Central Maine Power Collection
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Credit: Central Maine Power Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Supervisor checks work at a CMP power transmission station, 1930's.
Credit: Central Maine Power Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Creating a penstock at a power station, ca. 1945.
Primary Format and Extent
film (3,200 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. print.
Secondary Format and Extent
film (1,600 ft.) : si., b&w and col. ; 16 mm. reversal pos.
Collection Date Range
1920 - 1938
Summary
The Central Maine Power Collection contains 16 reels of 35 mm. film and 22 reels of 16 mm. film shot between 1920 and 1938 by the Central Maine Power Company and Everett H. (E.H.) Maxcy. E.H. Maxcy’s home movies depict vacation scenes, swimming, fishing, camping, an eclipse, and a flood in March of 1936. Maxcy films also offer views of community life and camps at Moosehead Lake, Maine, and shots of the Bucksport, Maine, paper mill and Wyman Dam in Bingham, Maine.

Central Maine Power footage depicts various activities related to the power company including company barbecues featuring shots of the CMP Co. Band. Footage shows construction of the Bucksport Mill, dedication of the Wyman Station, and views of Daggetville, the town created for Wyman Dam workers. Collection also contains sponsored films including "The Transportation Problem" (1923), a short General Electric film about the benefits of hydroelectric power compared with coal as an energy source; and "Wyman Station" (1928), a Central Maine Power film about the construction of the Wyman Station dam.

Biographical/Historical Notes
“Central Maine Power Company (CMP) was founded in 1899 when Harvey D. Eaton, an attorney from Waterville, Maine, and Walter S. Wyman, an engineer, bought the Oakland Electric Company. This company, organized in 1887, owned a hydroelectric generator which provided street lighting and electricity to the community of Oakland, Maine.

Eaton and Wyman recognized early on the potential for generating electricity that Maine’s rivers provided. Around 1901 they offered a contract to the city of Waterville for street lighting using the name Messalonskee Electric Company; the company was chartered by the Maine legislature in 1905. During this time the partners issued bonds and stocks to raise capital to purchase other small companies and to build new power plants. The company’s name was changed to Central Maine Power Company in 1910, and in 1912 its main office moved from Waterville to Augusta. The company continued to acquire small hydroelectric companies and to develop new sites to supply hydropower. Between 1910 and 1917, CMP bought electric companies in Bingham, Dexter, Skowhegan, Vassalboro, Clinton, Corinna, Richmond and Waterville. Power plants were operating at Dennistown, Fairfield, Oakland, Belfast and Limerick. By 1919 CMP was serving over 21,000 customers.

By August, 1925, CMP’s board of directors included three Insull appointees, with Wyman and other CMP members in the remaining seats. CMP became part of the holding-company structure and was owned by New England Public Service Company. In return, the Insull company gave cash for CMP stock which could be used for further growth. With this money CMP was able to build two hydroelectric plants: the Gulf Island plant in Lewiston and the William S. Wyman station in Bingham and Moscow, plus a storage reservoir on the Moose River.

The Insull holding company collapsed in the early 1930’s and Wyman was forced to buy CMP stock from the Insull creditors, returning CMP control to local hands. Throughout these financial difficulties and those of the Great Depression, construction continued, with the hydroelectric plant at Solon, Maine, beginning operations in 1939, and construction beginning in 1940 on Mason Station, a steam plant in Wiscasset. A merger with the Cumberland County Power and Light Company late in 1942 made CMP the largest electric utility operating in northern New England.

The 1950’s through the 1990’s saw many changes in CMP operations. The company entered the nuclear power industry in 1954 when it joined with 11 other utility companies to form Yankee Atomic Electric Company, which built a nuclear plant in Rowe, Massachusetts. It also contributed to the cost of plants in Connecticut and Vermont and in the Maine Yankee Plant in Wiscasset, Maine. Financial problems, controversy and lack of public support for nuclear facilities eventually led CMP to withdraw from nuclear power projects, and in 1997 the decision was made to close Maine Yankee and begin its decommissioning process.

