Visiting Bradley, Maine

The town Bradley was named to honor Bradley Blackman, the patriarch of the Blackman Brothers who drove the economic engine with their logging and lumber operations of early Snohomish.

This is where it began. The Blackman family took over Leonard Mills operation on Nicholas Stream following Leonard’s death 1828 and continued for 50 years, even the stream was renamed after the Blackmans.

Around 1870, the Blackman brothers, Alanson, the eldest, along with his wife, Eliza; middle son, Elhanan, his wife, Frances, and the babe-in-arms, Edith; the youngest Hyrcanus and his wife Ella, all migrated to the Pacific Northwest. The story is that the brothers’ operation went belly up in Bradley, but I could find nothing about this story during my visit.

It’s enough for me that the original Blackman operation is now the Maine Forest and Logging Museum.

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View from upstream.

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The back side of the mill.

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Pit Saw for manual “up-and-down” sawing, used since the middle ages.


Museum Director Sherry Davis preparing the ‘Beans Pit!”.

Director Sherry Davis explained that when this site of “Leonard’s Mills” was discovered, archaeologists found evidence of five sawmills that were once located on Blackman Stream. A plan to create a “living history site” was first spoken of in the 1950s and ten years later the Penobscot Experimental Forest donated land to the newly incorporated museum. The water-powered mill in operation today was begun in the 1980s and its first plank was cut in 1991.

The brothers landed in Port Gamble where a logging and lumber operation had been underway since 1885, founded by men from the Penobscot area of Maine. How the Blackmans’ found their way to Snohomish might be best answered with a novel.

The local newspapers reported the doings of the Snohomish Blackmans, especially with death, for example, Hyrcanus’ notice in the Old Town Enterprise reported: “Mr. Blackman died in his palatial home on Avenue B ….”

Keep this in mind the next time you visit the Blackman House Museum on Avenue B.

Follow this link to learn more about the Blackmans and Avenue B.

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Featured Image: The Maine Forest and Logging Museum’s reconstruction of a working water-powered mill began cutting lumber in 1991.

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