Population Deflates

Ash and River Streets were constructed near the spot on Central Street where the town dump used to be, offering more house lots to hungry homebuyers.

The Granite Street School opened in the fall of 1955 as a ten-room elementary school. More classrooms and a library were later added.

The Millinocket Junior High School was built in 1963, at its current location just beyond the State Street Bridge. It was later added to, and now includes Stearns High School, after the building on Katahdin and Central was closed.

Not much new has been built since the 1970s, when the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church built its new building, and for a couple of reasons, as far as I can determine.

Today, the population of Millinocket has declined for a peak of nearly eight thousand people in 1970, most of whom were gainfully employed, to fewer than five thousand today, many of whom are receiving public assistance or struggling desperately to get by.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the decline of the “Magic City” without talking about the pulp and paper mill that built it, but that is a subject that wouldn’t fit onto the number of pages that I have available to me, and would likely be contradicted by every other person who read it.

For one thing, the fate of the town has always been inextricably linked to the pulp and paper mill that built it, so that when the mill wasn’t hiring, there were no reasons for new people to come to Millinocket. When the mill way laying off, there were no alternatives for furloughed employees, other than to move.

There was nothing else here, and Millinocket is too far from everywhere else for people to commute.

© Michelle Anderson 2005-2014