FARMINGTON — A federal board is asking Franklin County commissioners for their opinion on officially changing the name of a 15-acre private island in Rangeley Lake from Doctors Island to Maneskootuk Island.

Commissioners plan to discuss the proposal during their meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in their office at the Franklin County Courthouse.

The Rangeley Board of Selectmen also will discuss the proposal at a Nov. 6 meeting.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has received a proposal from the owner of the island to rename it.

The board is “responsible by law for standardizing geographic names for use by the departments and agencies of the federal government,” according to the letter commissioners received.

The proponent, Carolyn G. Scolfield of Rangeley, who owns the island, wants to restore the historic name of Maneskootuk Island, according to a case brief. It is the name given to the island by its original owners, according to the letter.

According to a case summary enclosed with the letter to commissioners, Scolfield reported that when Frederick Dickson purchased the island in the 1880s, it was known as Ram Island.

“While building a summer house on the island for his family, Dickson renamed it Maneskootuk Island,” according to Scolfield’s letter.

Maneskootuk is an Abenaki word that reportedly means “place of big trout” according to the summary, or “land of the big trout,” according to Scolfield’s letter to the federal board.

In the late 1950s, the island was sold to a doctor, and it was sold again in the 1960s to a citizen of Persia, Scolfield wrote.

As a result, the island was variously known as Doctors Island or Doctor’s Island, and Persian Island. In 1968, Scolfield’s father, William A. Garrigues bought the island and gave it the name Maneskootuk Island. Scolfield wrote that her father was a friend of the Dickson family and had spent time on the island in his youth. Scolfield inherited the island and has owned it since 1991.

“Since the island has been in my family and usage of the name ‘Maneskootuk’ has been in existence for almost a half a century, I feel it is right and proper to have the U.S. Board (on) Geographic Names officially change the name to Maneskootuk,” according to Scolfield’s letter to the federal board. She wrote that it was an oversight the family did not contact the board sooner.

Scolfield’s tax bills also reflect the name Maneskootuk and the Rangeley Lakes Region Map of 1992 also identifies the island as Maneskootuk, she wrote in the letter.

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The owner of a 15-acre island in Rangeley Lake wants to change its name from Doctors Island to Maneskootuk Island, a previous name of the island. 


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