LIVERMORE FALLS — Managers of seven tourism centers of the Maine Tourism Association visited Maine’s Paper and Heritage Museum on Monday as part of a tour to promote tourism of featured attractions in Franklin and northern Androscoggin counties.
The group arrived in Farmington on Sunday and did walk, talk and shop in downtown Farmington, had dinner in Wilton and visited the Wilton Farm and Home Museum, Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce representative Bruce Adams said.
Merchants in Franklin County and northern Androscoggin County provided the services so the group could visit. Maine Tourism Association has an annual meeting at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, he said.
Greater Franklin Alliance organized the tour. The alliance “is an alliance of organizations and individuals representing organized communities and unorganized territories who are committed to preserving the past, promoting the present and building the future of Maine’s Western Mountains through education and awareness of the cultural, historic, natural and recreational attractions of greater Franklin County.”
As the managers walked through the museum, representatives of Maine’s Paper and Heritage Museum regaled them with stories of the paper industry, including logging tools, paper machines, Crash Road history and people who made it happen.
“This has never been done before,” Susan Atwood of the Alliance and Franklin County of Chamber of Commerce, said. “We are able to showcase all of Franklin County, which we cannot do, but we are doing our best.”
It is an opportunity to get people in Maine to understand there is more than just lobsters and light houses to visit, Atwood said.
Normand Paradis, a tour guide and member of the museum board of directors, could be heard talking about logging and how salt pork and beans was a regular meal at the logging camps.
Paradis then moved on to a miniature paper machine that was created by Daniel Patrie in 1976 and donated to the museum. It was a paper machine that had once been at S.D. Warren, Paradis said.
Museum Board of Directors President Sherry Judd pointed out interesting features in the “Early Industry Room,” including photos of papermakers working in bare feet because they only had one pair of good shoes and didn’t want to ruin them, she said.
“At one time, Otis Mill was the world’s largest manufacturer of wall paper,” she said. The paper mill closed in 2009. The area still has Verso Paper Corp.’s Androscoggin Paper Mill in Jay, which was formerly owned by International Paper.
The group moved on to the Heritage Room where Judd talked about the handwritten journals about technology. She took them through photos of immigrants who came from all over to help build the paper industry.
Heidi Dolomont manages a tourism center in Houlton.
She said managers were enjoying the tour and amenities the group was providing them. The tour was scheduled to continue to Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore, Skye Theater in Carthage among other places.