The History of Pittston Farm
(Now Called Historic Pittston Farm)
The following history you are about to read has been compiled by Durward J. Ferland, Jr. Durward actually participated in the history himself by assisting in its transformation into a recreational facility as a High School student when he wrote the book "A History of Pittston farm" during the early 1990's as a senior in the local high school.
Great Northern Paper Company purchased the entire township of Pittston Academy Grant, including Pittston Farm, in 1906. They began building what is now the present farm 500 yards west of the old log buildings. Work on the new farm began in 1908 and had been completed by 1914, and included two, two-and-one-half story houses to accommodate employees and guests of the company. There were also three barns to hold 124 horses, a frost-proof vegetable house, a cannery, a slaughter house, an office, a water tower, a blacksmith shop, a boat house, a power house, a carriage house and a company storehouse.
The farm's annual production, from the time of completion until 1946, was 5,000 bushels of potatoes, 1,200 of oats, 15 bushels of carrots, 15 bushels of beets, 10 bushels of turnips, and 12 tons of hay. The cleared land for farning at this time was 100 acres. In 1948, Pittston Farm was no longer considered a working farm, and soon thereafter, all the fields were replanted with spruce. Pittston Farm remained a center of activity, excluding 1957 and 1958 when it was closed for a year due to an oversupply of pulpwood, until 1971, when the end of the log drives marked the end of its usefulness. From 1973 to 1991, Great Northern Paper Company allowed the Boy Scouts of America to use Pittston Farm for the summer months as the Seboomook base of their North Woods Adventure program.
History continued and written by owner Jennifer S. Mills as told by former Owners Ken and Mary Twitchell.
Ken Twitchell, a former florist owner from Oxford, ME was a "roving camp cook", for Great Northern Paper Company upon his arrival in the North Maine Woods in the late 1970's, early 1980's. When "the Northern" came to the end of their reign, buildings were in disrepair and they started dismantling the farms, five in all. Grant, Penobscot, Rice, Seboomook and then there was "Pittston Farm".
Ken became the night watchman here at Pittston Farm at the end of their ownership. He and his wife Sonja watched over this beautiful location, falling in love with the wilderness, wildlife and serenity here. Ken envisioned great times ahead for this location at the confluence of the North and South Branches of the historic Penobscot River and west end of Seboomook Lake. He attempted to purchase the buildings and land to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. He wanted to establish a place of "Respite for travelers" to come and rest a while, enjoy some great lumberjack home cooking and get a night's rest and experience "North Maine Woods hospitality". Finally, he and his wife Sonja purchased the buildings after 4 long years. The hard work of restoration began. With a lot of physical and moral support by many friends, neighbors, relatives and oh yes, Durwood Furland, Jr,. By 1997 people were coming to experience all Pittston Farm had to offer, great food, beautiful scenery, great fishing and hunting. The remoteness of this location was one of the charms for hundreds of people each year! Ken's wife Sonja passed away due to cancer January 1, 1995. A few years later Ken married Mary Lavigne, from Greenville.
Ken restored the top portion of the potato house into a chapel where he and Mary were married. We hold services Sunday at 10:30am May to December 25th and everyone is welcome! By 2003 they had purchased all 44 acres of land where Pittston Farm is located. Under Ken and Mary's watch in July 2000, 7 buildings and one agricultural field was placed on the National Historic Register.
In November of 2005 Pittston Farm received new caretakers, Bob and Jenny Mills from Windsor, Maine. It continues to be a family run operation featuring home-cooked foods and desserts, serving up great hospitality, lodging, birding, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hunting, camping, horseback riding, hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and just plain relaxing.
Since our arrival on scene we've improved much of our infrastructure. Our most recent remodeling project is our Copula on top of our museum. A beautiful new "Running Horse" graces the top, a replacement for another taken years ago and given as a retirement gift prior to the closure of Great Northern Paper Company.
We are extremely pleased about our new renewable wind and solar system which will be on line this spring and will assist us to go "Green" decreasing our operating cost 75-85% and putting us on the map as the First Ever in the North Maine Woods!
Bob and Jenny, our son Guy, his wife Jenn and our three grandchildren, Shawn, Cody, and Danielle all WELCOME you here and hope you take the time to enjoy this unique place surrounded by 329,000 acres of recreational opportunities with another 3.5 Million acres on woods in our back yard. So come and play, enjoy, relax and reflect, here in this unique location at the confluence of the North and South Branches of the Penobscot River and West end of Seboomook Lake. Our door is always open, open on in and make yourself at home!
There is NO other place like it in the state and perhaps the country! You may come as a stranger, but it is our hope you'll leave as a friend, at this legendary outpost in the North Maine Woods.