The following is a compilation of various clippings from the very first edition of the Rangeley Lakes dated, May 30,1895. The Rangeley Lakes was Rangeley’s first newspaper and was published by Harry P. and Elliot C. Dill. A full year’s subscription for the weekly paper was $1.00 (about $30.73 in 2020). Unfortunately, the paper only lasted for approximately two and a half years, despite that fact that Rangeley was growing rapidly at the time with a burgeoning tourism industry and orders for lumber from western Maine’s forests on the rise. It was widely rumored that the paper went bust because thrifty residents created sharing circles whereby an edition would be purchased and then distributed, in turn to various other households within families and neighborhoods to save money. For many at the time a whole dollar represented an entire day’s wage. Guides were “high-brow” laborers at $2-3.00 per day.

Rangeley is such a special place. Its history is an important factor in what makes it so captivating. Aristotle once said, “If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” Enjoy what follows and be sure to make some noteworthy Rangeley history of your own. Who knows, maybe someone will write about it 125 years from now.
(Editor’s notes below in italics)

A first notion of the Rangeley Guides Association (now known as the Rangeley region Guides & Sportsmen’s Association) was reported:

That Guides’ Association.

Charles Harnden, a well-known guide, is somewhat interested in forming an Association of Guides throughout the Rangeley Lakes region, the object to be mutual protection.

He has the constitution of the “Adirondack Guides’ Association,” also copies of circulars, blanks and a “Member’s Annual Certificate,” a card certified by the President of the Association that “the bearer is a reliable guide.”

The guns of our great Civil War had been silent for 30 years. Rangeley sent several volunteers to fight for the Union despite the community’s small year-round population. Here from Page 2:

Observance of Memorial Day 1895

To-day the Nation honors the dead heroes who went forth to battle in the sixties. From the East to the West the drums are muffled to-day and, with fewer members but hearts as staunch as ever, the Grand Army of the Republic marches to the sleeping places of their dead comrades, there to pay their annual tribute of devotion and respect. Though smaller, year by year grow the ranks of the Grand Army, yet larger grow the numbers who vie with them in honoring the dead, and when there shall not be one veteran left in all the land, a magnificent army of patriotic civilians will yet see that the stars and stripes wave over each soldier’s grave.

The report ended with a poem. Here the last stanza about two Civil War vets honoring their fallen comrades:

Well, Joe. We’ve got these flags to set.

Here’s ten fur me ’nd ten you keep,

There’s two of us, is still wakin’ yet

To stan’ guard over them that sleep!

But, which of us two, Joe. Do ye s’pose .

Will set the flag fer the next that goes?

-James C. Purdy

Big Business

Already the summer resort business of New England amounts annually to something like twenty-five million dollars, and yet it is only in its infancy,” says the New England Tourist. The Rangeley Lakes will devote all its energies to diverting as much as possible of this 25-million-dollar fund into the Rangeley region. With the co-operation of all those interested our object will be accomplished.

($25,000,000 in 1895 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $768,200,000 today. It is safe to say that the Rangeley Lakes was correct to state that tourism in New England was “in its infancy” as today in Maine alone it is a 4.7 Billion-dollar industry!)


And let’s not forget the lumber business in Western Maine in 1895. Demand was great and below shares just a portion of logs to be shipped by the SR & RL RR in 1895. This does not take into account the tons of lumber sawn, dowels and other wood turning products manufactured locally in numerous mills along the famous “Two- footer” line. Lumbering was huge and these figures do not account for the additional logs floated out on our rivers. All harvested with the ax and saw!

Supt. Beal, of the Sandy River R. R.. has closed contracts with the owners of the Lisbon Falls Fibre Co., to haul 5000 cords of spruce pulp wood. 500 cords are to be loaded at Saunder’s Mill, 500 at Reed’s Mill on the P. eb R., 2000 cords at Phillips and 2000 at Salem. This means over 150 car loads (flatcars) and will be about the same amount in cars that the Redington Lumber Co. sends out each year. Mr. Beal says there is a possibility that a contract will be closed with another pulp co. to deliver 10,000 cords of poplar that would go from Jerusalem. (Known as Carrabasssett Valley today)

To close out this edition of “Snap Shots in Time” some short notes about a relatively “new fad” in 1895 for you mountain & road bikers out there, with your 20 speed modern machines.

Phillips Notes

Rev. W. W. Ranney went to New Vineyard Monday on his wheel.

A round trip of 26 miles with many large hills on an old-fashioned single-speed big wheel bicycle!  Rev. Ranney was obviously a dedicated evangelist and surely a fanatical cyclist! Dirt roads and no bike lane. What this man could have done with a “Fat Bike”!


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