Keywords: Union River Power House
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Contributed by: Ellsworth Public Library
Date: circa 1920
Contributed by: Maine Historical Society
Date: circa 1930
Media: Photographic print
As early as 1633, entrepreneurs along the Piscataqua River in southern Maine utilized the force of the river to power a sawmill, recognizing the potential of the area's natural power sources, but it was not until the 1890s that technology made widespread electricity a reality -- and even then, consumers had to be urged to use it.
Paper has shaped Maine's economy, molded individual and community identities, and impacted the environment throughout Maine. When Hugh Chisholm opened the Otis Falls Pulp Company in Jay in 1888, the mill was one of the most modern paper-making facilities in the country, and was connected to national and global markets. For the next century, Maine was an international leader in the manufacture of pulp and paper.
Images taken by itinerant photographers for Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company, a real photo postcard company, provide a unique look at industry, commerce, recreation, tourism, and the communities of Washington County in the early decades of the twentieth century.
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The confluence of the Kenduskeag River with that of the Penobscot River beckoned development. Yet, it would be more than a hundred and fifty years…
Their houses, stores, and some of their relatives or friends died or were destroyed during the blizzard.
A long shaft running up the bank to the mill was connected to a waterwheel which supplied most of the power necessary.