OQUOSSOC — The Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum held a dedication ceremony for its new Rangeley Boat monument at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 6. An estimated crowd of 100 supporters turned out.

“This is your monument, my friends, and it honors all the notable builders, guides and sports that grew to love this very special and famous watercraft,” said Rangeley Lakes Region Historical Society President Don Palmer.

Palmer went on to share some of the history surrounding the Rangeley Boat.

The first Rangeley boats were constructed in 1869 and were initially known as “Indian Rock” boats. The name “Indian Rock” originates from the area around the confluence of the Rangeley and Kennebago Rivers. These first boats were modified from the lines of an Adirondack-style rowboat from Ogdensburg, N.Y. Modifications were made that better suited the sometimes shallow and rough water conditions found on the Rangeley region’s large lakes. These redesign efforts ultimately produced an easy-to-row, stable and durable double-ended boat featuring long sleek lines. This iconic watercraft was especially prized by local guides to carry their vacationing city “sports” on fishing trips in search of the region’s large native brook trout. 

As the new boat grew in popularity, skilled woodworkers in small family-owned shops began turning out what was to be forever known as “The Rangeley.” Beginning in 1876 and into the early 20th century, Rangeley became known for quality boat-building.

“This monument to Rangeley’s own boat was truly a great community effort and we thank all who provided the funding, volunteer labor and materials necessary to make it happen,” said Bill Pierce, OSHM director.

Guests were treated to free admission to the museum, a wide assortment of homemade cookies, lemonade and coffee.

A red brick platform under the new pavilion holds a newly restored vintage double-ender Rangeley. Supporters of the museum can purchase inscribed bricks in honor or in memory of friends or relatives. FMI: 207-864-3091.

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