Film Chronicles Stories of Maine's Swedish Immigrants. Listen to the interview with Dan Olson and Brenda Jepson from MPBN radio 4/15/11
116 Station Road
PO Box 33
New Sweden, ME, 04762
Carolyn Hildebrand firstname.lastname@example.org
280 Main Street
Stockholm, ME 04783
John & Rosemary Hede
1149 New Sweden Rd.
Woodland, ME 04736
Welcome Välkommen Bienvenue
Stockholm, Maine, Tri-Cultural Community
The west half of T16-R3 (Stockholm) was surveyed for settlers in 1879, again in 1883 when it was sold to the Burleigh heirs by the Samuel Hersey Estate for $3995.80, and again in 1915, when a Plan was drawn showing lot owners. Settlement of the wooded lots destined to become farms began in 1881 but deeds passed much later (1898).
Jons Sodergren came from Undersåker, Sweden in 1879 via Trondhjem, Hull, Liverpool, Ireland, New York, Providence, Boston, Woodstock, Caribou, New Sweden Capitolium, Noak Larsson's, and to New Jemtland, where he and his wife and youngest son Peter settled on the North Jemtland Road near the Stockholm border. With the Pastor's help they sent a ticket for daughter Brita. When she arrived she had a husband, Alfred Swenson. They settled on lot #2 which Peter had reserved, the first farm in Stockholm. Other early settlers on that road (now Main Street) were Johannes Anderson, Johan Nilsson Lind, A. Fred Anderson, Frederick Peterson, Fred Berquist, Alfred Tall, John Tall, Lars Erick Anderson, and Hedeens; on the "Sugar Heights" road (now Route 161), were Paul Sodergren, Nels Edlund, Nels Wik, and John J. Sodergren.
Beginning about 1890 people began wading or using a log or simple bridge
(which often washed out) or ferry-raft to cross the river and settle in
the area they called Upsala on the north side of Madawaska Stream. These
included Fred Palm, Olaf Swenson, Olaf Sodergren, Thure Larson, Swen Lind,
Anders Gunnerson, Victor Palm, Carl G. Pearson. Later: Fred Hjelm, Carl
Sandstrom, Fred Berquist, John Sjogren, Olof Simonson, "Little" John Anderson.
In 1890 the population was 66. In 1900, it was 191, with some railroad
workers to supplement the Swedish farmers. In 1898 work began on the Bangor
and Aroostook Railroad through Stockholm to Van Buren and the iron bridge
was built. By the end of 1899 a flag station was completed and a mixed
freight and passenger run started. Thereafter, the mail was carried by
train rather than by stage as before, thus ending a colorful era in Aroostook
In 1900-01 a dam and long lumber mill was erected by
was surveyed for settlers in 1879, again in 1883 when it was sold to the
Burleigh heirs by the Samuel Hersey Estate for $3995.80, and again in 1915, when a Plan was drawn showing lot owners. Settlement of the wooded lots destined to become farms began in 1881 but deeds passed much later (1898).
Jons Sodergren came from Undersåker,Sweden in 1879 via Trondhjem,
Hull, Liverpool, Ireland, New York, Providence, Boston, Woodstock, Caribou,
New Sweden Capitolium, Noak Larsson's, and to New Jemtland, where
he and his wife and youngest son Peter settled on the North Jemtland Road
near the Stockholm border. With the Pastor's help they sent a ticket for
daughter Brita. When she arrived she had a husband, Alfred Swenson. They
settled on lot #2 which Peter had reserved, the first farm in Stockholm.
Other early settlers on that road (now Main Street) were Johannes Anderson,
Perry and Yerxa. It was later sold to Charles and Carl Milliken (later a Governor of Maine), who operated as The Stockholm Lumber Company. The company also built a large boarding house, a store, twelve houses on Red Row for their workers' families, a stable and two barns. By 1902 they had 150 men working with a daily output of 50,000 shingles and 15,000 other lumber. There were many crews working in the woods in the winter. Yerxa also built a set of sporting camps at Square Lake. The first permanent bridge of wood with rock piers was also built in 1900, as was the road jokingly called Fåfanga ("vanity, foolish"), now Lake Road, paralleling the river from town to the Fort Kent Road. This was later used as a stage route to Guerrette.
The First Store
In November 1900 Lewis and John Anderson came to Stockholm from Jemtland, where Lewis had worked in Jacob Hedman's store. They had earlier worked in Brownville with their brother Andrew and several other Swedes. Now they built the first store in Stockholm, a 20x20 1 1/2 story building, and opened the general store in 1901. (In 2001 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.) In 1888 a new Post Office had been established in Jemtland, and in 1901 one was established in Stockholm, with Lewis Anderson as Postmaster. In 1905 Olof Anderson began delivering mail on the new 23 mile free delivery route from New Sweden to about 120 houses.
Stockholm also became the name of the Plantation that was organized in 1895, although the north side of town was still called Upsala and was so listed on the early railroad timetables. Stockholm became a Town in 1911.
