The Mountain View House formerly located in Oquossoc, before and after the mentioned renovations in 1897.

What follows was found in the January 2, 1896 edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper and confirms the timeless adage “everything that is old is new again”. The similarities between what was happening in Rangeley 153 years ago and today are illustrated by the article found on page one written by the editor Harry P. Dill. In 1896 Rangeley was experiencing a boom in summer visitors. The locals were waiting on snow for a different economic impact…logging, although still helpful today in hauling out logs, snow cover was a must for twitching and hauling out back then. Today, it is of course of snowmobiling and skiing that add additional and vital economic impacts to Rangeley’s economy. Just as it is today the efforts to house more recreational visitors was on the increase. There is mention of tough economic times and that it was not affecting “that class of people who are not affected by the hard times”, which is still clearly the case today as reflected by how long a lakefront listing remains on the market with numerous offers above the asking price. The most spot-on similarity reflected was the construction boom going on, just as it is today. Many more “new folks from away” were building second homes in the Rangeley Lakes. Those that could afford it were doing just that and just like today, it illustrates how smart those folks were because for lifestyle, natural beauty and charm…then and now…it’s hard to beat Rangeley!

(Pierce’s commentary shared in italics, otherwise the copy has been reprinted here just as it was in 1896).

New Year’s Greeting. The old year has left us, but as we greet the strange newcomer who takes his place, it is fitting that we should take a slight review of what we owe to 1895. It has been a season of great prosperity for Rangeley, whose business ventures lie principally with that class of people who are not affected by the hard times. Many changes have taken place which could not have been predicted on this day, a year ago. It may have been known to the proprietors of the Rangeley Lake House that the “place that they then knew it, would know it no more” ere ten months had passed, but to others it’s status was a secret, and great was the surprise, as the house left its moorings and took its new and commanding position by the lake. A position in which its name is now particularly appropriate (John Marble moved the RLH from Main St. to the point above City Cove and added a large addition). A large two-story building has been built by Henry Tibbetts & Son, will occupy the lower part as a blacksmith and wood working shop, while the upper story is rented by C. W. Barrett, as a manufactory of boats (located on Main St. near Doc Grants) . The large steam mill has been put in order, the logs that are in the lake have been sawed into lumber, and the proprietors are only waiting for snow to resume work. Among the new houses are those built by Charles Neal, Dr. Ross, John Wilbur and Simon Oakes, while Mrs. Sarah Soule has converted an old house into a new one, and Dr. Currier has built a new stable. Three new cottages have been built, J. B. Marble of Rangeley, W. A. Faunce, of Atlantic City, N. J., W. F. Belcher, of Farmington, and the Bonney’s of the latter place have built a stable near their cottage (several well-ensconced Rangeley names in that list). A new schoolhouse has been built in the Quimby district, and furnished in modern style, and the furniture of our village school has also been replaced by that more suited to the times (Of course today’s Rangeley School has also received important upgrades and refurbishment). There are many other minor improvements, in fact the spirit of progress is abroad in our pretty village, and there seems to be a friendly rivalry to see which shall outdo the other (another timeless human behavior). The building boom seems to have struck Rangeley and vicinity very hard, for as far away as the foot of the lake is heard the sound of hammer and saw as Landlord Bowley stretches his hospitable roof (Mountain View House) to take in the ever-increasing throng of summer visitors. It is to be hoped the coming spring may be an early one, for the guests of this popular hotel, and the admirers of the old Rangeley Lake House will be so anxious to see their favorite resorts in their new dress, that they will hardly be able to wait for the welcome news; “The ice is out of Rangeley Lake!” And lastly Rangeley has her own newspaper, devoted to the interests of the town in which it so firmly believes as one of the most progressive and go-ahead-towns in the State. (And the paper you are reading is just as devoted to “the interests of the town” today) We adventure to hope that after its seven months of existence it would now be missed. But be that as it may, Rangeley Lakes wishes health, wealth and happiness to all its readers, together with A Happy New Year.

Just to add emphasis to the abnormal lack of snow at the time, (and unfortunately TODAY) these excerpts from Page 2…

Base Ball on Christmas

An exciting game of Base ball was played Christmas day at West Freeman. The players were from the Mile square and about Freeman. It was a hot game and considering the time of the year a remarkable one. In the evening there was a Christmas tree and entertainment which was very pleasant. Christmas 1895 will be long remembered by us all in this place.

“Base ball”- still two words after the passing of 30 plus years since its invention during the Civil War by Abner Doubleday. The game was hugely popular in Rangeley with a league comprised of teams from all the hotels competing throughout the summer. Fans, many summer-long guests and players often traveled by steamer on the lakes to ‘away’ games.

Phillips Locals

It cannot be remembered when snow could not be seen in some direction from Phillips at this season of the year until the present time. Such December weather was never known before, that is the hubbub of the “oldest inhabitants”. The ground does not even freeze at night. The Sandy River was on a rampage again Friday morning (in Phillips). When the ice went out last week, quite a lot of it lodged on the bridge. It shows quite a hole that was broken through the planking. It has since “moved on”.  The Rangeley train, Friday morning, was covered with snow. It looked queer, as here it had been a heavy warm rain.

Have a safe and Happy New Year and Think Snow!

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