Mariah Pfeiffer

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number



Birger Nottestad’s father immigrated to the United States from Norway as a child. The immigrant was the foreman of a river crew in the Brown Company for over 40 years and also served in World War I. As he grew up, Birger Nottestad camped at lumber camps with his father during school vacations. Nottestad worked the river himself in the summers of 1954 and 1955 but did not like the work. Nottestad quit high school in the April of his senior year to join the Navy. When he returned from the service, Nottestad worked briefly in local mills. He worked in sawmills and hotels until he retired, and also managed a family campground.

Scope and Content Note

This interview covers river work: work sites, accommodating German prisoners of war, Nottestad’s family’s history with river work, Nottestad’s river work experience, processes and practices of river work, and equipment; the appearance of the river; the Norwegian Village; Nottestad’s relationship to his father: stays at logging camps and not working his father’s jobs; Nottestad’s various jobs; his experience in the Navy; Nottestad’s reasons for returning to New Hampshire; remembering and preserving signs of river work: a boom pier burning accident, memorial plans, and photographs; decline of the use of the Androscoggin for logging: important dates in the decline, public reaction, the economic impact of the decline on Berlin, new lumber transportation methods, and the use of the river after logging; local hero and photographer Roger Cooper; Nottestad’s family life; and the unionization of river work.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.