since we have both DSL and cable Internet services, someone (like us) who is earning their living online (or on a retirement income) can do quite well.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Throughout the history of Millinocket, there has been a horn on top of the fire department which has been blasted at 9:00 pm each night, as well as a code of blasts that would signify fire department call-outs. Knowing the code, anyone could tell what type of a fire call it was and which part of town it was in.

    A week ago, someone who had moved here from somewhere else complained to the fire department that the horn annoyed her. Our new fire chief, who is also the police chief, isn't from here either. Because the fire department has other means of communication now, and no longer needs the horn code in order to know the locations of its calls, and because the town no longer has a 9:00 p.m. curfew, and hasn't for quite a few years, the chief suggested to the town manager that the horn be retired, and he assented.

    People are furious. Someone organized townspeople who have met at 8:30 every night for the past five days and, with more than a hundred cars and some tractor-trailer rigs included, a procession of vehicles has gone through town at 8:30, blasting their horns, including some air horns that people have brought. The procession include middle school children on bicycles, motorcycles, and every type of vehicles, as well as people as old as ninety-one, After parading through several city streets, everyone meets at a car lot near the fire station, whose owner has granted permission and, at 9:00 p.m., everyone blasts their horns for a minute.

    It has been fun, actually, and they intend to keep it up at least until the next town council meeting on Thursday night, where they hope to have the horn reinstated. As someone told the news media, it's not so much about the horn as it is about their traditions that are being taken away, and with no input from those who have lived here for generations.
     
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  3. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    That sort of thing has been has been happening a lot in recent years, People raised in the city decide it would be nice to move to the country. Then they complain because the neighbors rooster wakes them up too early. The other neighbor's cattle stink, tractors on the road go too slow, etcetera. .
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    As a follow up, we won the issue on the horn. I just came from the town council meeting, which had to be held in the school auditorium because there wasn't room for everyone in the council chambers. The town council chairman was the only one who voted against us in the end. One councilman who was against us resigned effective immediately. Although another councilman was leaning against us, and a third one was originally against us, only one voted against us in the end, and the council chairman isn't running again after his term is up. The auditorium was pretty full, and all of the Maine television stations, Maine Public Radio, and a couple of newspaper reporters were there. Absolutely no one spoke against us from the public side. If there were some there who were inclined to do so, I don't think they wanted to do so publicly. So it went our way 5/1.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Here's a news article about the horn vote. That's my wife in the purple/pinkish top, waiting for her turn to speak. You can see my left arm in the photo, but I am otherwise blocked by the Maine Public Radio reporter who is adjusting the microphone.

    Bangor Daily News Article
     
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
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  7. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Gee, what a story about the traditional daily sounding of the horn. We used to live in my husband's ancestral home in Mandaluyong City where the city hall would sound the horn every 8 in the morning, 12 noon and 5 pm. The sound lasts for 30 seconds (or 1 minute maybe). Like in Millinocket, that horn has also become a tradition there.

    Your property with a selling price of $36,000 which reduced down to $14,500 is reminiscent of our house. The original asking price was 3 million but after a year - that's the time we had seen the poster by the village's gate - the owner reduced the selling price to 2 million pesos. But since our budget was only 1.2 million, I had to haggle with the priced until the owner agreed to a 1.6 million price. Since it looked as a clear bargain, we grabbed it and approached people to raise 400k in cash.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Here are a few videos that people have done that show parts of Millinocket, Maine.


    Interestingly narrated in Spanish, since we have no native Spanish speakers living in Millinocket, this video is a nice tour of the street leading into Millinocket, as well as our downtown district, traveling two of our three main street, then turning up some of our minor streets, then heading back out the way they came in, and ending at the hotel where they were presumably staying.


    Here's another, more thorough, tour of Millinocket, this one from a motorcycle, made by someone who is from here, thus including places that visitors never find. This one shows my house, but he meets a logging truck just as my house is shown on the left.


    This is a short news story on our horn protests of a couple of months ago.
     
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  9. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Well , I be dern.. another Mainiac,, LOL.. My hubby is from Maine and we lived there for 25yrs. lived in Augusta first then hubby's new job caused us to move near Rockland, He worked for the city.... Then 21/2 yrs ago we retired and moved here to Tn.. no way could be afford to live in Maine, Tn. is going to be the new Florida some day I believe.. the cost of living is so affordable. but in truth, I miss Maine a lot. we lived very near Rockland harbor and I miss the ocean and of course the lobster and all the fresh seafood.. We use to get the lobsters right from the lobstermen when they came back from empting their traps..
    We have been to Millinockett and saw when that Logging family , forgot their name now,, (getting old and losing my memory. lol)was making their TV series there and we went to their restaurant. really nice and served excellent food, but I guess that is gone now too? still have pictures of it all somewhere,,

    Gosh, I just got a notice that I have one new alert ,,what the heck does that mean ?,, I better get out of here..!
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    That would be the Pelletiers, who were on the American Loggers show. Their restaurant just closed a couple of months ago. I live less than two blocks from there.
     
