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Special Collections: Guide to the Onawa House Records

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
August 2004
Introduction and Summary Information
Collection Title: Onawa House Records.
Dates of the Collection: 1897-1904 (inclusive); 1897-1904 (bulk).
Provenance: The Onawa House records came to the Special Collections Department as a gift from Inez and Webb Noyes.
Collection Number: MS 373.
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of three ledgers ( 0.4 linear feet).
Preferred Citation: Onawa House Records, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.
The Onawa House was located in Onawa, a community in Piscataquis County, Maine. It was built by Alexander and Cora Arbo around 1890 after they had moved to Onawa from a farm in Brownville, Maine. The Onawa House was originally a sporting camp for hunters and fishermen. Its guests also included granite quarry workers, lumbermen, railroad workers, and workers at a factory nearby which made spool bars for the thread industry.
Disheartened by the death of their young son, the Arbos sold the Onawa House in 1894 and returned to Brownville. By 1916 it had fallen into a state of disrepair and was closed. It was then sold to a private individual who in 1917 had it moved from its original location to the edge of the lake in Onawa.
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains three volumes of guest registers, 1897-1904, for the hotel. Volumes two and three have printed blotter sheets advertising various businesses in Maine. They also contain printed guides listing hotels for each state, their rates, etc.
Book plates in the registers identify them as belonging to the library of Inez and Webb Noyes, Pinawa II, Onawa, Maine. Pinawa II was the Noyes family camp built in 1937 to replace Pinawa I, built in 1901 or 1902. This camp had been given to Webb and Inez Noyes as a wedding gift in 1927 and burned in the 1930’s.
Box List
1 Hotel register, July, 1897-Apr., 1901
2 Hotel register, May, 1901-Dec., 1902
3 Hotel register, Dec., 1902-Apr., 1904

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/23/2015
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