What follows are some short features found in the December 12, 1895, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper.

(Pierce’s commentary is shared in italics, otherwise the copy has been reprinted just as is)

As a Registered Maine Guide, what follows brought back a few memories of some of my past “sports” who had ignored some well-intended advice as to what gear they should probably bring along. Every guide has them. Live and learn as they say…

With Sportsmen

E. O. Greenleaf, Esq., of Farmington, was in town last week. While here he thought how nice it would be to take home a monster moose or a fine buck. He took Marsh Carlton as guide, but refused Landlord Marble’s suggestion to take blankets, and only after repeated urging would he take long his ulster. The destination was Greeley Pond, where there was a camp, or once had been; it was open in spots, and such spots were everywhere. When night came, cold came too. The ulster was in demand, only there wasn’t enough of it. There was a stove, lots of wood, but too much cold. By constantly hovering over the stove, they were alive in the morning. They got no moose or deer but, they got lots of cold, and when the keen attorney left town, he hadn’t got fairly warmed.

An “ulster” is a gentleman’s long overcoat and the “Landlord Marble” mentioned was John B. Marble the owner of the Rangeley Lake House. Marble at the time was preparing to move his entire 3 story hotel. It was jacked up upon timbers and dragged by 40 teams of horse from Main St. out to his pasture on the point located on the eastern shore of City Cove. Quite an undertaking at the time…at anytime for that matter!.

Redington was once a small logging village serviced by the narrow-gauge railway that featured a large sawmill which employed quite a few workers. It was called “Sawdust City” for a time. Snow was essential to moving logs from stump to processing, of course, and just as we await snow today to ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and still harvest timber upon, but at least the food was better in 1895 than in the “old days”…

John B.Marbles’ Original Rangeley Lake House when originally located on Main St. before being moved to it’s lakeside location in the winter of 1895/96. Photo courtesy of the Rangeley lakes Historical Society

News From Redington

Not enough snow for logging to advantage yet. The men as well as the Company are anxiously waiting for it. They have choice beef at the camps, shipped direct from Swift Bros. What a change from the old-time logging camps when the men saw nothing but salt pork. (Also, in the “News from Reddington” was this missive about a logging horse with a mind of its own) Jack Toothaker had two large horses at the station Monday, ready for shipment to Dead River for use at Sylvester’s Camp. One of them walked into the box car quietly, the other one could not make up its mind whether to go in or go on top. Jack coaxed, pulled, petted and urged, others pushed and lifted. It was no use; then stratagem was tried and the horse was backed to the door, but further than that she refused to go. Oats were used to persuade her to lower her head below the top of the car. She was thankful for the oats but failed to respond as was desired. After repeated attempts the car was run back and an entrance tried from the ground. A few failures and then success crowned the attempt. Somehow the halters got confused and there was a smashing and jumping inside the car and a rushing and jumping among the lookers on outside. Quiet was restored, the conductor called, “All aboard” and no one got left.

Well, it’s here people. Winter has arrived in the western mountains of Maine. Gone are those strange days we were frequently blessed by over the past two months. The unseasonably high daytime temps allowed the procrastinator to get those last few Fall chores completed. The raw bone Northwest prevailing winds make it feel so much colder and we are reminded of why all those neighbors “flew south” a few weeks back. However, I embrace it (and what choice do we have?) because it heralds the snowfalls to come, and I love snow. The great painter Andrew Wyeth once said, “I prefer winter and Fall when you feel the bone structure of the landscape–the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it. The whole story doesn’t show.” The following poem, found on Page 6, was written locally and wonderfully captures a unique feature of the transition to winter we all know and some of us enjoy…

The North Winds

List to what the North winds say,

As through the valley they rush and roar,

Hark, as it passes along and hear,

How it brings us news from the Arctic shore.

List to what the North winds say

As they sweep along from the snow clad hills

They tell us the time has now arrived

To seal up the rivers, the streams and rills

List to what the North winds say,

As they whistle through the leafless trees,

They sway the branches as if in glee,

And pass along as a gentle breeze.

List to what the North winds say,

Now as they whisper soft and low,

They bring a chill in their icy breath,

We know they tell us of Winter’s snow,

List to what the North winds say,

When clouds are flying so dark and drear,

They softly sing through the waving pines

They tell us that Winter is almost here

-Phillips, Me., Ann.

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