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  11. Ken N Louis

    Ken N Louis Well-Known Member
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    th.jpg
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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  13. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Ken, its always so pretty the first snow fall, isn't it? .. but im sure your not looking to the rest of the winter or are you? do you ski, snowshoe or ice fish or snowmobile maybe?
    For me growing up in the far northern part of Illinois for 30+ years then living in Maine for 20+ years. i've had enough of the snow and single digit temps..... we do get some light snow here in Tn. but its always gone by noon time. if we lived in eastern part of Tn., then we would see just as much snow as you .. so for me I'm glad we chose to live on the very western end of Tn.. but in truth, I do miss the sights of the beautiful fresh snow and having a fire going in our wood stove....
    Beautiful pictures, and I do enjoy seeing them....Looking forward to more as the snow keep flying,,lol..
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I hope to get a snowmobile soon, but I don't have one yet. I have some land in northern Maine that I can't get to during the winter without snowshoeing in or snowmobiling in. I do have snowshoes but there is a lot of painful exertion required to snowshoe four miles there and back. Other than walking or snowshoeing into my land a couple of times in the winter, I don't do a lot with it other than shovel it out of my driveway.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    In case you're interested, here's a video of the paper making operations in the Great Northern mill in East Millinocket, a few miles from here. With mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket, Great Northern was once the largest paper and pulp mill in the world, but both mills are now closed. Millinocket's mill has been dismantled and East Millinocket's mill was just sold to a company that does scrap salvage. The word is that they are trying to sell it to someone interested in paper making but I doubt that'll happen. More likely, they're fishing for some grant money before scrapping it.

    Anyhow, this video shows the paper making process, from start to finish.

     
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  16. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Very Well-Known Member
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    Your story about the horn reminded me of the old sash and door plant that once operated 2 blocks from where we lived when I was a wee snot. It had a steam powered whistle that sounded at noon and again an hour later, to signal the end of the lunch hour. A lot of my family members worked there, both before and after WW2.
    The whistle was discontinued in later years. The plant is long gone now.
     
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  17. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Sad to see a lot of the old mills and plants close down just like your sash and door plant too, Ike.. my inlaws worked at a Mill in Biddeford, Maine for years. it was called the Pepprell (sp)plant.. they made sheets and pillow cases.. and that has now turned into a small mall.. My hubby use to work at a small paper mill in Augusta , Me.. called Statler Tissue they use to make paper towels ..was there for many years then it folded up too,,

    Albeit said, there is a huge pulp mill here in the western end of Tn..right on the Tn. River.. sometimes if the wind is just right,we can get a slight whiff of that nauseous odor ! PeeUeeee!! lol..and we live about 30 miles from that plant..

    Loved your video too , Ken..
     
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  18. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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  19. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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  20. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Ayuh!! , bout time you guys got some white stuff.:D I hate dirty snow though. It's always pretty , that first snow fall and it covers every thing,
    Looks like the road crew was right on top of the plowing too.. don't you just love those big snow drifts they leave at the end of your drive way? :mad:

    We use to live on a rural road and every now and then , the snowplower would knock down our mail box.. was so frustrating! If the drifts were high enough we just shoved our mailbox in the drift til hubby could get the pole fixed again,, We even use to try to flag our box too so they could see it but if its a real blizzard then we understand how their vision would not be so good at that time..But, any who , those days are over for us now..
    Enjoyed the picture, Ken, thanks for sharing,,, im sure there will be more snow coming your way in the future .. and maybe some more pics for us to see too?
    Also. be so very careful of ice under snow.. I have taken a few flips in the air myself .. and its not fun..o_O
     
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  21. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    Here is a few of my throwback pix for you Ken when we lived in Rockland.

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    And Chickawakee Lake where some people were skating..

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    And this old brave sole who would run every winter with only wearing his shorts,,he did wear gloves tho....lol Look how red his back is ,its so cold.. and he always ran with a large rock in each hand too..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  22. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Fab pictures Tiny....but My goodness...brrrrr!! what's with the semi nude guy in the snow.....?

    My husband's grandmother lived in Montreal, and when he was a child he was sent all by himself on a flight from the uk to stay with his grandmother for several weeks of the year, and she would always take him on vacation to Maine. Unfortunately he can't remember which part of Maine, last time he visited he was just a young teen...but he remembers the trips well .. :D..
     
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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  23. Louise Williams

    Louise Williams Veteran Member
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    That man is a runner and was well known to everyone in the Rockland area..was even a write up in the paper about him once.... Im guessing he's still running,lol...
    So your hubby is French as well ? my hubs parents and his grandmother were from Canada, he speaks some French but only enough to get by on..
     
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  24. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    NO Not at all.:D.my husband is English born and bred, as was his paternal grandmother, but in her middle age after her son, ( my o/h's father, married) she left the UK for a whole new life in Canada!!
     
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  25. Paul Sparky

    Paul Sparky Veteran Member
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    Great pictures Tiny Louise. Not had any snow here yet but, when it arrives, I'm wondering whether to try that 'snow running'. :eek::D
     
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