In 1896 Stockholm's first school was built on the Berquist farm and was thus called the Berquist School. (The building has since been converted to a home and moved to north Jemtland). Several Stockholm schools have been built since then, one halfway up Lind Hill, one above the Lutheran Church, the primary-grades Brown School, and the big High School, but all have burned except for the current consolidated school on the High School site. Several other buildings have been used as temporary schools and for school lunches, including the Lutheran Church basement, the Merrill House, and the Company Store. The First Baptist Church was organized in 1904, the Lutheran Church in 1906, St.Theresa's Catholic Church largely built and the first mass held there in 1928 (Father Cremillon from France), but services for these and other persuasions were held somewhat earlier.
In 1902, having retired from farming in New Sweden, Alfred Anderson built a large two-family home and rooming house at the corner of Main and Lake Streets, his daughter Lillie and husband Lewis Anderson to occupy one apartment.
The Veneer Company
Also in 1902, the Standard Veneer Co. (Warren Trafton and Allen Quimby)
purchased 20 acres of lot #36 from the Burleighs. By the middle of 1904,
they were shipping two cars of product each week. The company also ran
a starch factory from 1904 to 1909, when it was converted to the Standard
Box Company which made cleated plywood boxes for phonograph companies.
Trafton and Quimby in 1906 were the officers of the new Winterville Veneer
Company, which was dismantled in 1910 and re-erected in Stockholm, with
the companies merged to become the Allen Quimby Company. The mill burned
February 1912 but was quickly rebuilt. Another plant was built in the early
1920's to make clothespins, peavey and pick-pole handles, whiffle-trees,
snowshoes and perforated chair seats. It was later converted to a long
lumber mill. The Veneer company also had its own store and the Veneer Hall,
which was used for movies and dances and meetings and church services.
In 1905, Lewis Whitten held the record for hauling the largest load (11
tons) of birch logs 6 miles to the mill with one pair of horses! Nevertheless,
the next year, the new steam log hauler made its first trip to the woods,
followed by many more!
Stockholm was beginning to boom! The population grew to 715 in 1910, 1038 in 1920, and 1101 in 1930, with a peak of about 1300 around 1925. At the peak of Stockholm's industrial development it was estimated that 330 men and women were employed. Many of these new people were French or English from the St. John Valley, eastern Canada, or southern Maine. The language and customs of three countriesSweden, France and Englandwere subsequently all absorbed into the community.
About 1912 Nate Kline operated a clothing store, sold before 1916 to Arthur Peterson (who, among other wares, sold one-button union suits). At various times, Bert Drake, W.W Ketchum and J.P. Ellis had barber shops and sold cigars, and Ellis had a pool room. B.P. Roy sold meat on Lake St. and advertised that he had the "Best Market In Town". Peter Carlstrom had started a combination variety store, pool hall, wired-pin bowling alley, and also cut hair; S.W. Coates had a restaurant upstairs. John Anderson built himself an electric plant to supply his store, his home, the Lutheran Church and a few other locations. The Standard Veneer Company also had a plant to supply their buildings, and soon much of the downtown had electricity (as well as street lights!) The White Mountain Phone Company had initiated service in town in 1904. The large Merrill House operated as a hotel, restaurant, general store, post office, Morgan's Furniture Store (1924), and residence until torn down in the 1940's. Nick Wessell bought the Fred Palm house and operated their home as an Inn (with rooms and/or meals), and they later opened their own grocery store opposite John Anderson's.
During the boom years, there were many other businessmen and stores,
including a slaughter house, stables, blacksmith shops, garages, hat shops,
an ice cream parlor, and even a few bootleggers.
It wasn't until 1924 that a fine concrete bridge was built over the river
to replace the wooden one washed out in the flood of 1923. By then, wooden
sidewalks had been installed throughout most of the downtown area, to be
replaced by gravel walks. In the early 1920's the Odd Fellows built a large
Hall and operated it for ten years. They then turned it over to the Eureka
Club (later to Albert Leo Anderson), and the building at various times
housed a movie theater-hall-basketball court, bowling alley, pool hall,
barber shop, variety store, town jail, and town office. (Later, the top
floor was removed and one end converted to a residence. Then the building
was vacant for several years, and eventually restored in 1998 for use as
The Eureka Hall Restaurant).
In 1919, the Town voted to have a grade C high school. In August when the boys returned from World War One, the townspeople gave them a big banquet. In 1920 the former Stockholm Lumber Co. became the Standard Supply Co. In 1922 the Stockholm Band was organized. In 1925 Stockholm had a huge fourth of July Celebration, an earthquake, the local American Legion Post was organized,
Quimby sold out to the Atlas Plywood Co., Dr. Theriault was living and
practicing in town, potatoes were 40¢ a barrel on 3/20 and $6.00 on
11/2. In 1930 the Odd Fellows Hall put in the first "talkies" movie machine.
The train station-passport to the outside world.
