Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 30, 2021 and Island Ad-Vantages, September 30, 2021 and The Weekly Packet, September 30, 2021
Paper mill museum group seeks ‘founders’
The Bucksport Paper Mill Museum Working Group, a subcommittee of the Bucksport Historical Society, has announced the establishment of a Founders Union to recognize donors from Labor Day 2021 to Labor Day 2022, according to a press release. Contributors of any amount by groups or individuals and in honor and memory of will be listed and displayed into the future as being instrumental in founding the paper mill museum in Bucksport, an effort begun the day the mill closed in 2014.
The history of the former paper mill in Bucksport includes the history of surrounding towns, from which the work force was drawn. Mill archives abound with stories of families along Blue Hill, Castine and Penobscot roads heading to work shifts at the mill in Bucksport, most walking in the early days, in all weather. Those with trucks picked up and dropped off fellow crew members along the way, even in famous blizzards during life or death conditions.
Pat Smith Ranzoni, of Bucksport, granddaughter of Duncan and Hattie Dunbar of Meadow Farm (Dunc’s Meadow) in North Castine, lived this history. Her uncles, George and Bennett Dunbar, worked at the mill at different times along with her father, neighbors and classmates. With others, Ranzoni has been gathering evidence of this life since the closing of the mill in 2014.
Collected memories of workers walking to the mill comprise the community anthology, Still Mill: Poems, Stories & Songs of Making Paper in Bucksport, Maine 1930–2014, for which Ranzoni obtained a University of Maine Foundation grant toward publication by North Country Press in 2017. The anthology documents how the people from surrounding towns made up a substantial portion of the paper mill work force through the years. Donated to the Bucksport Historical Society, royalties from the book form the foundation of a museum in progress, as mill artifacts continue to be donated and protected at Wardwell’s WeStore in Orland while a building is being secured. “
Funds are needed to secure, insure and prepare a building to house artifacts being contributed and protected temporarily. Volunteers, fourth-generation mill worker Ryan Pickoski and long time mill veteran Marie Roy are curating and clerking the collection under the initial instruction of Julia Gray of Riverside Museum Solutions, newly named Director of the Wilson Museum in Castine.
Donors will receive keepsake certificates designed by Bucksport artist and businessman, Larry Wahl, recognizing their role as founders of the paper mill museum.
Donations may be sent to the Still Mill Museum Fund. c/o Joan Austin, Treasurer, Bucksport Historical Society, P.O. Box 798, Bucksport, 04416.