The history of Parlin Farm dates back to the late 1800s when it 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). For a great historic article, please see “THE MAINE WOODS. Echoes from Parlin Pond.” from the Cambridge Chronicle dated 12 August 1893.
In 1901 the property was purchased by Michael Piel of Piels Beer fame. Piel came to America from Germany in 1883 and brought with him the love of the outdoors. Being an avid hunter and fisherman, Piel would travel from New York City to vacation at Mike Marr’s Camps on nearby Indian Pond. It was during that time he discovered the Parlin Property and purchased it in 1900. The purchase included 460 acres of farm and forest, Jackman Field and a camp on Grace Pond.
In a span of 12 years, the Piel Family built about 30 buildings on the property including the Big House which had 20 bedrooms and the Barn which is still standing and used to this day. During this time, Piel's help did laundry in what is currently Coburn Cabin. There was a wood burning furnace that produced steam to run the washer. Over the years the property required a staff of up to 20 people. A member of the Outdoor Staff included Gottfried Shutz “chauffeur, electrician, and plumber and mender of all our mechanical difficulties.” Today, this person is known as Ben.
Many members of the Piel family also vacationed at the Farm during the summertime. In June 1915, at the age of 66, Michael Piel passed away suddenly of heart disease, on site in Parlin, ME. Although he claimed Maine residence, Michael was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY on June 16th. Even after the passing of Michael Piel, Parlin Farm continued to operate for many years. In fact, it continued to run as a working farm and hotel until May of 1964 when it was sold out of the Piel Family.
Much of the above info and more can be found in the book, Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family and Their Brooklyn Brewery, SUNY Press, 2016 by Alfred W. McCoy who is a great-grandson of Michael Piel.
In 1978 the property was purchased by Zip and Beren Harrington. Over the next 30+ years, Zip & Beren lived on the property in what is now Coburn Cabin. They carried out extensive renovations and ground improvements. Some of the older structures were taken down and some moved. They rented the cabins to long term residents, added the Workshop and Bakery, and kept the property looking beautiful.
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."
H.P. McKenney is the name we gave to our daughter, HP (Hannah P.) 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.
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.
Ownership Timeline*: Late 1800s – 1900: Nicholas & Viola Murphy 1900 – 1948: Michael & Maria Piel 1948 - May 1964: Erwin Lange & Louise Piel Lange Louise (1890-1983) was one of 11 children of Michael & Maria Piel. May 1964 – January 1972: Parlin Farms, Inc. Company hoped that the property would lead to a successful lodging business due to the nearby and newly built Enchanted Mountain Ski Area on Coburn Mountain. January 1972 – December 1975: Maine for Mainers, Inc. December 1975 – November 1978: Langdon & Brad Holden (Brothers) November 1978 – December 2015: Beren & Zip Harrington December 2015 – Present: Ben & Kerry McKenney (Parlin Farm Cabins)
*As per Maine Registers of Deeds Association Official Land Records Website (www.maineregistryofdeeds.com).