The history of Parlin Farm dates back to the late 1800s, when Parlin Farm was owned by Nicholas & Viola Murphy. The property at that time served as a Way House (15 miles to the Forks, 10 miles to Jackman, as it was up hill). Despite Maine being a dry state at the time, there was a moveable bar in the north wing with a shute to the basement. For a great historic article, please see THE MAINE WOODS. Echos From Parlin Pond. from the Cambridge Chronicle dated 12 August 1893.
In the early 1900s, a member of the Piel Family, Micheal Piel, of Piels Beer fame, came to visit, and liked it so much that he bought the place in 1901 with a 99-year lease. He also bought Jackman Field at a Sheriff’s sale for $500 - bargain! He built about 30 buildings on the property in a span of 12 years, including The Big House which had 20 bedrooms. During this time, Piel's help did laundry in what is currently the Coburn Cabin. There was a wood burning furnace that produced steam to run the washer. The Piel family also vacationed at the Farm during the summertime.
In June, 1915 Michael Piel passed away on site in Parlin, ME. The camp was then transformed into a working farm, producing vegetables, sheep's wool, and meat. The farm ran for about four years. In 1920, a granddaughter tried to sell it. The woman who bought it, Tanta Lou, ran it as an Inn while also building a camp so that the family could have a place to stay and take care of themselves away from the family business in NY (refrigeration plant/ammonia plant). The Inn employed two cooks known as Big Anna and Little Anna.
During World War II, a chicken house was built, and around 1950 until the early 1960s, a man known as "Rollo" started running the place. In 1978, Zip and Beren Harrington bought the property. They rented the small cabins seasonally and kept the property looking beautiful. They tore down some older structures, moved buildings, and lived on the property.
In 2015, we, Ben and Kerry McKenney, bought the property from Zip and Beren.
Our other historic ties to Parlin come from Ben's great-great-grandfather, Henry Patrick "H.P." McKenney (January 18, 1863 - January 9, 1942). H.P. was an American woodsman, lumberman, outdoor enthusiast, and businessman who served as the Fire Warden in Jackman, Maine in 1912. He was the owner of several logging and sporting camps in the area including Bulldog Camps and The Lake Parlin House (Currently the site of Lake Parlin Lodge & Cabins). He was noted for his work ethic, business savvy, and stubbornness that often attributed to his success. Born into a large family in Jackman, McKenney was the eighth of thirteen children and often embraced the strenuous life that came with living in rural Maine in the nineteenth century. He was home-schooled and became an eager student of the outdoors. He began logging at an early age and truly made a name for himself in 1898 when he built a successful mile and quarter long log sluice on Enchanted Pond, then referred to as “Bulldog Pond."
For more information and stories about the greater Jackman Area, the book "History of the Moose River Valley" is an excellent source: Sterling, Grace Newton and the Bicentennial Book Committee. History of the Moose River Valley, Jackman Bicentennial Book Committee, 1976.
H.P. McKenney is the name we gave to our daughter, HP (Hannah Paxtan) McKenney. We are so proud to share this history with you, and our connection to the Parlin, Maine area. We plan to keep the history of Parlin alive, as the history is beautiful and inspiring just as is the property itself.