The "drought" and the salesmen. In 1905 the local paper reported
that a local citizen was arrested for selling liquor, his liquor was seized,
and "it goes without saying that a drought has come upon the village of
Stockholm." It was also reported that the steel range salesmen have struck
Stockholm, consisting of a pair of long-eared mules and two smooth-tongued
school purposes. The Collins Mill also burned after five years of operation,
but rebuilt and started up again. And there was a big forest fire over
by the rock cut. Town affairs were taken over by the State and Bion Jose
was made Commissioner.
In January 1940 a Lutheran/Baptist sponsored Boy Scout Troop was organized,
and in May a separate Catholic Troop. John Anderson's store became an IGA,
the Company store was remodeled into a school, and the former Wessell store
became the Post Office. In April Germany invaded Norway (after they had
split Poland with Russia), and by June they were in Paris. There was a
nationwide registration for the peacetime draft. Several local men went
to the city to work. In 1941 the NYA project was working on the Merrill
House and the Company store. Some local boys who had been in the CCC joined
the Army. Local carpenters were employed on a rush job at Presque Isle
Army Air Base (used to ferry bombers to Britain). On December 7, Japan
attacked Pearl Harbor and we were in World War Two.
WW II essentially ended the Depression as people went off to join the military
or to work in wartime industries, and farming again became profitable for
those who remained. Food Ration Books were distributed to try to fairly
apportion the limited supplies available. No new cars were available until
after the war. In October 1942 the local Lutheran Parish (Stockholm and
New Sweden) began sending a series of 44 newsletters to all the service
people and others from this area. Copies are kept in the Museum. The fire
tower was manned 24 hours a day on three 8-hour shifts for fire warning
and plane spotters. In 1943 the Hobart Store and the Standard Supply buildings
were sold by sealed bid for use as potato houses. A successful iron scrap
drive was conducted. The Service Honor Roll was dedicated. In 1944 there
was a lot of coming and going by servicemen and others, and a lot of property
changing hands. State control of the town ended, a 5-man Council was elected,
and it appointed Agnes Baxter as Town Manager. In 1945, Ger
But the BOOM in Stockholm was over! Timber was becoming scarcer and by
the end of 1931 the entire Atlas Plywood Mill was shut down and many of
their houses were sold, mostly to employees. The Antworth saw mill was
sawing custom lumber on a smaller scale. In 1933 the Standard Supply store
and goods were sold to G.G. Wakem of Caribou. The farmer's depression had
started earlier (potatoes were down to 45¢/barrel in 1932, 15¢
in 1934) and the stock market crashed in 1929. Now nearly everyone was
caught in the Great Depression. There were no jobs. In the 1932 Presidential
Election 287 people cast 1432 ballots for 5 Electors. President Roosevelt
took office in March, 1933, and announced that all banks in 36 states would
be closed. The town drastically cut appropriations and empowered the selectmen
to borrow all sums possible through the Reconstruction Finance Corp. (for
the poor and work relief). Also, the Post Office was settled into the Baxter
Store building. C.W.A.(before P.W.A. and W.P.A.) work started up. In 1934
work started under E.R.A. The government shipped 1456 cars of potatoes
out of (Caribou) area for relief purposes. In 1935 Tony Disy bought the
old veneer mill and it was rapidly demolished. In 1936 Stockholm had a
big spring flood and nearly lost Eric Sandstrom (Ernest Ek poetically immortalized
the event.) WWI vets received bonus bonds, but there was a big lay-off
at the Quoddy Project where several locals worked. The town started the
Stockholm Cemetery Association and voted money to tar roads (with state-aid).
1936 saw the first Stockholm Winter Carnival (continuous since). In 1937 Albert Anderson bought Eureka Hall. In 1938 the former Baxter store was remodeled and opened by George Fogelin. In January 1939 the North Main Street School burned and the Merrill House was fixed up for
many and later Japan surrendered and servicemen began coming home, stayed
awhile, but then many moved on to greener pastures. By 1947 there was an
oversupply of potatoes and farmers were hauling them to the dump (in 1951
the government paid farmers to again dump their potatoes). In 1948 the
American Legion was re-activated and a new Legion Hall was built. In 1950
the Korean War started and more men went into the service. Loring Airbase
at Limestone was built, and the pea vinery was working in this area in
the early 1950's, providing work. The Aroostook Brigade Lodge was built
in the late 1960's.
In 1971 Stockholm celebrated its 90th anniversary with a memorable 3-day affair. The Stockholm Historical Society was formed in 1975; the Museum was opened and the American Bicentennial was celebrated in 1976. In 1980-81 New Sweden and Stockholm jointly sponsored a Tri-Cultural Continuity (TCC) project supported by the Maine Council for the Humanities. Stockholm's population had fallen to 891 in 1940 and fell further to 641 in 1950, 649 in 1960, 388 in 1970, 319 in 1980, 286 in 1990 and 271 in 2000. But every year hundreds and thousands come back to the old home town to show their loyalty and to re-invigorate their souls. This was especially evident during Stockholm's giant 1981 nine day Centennial Celebration, with the dedication of the Museum, a grand parade, a Centennial Pageant, a Band Concert, and a Tri-Cultural Day.