If you follow our comings and goings at Brant & Cochran, you may have seen pictures of us up at the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum every May and August. We love being invited to participate in two of the museum’s signature events: The Fiddlers and Fiddleheads Festival the third week of May and the Bean Hole Dinner the second Saturday in August.
Opened in 1963, the museum transports visitors back to the glory days of the lumber industry in Maine.
There are nine buildings on the museum campus to explore. The reception center contains a library showing films (including our favorite From Stump to Ship made in the 1930’s) and numerous pictures of logging and life in Maine lumber camps. The museum also maintains a very large on-line photo gallery.
Once you walk out of the reception center you can visit a working blacksmith shop, the Mt. Chase fire tower equipment shed, and a single 1820’s camp (shown below) and double camp complete with “dingle” (look it up!). These two structures provide a real “insider” view of what life was like for loggers in a remote, cold winter camp.
There is also an impressive (to us of course) collection of axes and other vintage logging tools on display.
It was from one of these walls that we borrowed an axe to make the pattern for our new Allagash Cruiser Maine wedge camp axe.
New to the museum is an enclosure to display the museum’s steam powered Lombard log hauler – one of only 83 manufactured in Waterville between 1901 and 1917. These machines were the first tracked vehicles ever commercially produced and are precursors to today's bulldozers and tanks.
Just last month the museum added the Kennebec to its collection. The Kennebec is a tug boat built in 1956 and used to tow logs from lakes in Western Maine to coastal mills until her final log drive in 1976.
After visiting the museum, check out the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The park’s north entrance is just down the road from the museum.
Your favorite axe makers will be on hand for the museum’s bean hole dinner on August 11. For information on the dinner and the museum visit its website.
We hope that you get the opportunity to visit the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum. Of course, you can also support the mission of the museum by joining us as members here.
See you in Patten!