This image is from a 1892 bird’s-eye-view map of Skowhegan Falls. Submitted photo

Looking down Dodge Street. Hunters with their catch on a Concord Wagon, circa 1907. Subitted photo

In celebration of Skowhegan’s bicentennial, local historian Melvin Burnham plans to lead a history walk at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at Skowhegan Falls.

This history walk — which begins at the Benedict Arnold Park behind the Federated Church on Island Avenue, Skowhegan — offers participants in-depth information with vintage images that illustrate what role Skowhegan Island and Skowhegan Falls played in the development of industry and culture on the Kennebec River during the 19th century.

Looking up the Power Channel. Submitted photo

Participants can learn what it was like to live and work in this era; how the power of moving water can shape the destiny of a community.

This island once could only be accessed by rowboat, canoe or bateaux. Native Americans used it for fishing, resting, growing crops and gathering mineral resources for their weapons. Now thousands of vehicles cross this 12-acre island every day.

The old Spinning Mill, built in 1922, is being repurposed as housing units, a hotel and a brewery. If the conditions are right, tour participants will be offered a chance to look inside this project to see how an historic structure can be reconstructed and continue to serve the community.

Many of the photos shared in this walk originated from the H. A. Wyman Collection assembled by Roland Taylor Patten (1864-1913), an early editor/owner of the Independent-Reporter and avid cyclist.


Prior to his involvement in the Independent-Reporter, photos used in the paper were discarded after use. Patten, realizing their value, decided to save them and over the years collected numerous photos depicting early Skowhegan history. Upon selling his interest in the newspaper and moving away, Mr. Patten secured funds from H. A. Wyman to assemble his image collection in binders and labeled each with valuable information.

The Wyman Collection is now housed at the Skowhegan History House Museum & Research Center.

The 90-minute walk will be tailored to participants’ needs and interests. Participants can bring and use lightweight folding chairs for their comfort and use their cameras along the way.

For more information, contact Burnham at 207-474-1083 or

Ice going over Skowhegan Falls. Submitted photo

Check out other upcoming area events!

filed under: