The Paper Giant

Millinocket grew up as a paper mill town; and in fact, the Great Northern didn’t locate in Millinocket; the town rose up around the mill.

The first white man to take up residence in the area was not a millworker, but a farmer. Thomas Fowler came to the region in 1829, initially settling on the west side of the West Branch of the Penobscot River, below Grand Falls at the head of Shad Pond, bringing with him his grown children, who cleared land nearby.
Fowler and his family lived there until the late 1830s, having two more children. Adeline Fowler became the first white child to be born in the territory.

Ranging outward from Bangor, people were starting to settle along the Penobscot River. A settlement first known as Five Islands became the town of Winn. The town of Mattawamkeag sprung up at the point where the Mattawamkeag River joined the Penobscot.

An active settlement grew up where the East and West Branches of the Penobscot joined to form the main river, and this became the town of Medway. A tote road was built connecting the area that is now Millinocket with the town of Medway, as lumber operations were moving up the river and into the Katahdin region.

Perhaps because access to Grand Falls was difficult, Fowler abandoned his home and moved upstream about two miles, clearing land for a new farm along the banks of Millinocket Stream, in the area that was later to become the mill yards of the Great Northern Paper Company. This was sometime in the late 1830s.

© Michelle Anderson 2005-2014