The researcher interested in the history of CMP may also want to consult the book, The Light from the River: Central Maine Power’s First Century of Service, published to mark the company’s centennial in 1999.”

Excerpt from the The Central Maine Power Company Collection finding aid, prepared by Brenda Howiston Steeves in March of 2005. The Central Maine Power Collection is housed in Special Collections of the Raymond H. Fogler Library at the University of Maine.

E.H. Maxcy

Everett H. Maxcy (1888-1961) was born September 8, 1888, in Gardiner, Maine. He was a son of William E. Maxcy, a well-known insurance broker of Gardiner, and one of the incorporators of the Kennebec Light and Heat Company (which was acquired by Central Maine Power Company in 1910). Maxcy graduated from Gardiner High School in 1906 and attended the University of Maine. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1911, he went on to Harvard Law School, graduating with the class of 1914; he immediately returned to Gardiner and ran a general practice until March of 1918. In August of 1920, after serving time as a second lieutenant in the United States Coast Artillery during the war, Maxcy became involved with the Central Maine Power Company. He acted as counsel for the New England Public Service Company, and served as a Member of the Board of the Central Maine Power Company. E. H. Maxcy died on February 7, 1961 in Augusta, Maine.

A short Everett H. Maxcy biography can be found in Harrie Badger Coe’s 1928 publication: Maine, resources, attractions and its people; a history. WorldCat

People and Organizations
Central Maine Power Company
Place(s)
Repository
Northeast Historic Film
Availability
Access is restricted; consult repository for detail.
Condition Governing Reproduction and Use
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See http://www.oldfilm.org/research for more information.
Items in this collection: 43
Showing 1 - 10 of 43:
1) [Bucksport Mill footage] NHF Reel 2
NHF notes: Footage of the construction of the Maine Seaboard Paper Company mill in Bucksport, Maine. Appears to be professionally shot. Includes shots of construction site on water's e...more
2) [Bucksport Mill footage] NHF Reel 4
NHF notes: Footage of the construction of the Maine Seaboard Paper Company milli in Bucksport, Maine. Appears to be professionally shot. Includes shots of man on scaffolding, pulley wi...more
3) [Treated Poles outtakes] NHF Reel 6
Negative outtakes for 'Treated Poles for Longer Life' (print is NHF Reel 1).more
4) [Bucksport Mill footage] NHF Reel 8
NHF notes: Footage of the construction of the Bucksport paper mill. Appears to be professionally shot. Includes shots of men in suits and hats, men in overalls and hats at construction...more
5) [Wyman Dam footage] NHF Reel 15
NHF notes: Wyman Station workprint, reel two.more
6) [Central Maine Power footage] Reel 1 Acccession 0700
Footage of construction crew and supervisors building a wood stave penstock at a power station. A penstock is a sluice or gate or intake structure that controls water flow, or an enclos...more
7) [Central Maine Power footage] Reel 2 Accession 0700
Pan of a long power production building, seen through transmission lines, transformers and water pipes, to three large water tanks. CUs of the various outdoor parts of the power statio...more
8) [Central Maine Power footage] Reel 3 Accession 0700
Views of a Central Maine Power company baseball game on a summer day. Players wear uniforms with "CMPCo." sewn on the back. The game is played on a dirt lot with residential houses in...more
9) [Central Maine Power footage] Reel 4 Accession 0700
Continuation of Central Maine Power company baseball game on a summer day from 0700.0003. Players wear uniforms with "CMPCo" sewn on the back. the game is played on a dirt lot with re...more
10) [Central Maine Power footage] Reel 5 Accession 0700
Title on box: "Wyman #1 construction movies. Reel #2. First construction. Cousins Island and electrical installation. 1957" Aerial footage of the power installation at Cousins Island,...more
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