Skunk Hollow and Tin Can Alley

People now drive through what was Skunk Hollow to get to the Hillcrest Golf Course.

Skunk Hollow included the area now taken up by Stearns High School. A man named Arthur Russell had a farm where Skunk Hollow bordered the river, at the current site of the municipal pool. The football and baseball fields were once planted with Russell’s potatoes. Another farmer, by the name of Sutherland, raised pigs in Skunk Hollow.

Another street near the mill, running parallel and to the east of Penobscot Avenue, was Aroostook Avenue, which at first, was only one block long, extending from Cherry Street north to Birch Street. At first, this area was settled primarily by Greeks, but soon the Poles predominated. This part of town became known as a trouble spot, called Tin Can Alley.

Maine was known for its prohibition sentiments, and the Great Northern discouraged the use of alcohol, so Millinocket was for a long time a dry town. Still, Little Italy employed underground wine tunnels as a means of hiding contraband from authorities, and Tin Can Alley residents used a pipe into which all good liquor was poured, in the event of a raid, to be collected in a basement hideaway.

In time, Aroostook Avenue was extended the almost the full length of Penobscot Avenue, angling slightly west to intersect Penobscot, which itself angles gently to the east, just before Bowdoin Street.

The first religious services in Millinocket were conducted outdoors by the Reverend C.E. Young. The first church was the Union Chapel, which was first located on the corner of Cherry Street and Penobscot Avenue, but later moved to Spring Street and Aroostook Avenue, to become the Armory and, more recently, I-Care Ministries. This building was used for interdenominational church services, and served as the town’s first school for many years.

© Michelle Anderson 2005-2014