Downtown Rangeley Circa 1875

As summer wanes, Rangeley and Oquossoc are beginning to simmer down a bit after a very busy summer. Our local businesses and their staff have been hard at it since the last frosts of May. We’ve seen some exciting changes in our community over the past year, with some new businesses opening, others remodeling and still others working hard to make improvements. Fingers are firmly crossed in the hopes that Saddleback experiences a rebirth.

The folks who operate businesses in our community bust their tails to “make a strong go of it” and its been that way since the 1820’s. Despite the seasonality and confined rural marketplace of our beautiful community, the business of Rangeley …always has and always will be not for the faint of heart.

What follows appeared in the December 12, 1895 edition of the Rangeley Lakes newspaper and gives a description of every business operating at the time. If one could not find a particular item or service available for purchase in Rangeley in 1895, then by Golly you never really needed it in the first place! This piece provides a unique snapshot of what life required at the time and brings new meaning to the term “Shop Local”. Enjoy this peek back in time some 134 years ago and please remember to shop local whenever possible to help support your neighbors as well as the breadwinners of the local families who are employed here!

The Business of Rangeley

(Rangeley Lakes December 12, 1895)

It is customary for a newspaper reporter to take a look before Christmas, through the establishments of its advertisers and give the result to its readers. As this is the first occasion Rangeley Lakes has had to perform that pleasant duty, owing to its infancy, it is thought best to give all the business places a notice, even those that are not among its patrons, in hopes that the good word spoken may drop in good soil and that before many days they may be induced to tell you, through our advertising columns that they are “still doing business at the old stand.”

The nearest to Rangeley Lakes is the millinery, dress-making and fancy goods store of;

Mrs. E. P. McCARD,

Located over this office. Our hopes are elevated hundreds of times daily at the thought that visitors are coming to see us, but alas! they pass us by and upstairs they go. You wouldn’t wonder, if you followed them, such quantities of articles as are displayed, hats, laces, ribbons, gloves, dress goods and underwear. Take a look yourself, and Mrs. McCard will convince you that such and such articles are just what you want for Christmas presents.


Everybody knows him, they know too that he keeps a large and varied assortment of about everything. He has dry goods and clothing, hats, caps, boots and shoes. It is no use to enumerate, “If you don’t see what you want, ask for it” is a motto that applies here. He has lots of Christmas Goods that the little folks are interested in, and they will be sure to interest the larger folks too. Came near forgetting the most important feature—Mr. P. is town clerk, if you are to have a Christmas wedding you want a certificate, he’s got ’em, and he has a Commission as Justice of the Peace, you can come in single, and go out double, or should we say, you come in double and go out single? Anyway, he will make two one.


Has a cozy little store adjoining Uncle Sam’s well-furnished and well attended department. Here you will find a neat and attractive selection of fruit and candies, cigars and tobaccos, newspapers and magazines, and a very pleasant assistant in Miss Evie Hewey. Over Proctor’s store he has a very choice collection of furniture, just the best thing in the world for Christmas presents. Rockers and easy chairs, the comfort derived in one day’s use covers the cost. And clocks! Alas an 8-day clock for $82.75! Save it in time winding your old one in a year.


One of Rangeley’s oldest citizens, and one of the oldest businessmen of the place. Mr. Haley has been ill of late and his store has been closed quite part of the time. You will find it open now, and also find good groceries, confectionery, canned goods and hosts of other things. Mr. Haley deals in raw furs and will buy or sell just which way you wish. He sells for cash, consequently, sells cheap.


“Our John” the hardware man. The pioneer in his line. His assortment is very large, everything bought low and will be sold way down. If your wife wants a

new stove for kitchen or parlor “here they be.” Rifles and shot guns, fully equal to Davy Crockett’s; you only have to point at the game, and it comes down and surrenders. Tinware, just see what a rattle he has on it, carving knives and forks, table wear, get a set for Christmas and see if the roast does not taste better.


Is proprietor of the Royal Barber Shop, never known to pull one’s beard in shaving. His razors work as they were intended.


Has a general millinery and fancy goods store. A fine display of worsteds and yarns, crochet cotton and embroidery, hats of all shapes. During the season Mrs. Dill ties thousands of artificial flies, for which she has a large demand. For Christmas presents are some nice jewelry and a good selection of candies.


