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Cooper Milliken Papers and Plans

 Collection
Identifier: SpC MS 1784

Scope and Contents

The Cooper Milliken Papers and Plans contains the correspondence, financial records, and plans of the architect Cooper Milliken. Correspondence includes primarily business related information regarding the project Milliken was working on for the client. Billing information is composed of carbon copies of statements sent from Milliken to his clients. The plans are designs created by Cooper Milliken and can consist of building blueprints, engineering plans, surveying plans, etc. There also includes photographs of the work site that Milliken would collect and store within the client’s file. The collection spans from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. Additional plans received with the collection have not yet been processed.

Dates

  • 1956-1994

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions.

Biographical Note

Cooper Milliken was born on June 11, 1918 in Old Town, Maine to William Franklin Milliken and Abbie Cooper Milliken. His father was an owner of a lumber manufacturing company, while his mother was a trained piano teacher. Cooper Milliken grew up alongside his only other sibling, his older brother, William Franklin Milliken Jr. The two remained close throughout their lives. Cooper Milliken initially attended the University of Maine but later transferred to Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1942 with a degree in Architecture. Since World War II was in full swing as he graduated, Cooper Milliken was able to work for Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corporation.

With the conclusion of the war, Cooper Milliken spent the next several years working for several architecture firms in San Francisco, Seattle, and Bangor. Eventually, in 1956, he returned to Old Town to establish his own firm. This relatively small firm consisted of two architects (including Milliken) and two engineers. During his career, Milliken was a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Maine State Board for Registration of Architects.

In his early career, Cooper Milliken was contracted to design and renovate homes, stores, armories, town offices, and schools around the state of Maine. Many of his clients consisted of professors that worked at the University of Maine in Orono. He was employed to design to the particular tastes of the professors, whether it was to create an art studio addition or design a fiberglass roof to allow for more sunlight. At one point Cooper Milliken was employed by Doris Twitchell Allen, a notable University of Maine alumni. Allen contracted Milliken to design a house on the coast of Maine in Trenton.

Although some of his home designs can still be found in Old Town and Orono, it was the state and local governments that gave him the majority of his jobs. In 1957 he was employed by the City of Old Town to design a Municipal Office that could house the town office and fire department. This building is now the home for both the Fire and Police Departments of Old Town.

His firm was also hired but state and local officals to design renovations and expansions for several armories. These included the Belfast Armory, the Brewer Armory and the Millinocket Armory. Other prominent clients who sought out his designs included the City of Orono, Penobscot County Courthouse, Dow Air Force Base, the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company and the James W. Sewall Company. Several of these designs were to renovate current structures to accommodate new needs.

Cooper Milliken was also instrumental to the expansion of the Fort Kent State Normal School (now University of Maine at Fort Kent). At the time the Principal of the school, Joseph Fox, sought to change the school into a four-year university. For this to happen it was important to build new dorms to house a burgeoning student population as well as expand current classrooms. Cooper Milliken was eventually contracted by Principal Fox. In conclusion, Milliken played a large role in the construction and remodeling of at least three of the buildings that still exist on campus.

In addition to his involvement in designs for University of Maine at Fort Kent, Milliken also worked closely with the University of Maine in Orono. His work for the University of Maine was primarily focused on refurbishing historic buildings that were in need of a redesign to be turned into office space. These projects included the renovations of Carnegie Hall, Alumni Hall, Fernald Hall and some work on the Bangor campus of the University of Maine.

Later on in his career, Milliken would have the opportunity to be the designer for numerous elementary and high schools across Maine. Schools like Howland High School were builf with designs by Cooper Milliken. Designing schools was a major undertaking that required a significant amount of coordination, planning, money, and time. As a result, during the latter end of his career, Cooper Milliken, focused his time upon his school contracts.

Sources: Contributed. (2009, February 6). COOPER MILLIKEN. Retrieved from https://bangordailynews.com/2009/02/06/obituaries/cooper-milliken/, Accessed on 8/29/2019

Historical Note

In 1956, architect Copper Milliken established his own small architecture firm in Old Town, consisting of two engineers, another architect and himself. His firm worked on various types of projects including the design of modern homes, educational buildings and commercial structures. A large majority of the firm's work focused on the renovations of buildings. In addition to designing the exterior structures for clients, the firm also went into great detail designing interior lighting, plumbing, decorations, and even specially requested rooms for educational purposes such as school woodshops.

The firm kept detailed records of both proposed and completed projects. Some prominent projects include work for the University of Maine in renovating Carnegie Hall, Fernald Hall and Alumni Hall. The firm was also involved in the designs of several dorms on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus. Along with their work for local universities, the firm also works with the City of Old Town and the city of Orono on public buildings. The firm also works with the Old Town Canoe company, the Old Town Airport and Dow Air Force Base.

By the 1980s his firm had begun to take fewer contracts as Milliken was stepping towards retirement. The firm's final documented project was dated for 1994 according to the records that were donated.

Extent

16 linear feet (16 boxes)

6 folio folders

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Collection is composed of correspondence, financial records, photographs, and plans that were created by Cooper Milliken and his firm, for various clients. The subject of the collection is almost entirely based on his work and is geographically focused around the State of Maine with some outliers in New York and Massachusetts. Some prominant projects included the renovations of Alumni Hall, Fernald Hall and Carnegie Hall at the University of Maine. As well as the designs for the City of Old Town, the Old Town Airport, Old Town Canoe Company, the James W. Sewall Company, the Penobscot County Court House, the City of Orono and the Dow Air Force Base Exchange building.

Arrangement

The Cooper Milliken Papers and Plans were donated to the Special Collections Department and came arranged in folders, mostly alphabetically, apparently by Milliken. This organization was kept. Many folders also included a design number which corresponds with the plans, stored separately and organized by design number. The addition of the design number also indicates whether or not the job was undertaken by Milliken.

General

The processing of this collection was made possible by "Putting History to Work," grant funded student internship program via the University of Maine System and intern Clifford Greco and by a library funded internship for Master's student Jennifer Munson.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Cooper Milliken Papers and Plans
Status
Box And Folder List Available
Author
Cliff Greco and Jennifer Munson
Date
August 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

Contact:
5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States
207-581-1686