Below the reader will please find two articles found in the March 12,1896 edition of the RANGELEY LAKES. Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby had approached the president of the Maine Central Railroad (M.C.R.R.) to propose that she lead a delegation of Rangeley Guides to promote Maine sporting travel at the coming New York Sporting Exposition to be held in Madison Square Garden. Her idea was to set up an actual Maine cabin in the famous area complete with furnishings, cedar boughs, equipment, and full game and fish mounts. Larger renditions in the years to follow featured a full mount of a bull moose and stocked fish tanks! Crosby staffed the exhibit with the best story-telling guides she knew. The M.C.R.R. boss had agreed to fund it all knowing full well that travel to Western Maine would be undertaken on his Railroad. As they say…the rest was History! The first article shares the cabin’s beginning out in the wintry woods of Kennebago. The second…a sampling of the wit and wisdom to be found in casual conversation at the show itself, by none other than the famous Ed Grant. Ed, Freeman Tibbetts and Rufe Crosby, who both could spin impressive yarns themselves, all joined “Fly Rod” in the effort that was a huge success. It is said that when they arrived in New York, they were “nearly drowned in invitations to dinner from their past “sports” and huge crowds formed around their exhibits to hear stories from the place they most loved to hunt and fish.

(All text reprinted just as it appeared in 1896, otherwise Bill’s commentary appears in italics)

 “The Maine Camp.”
Thursday of last week Ed Grant invited RANGELEY LAKES to take a drive out into the woods, to see the completed log cabin before it was taken down to be shipped to the Sportsmen’s Exposition in New York. It is needless to say that the invitation was accepted and over the hills, over the drifts, through the fences and through the woods you go for a few miles, when all at once out popped “The Maine Camp” from behind a fir tree and you see it in all its primitive glory.
It is a little beauty, 12 by 14 feet inside, just as you see it here. Ed Grant, the builder, was there to welcome you, only at the time of our visit there was “no admission,” for the door had not been cut out, and had you climbed the walls and dropped down inside, there was “standing room only,” for the seats had not been built. The proprietor showed us about and explained the whys and wherefores. It was so cold that lye would freeze, consequently there were no untruthful stories told by the man who wears a Washington medal and a miniature hatchet.
(vintage awards for honesty).
The bark is all shaved from the logs, the chinks closed with moss, the chimney is built outside and will have an opening cut into it from inside the camp, which, after lining with flat stones, will be the fire-place. A bunk, filled with fir boughs, will be added. Working on the camp were Freman Tibbetts, whom visitors to the cabin in New York will find ready and willing to talk about, and explain, why the Rangeleys present the strongest attractions for visitors. Rufe Crosby was building the chimney. Unlike a regular chimney builder, he works on the ground and then transfers his logs to their places. Will Grant, son of Ed, was sawing off the rafters, and Ed?…oh, he was drawing characters on the logs. He called them “figures” because you know “figures won’t lie,” so he must have been mistaken. He thinks that through the aid of those same figures he can rebuild the camp in New York. (Madison Square Garden).
(This next piece appeared on the same page and shares the savvy satire and homespun humor that a visitor to the “Maine Cabin” or Ed Grant’s camps could expect. His Beaver Pond Camps are now private and known as the Megantic Club). Ed would go on to start Grant’s Camps at Kennebago.

Fly Rod Crosby cabin

Beaver Pond Lore 

Scene : Madison Square Garden, New York. .
Time : During the Sportsmen’s Exposition
Characters: Ed. Grant, Proprietor of Beaver Pond Camp, Guide, Yarn Spinner, etc., etc.
Adolphus Homeboy, A wouldbe Sportsman. Adolphus: “Oh! say, Mr, Grant, how does one reach your famous camps?”
Ed: “If you can’t fly, you have to ride, walk, go on foot, buckboard, then by steamer, row boat, sail or swim.”
(After Adolphus explained that he may need to manage his business affairs while there, Ed shared that it was “possible to send a telegram” via courier traveling in the same fashion back to Rangeley).
Adolphus: “Why, you are quite metropolitan in the matter of outside communications. I was not aware of it. My conception of your locality was that it was more retired in the heart of the forest primeval.”
Ed: “You don’ t say. Well I declare.”
Adolphus: “And Mr. Grant, are there numerous species of the finny tribe in the surrounding waters of your locality ?”
Ed: “ Wa’l, yes we take species, but you’d better carry greenbacks, they don’t weigh quite so much, and freight comes high. And No, there’s no funny tribe up there. We never even smile.”
Adolphus: I fail to comprehend, but are there no fish at Seven Ponds?”
Ed: “FISH? Why, my dear Sir, we have to keep the ponds fenced to prevent the fish from invading the camps and biting our guests!”
Adolphus: “Why, I had no idea they were so plenteous as that. Are there ever any accidents to visitors about there?”
Ed: “Well Sir, I never knew but one, that was a man who went out rowing and got over in that part of the pond where the uneducated trout live, and they began to jump into his boat. It got so full that it sank. We never found any part of him, save that one day I saw a trout sitting on a log near the shore, smoking a pipe that I thought formerly belonged to him.”
Adolphus: “ Why, how dreadful!  What do you think became of him, Mr. Grant?”
Ed: “ Can’t say for certain, he was a stranger and they just took him in.”
Adolphus: “What is thought to be the best bait to use in that region?”
Ed: “Oh, none of us are above taking gold, silver or even greenbacks, it doesn’t much matter which.”

(Have a great week everyone, and please, in the spirit of Ed Grant, be patient and kind to the visiting Flatlanders).

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