Is to be found in the old fish hatchery building. Mr. C. is a popular guide, he is still one, for he guides a razor as gently as he guides a boat in close time, when he wishes to show his party an unsuspecting deer.


Is a Boston barber, who is running Natt Ellis’ shop during the winter. He is a newcomer, but one that all will hope to retain.


At the mill, do all kinds of woodwork. From the log they will furnish the material for a house.


Quite an array of them, but if you knew the amount of business they do in a season, you won’t think it any too many. They hardly need an introduction. Mr. Furbish has been identified with that particular store for a number of years. Mr. Butler is a native of Phillips, which is certainly in his favor. Mr. Oakes is a Rangeley boy, and a good one, too. We could tell you what this firm handle a good deal quicker than what they do. It is really and truly a department store on a small scale. Just read their Christmas notice, it is interesting. Over the store is FURBISH HALL. A neat and attractive place. It is fitted with stage and scenery for entertainments and has a good floor for dancing.


Does blacksmithing, and he does it well. His special art is horse shoeing, and by the way if you want to know the pedigree of any particular horse, Mr. Smith can give it to you. He can trace everyone back to the identical pair on which Adam bestowed the name, in the garden of Eden.


The builder of the popular boat that bears his name. He gives one quality to his boats that is certainly in their favor. As he says, they do not leak. Mr. Loomis sells all the boats he can make.


Proprietor of Oakes’ boarding house is favored with a good patronage.


Is of the businessmen in town. He is all over the lot, and about the surest way to find him is to sit down and wait. He is sure to pass that way before long. Mr. Hinkley is selling hay, lumber of all kinds, and does quite a business in dressed meats. He is the proprietor of “Hinkleys,” well known as a popular hotel, in which business he has been recognized for many years.


Charley Neal and Will Quimby, household words all through the Rangeleys, and well known to the thousands of sportsmen. Like the other large business houses, they carry a great variety of merchandise and an immense quantity of it. Dry goods, groceries, ready-made clothing, ladies’ garments, boots, shoes, fishing tackle, china and common ware. They have a small lot of their last season’s souvenir china, just the thing for Christmas. In the line of clothing you can select from G. W. Simmons’ book of samples just what pleases you, your measure is taken and “Oak Hall” does the rest. You get a perfect fit.

The oldest frequenters of the lakes re- remember


He has, as you might say, grown up with the town, quiet and unassuming, always the same, a friend of everyone. Mr. Tufts was the first boatbuilder, of any note, in this section, and has probably made more boats than any other person in town. And he still makes them, and good ones too.


Will do your trucking, quickly, safely and at reasonable rates.


Can be found in the Geo. Young store; flour, feed and grain, also a good line of tobacco and cigars. He is also one of the proprietors of the livery stable of


Who do a lively business in the summer.


The winter home of the justly celebrated proprietor of


Mr. J. B. Marble, also is always found with a house full of happy smiling guests, which throng, the most irrevocable cynic would join, after a day’s tarry under the Marbles’ roof.


Will do general, or special work for you in the blacksmithing line, and makes a new horse from an old one, if the fault has been in the shoeing. Over him is


Boat and canoe maker. Barrett’s boats are found very generally distributed all through this region. He is a mechanical genius and can turn his hand to any work required and is very pleasant to meet at his work or socially outside. He is ably seconded by his brother Thomas, and we really think the brother can do a particular job a little the best.


Is another genius. He does a variety of work in leather, mends shoes, repairs harnesses, makes knapsacks and snowshoes, mounts birds etc., etc.


These are newcomers. They are the advance guard of the new Rangeley. They bring good recommendations and from their reports are being well and extensively used, so much so that extra help has had to be engaged. They do blacksmithing and carriage work.


Carpenter and builder, is just now a resident of the town. If any of our readers contemplate building a lake cottage or a land cottage or any kind of a building submit your plans to Mr. Haley. If you want to know about his work, just look at the new Rangeley Lake House, over on the point.

We are done. Have we skipped you? If so, we are sorry and if you will notify us we’ll serve you up in a special batch.

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