What follows appeared in the “October 1958” edition of the Rangeley Highlander and shares a few of the “various goings on” in the region at the time.

(Bill’s commentary noted in italics. The first item has been redacted slightly for space reasons, otherwise all text reprinted just as it was 65 years ago).

Tractor Climbs Saddleback Mountain

Fire tower at Saddleback

The wheel has conquered Saddleback Mountain! This historic event was brought about by the Forest Service in its efforts to get materials up to the fire tower to rebuild the cab on top of the tower. Chief Fire Warden Kenneth Hinkley was “leader of the expedition” ably assisted by Forest Service Patrolman Don Wilcox, and Willis Bean, Wendell Steward employed by the D. C. Morton Corporation piloted the tractor. The actual building of the cab was done by Chief Warden Hinkley, Wayland Williams and Saddleback tower man Robert Libby. Members of the Forest Service computed that it would take 35 man-trips to backpack the materials up the 4116-foot mountain plus the materials that could be dropped from an airplane. Patrolman Don Wilcox believed that a route which a log tractor could negotiate up the mountain could be found. He spent several days cruising the mountain to lay out a route. Then nearly a week of trail swamping with chain saws was necessary before the attempt could be made. The new tractor route up the mountain starts from Rock Pond Road just before you get to Rock Pond. It took 4 and a half hours for the tractor to go from the point 12 miles above Rock Pond to the Fire tower. It took only 1 hour to come down. Two trips were made hauling approximately 1000 pounds of materials up the mountain each time. The time used in the trips up was necessary because the load had to be winched up the greater part of the steepest area. On the second trip before which about 1 inch of rain had fallen additional difficulty was encountered. The earth became so slippery that at one point it was necessary to turn the John Deere around and winch it up the slope then winch the load up after it. Warden Hinkley said he was surprised at the amount of soil to be found on the steep side of the mountain. Two facts that are of great significance for the Saddleback Ski development are; one, the amount of soil high on the mountain and two, the fact that tractors can get up the mountain. When the ski lift is installed, it will be necessary to transport a large quantity of heavy machinery to the top of the mountain. It now appears that this will be easier than anticipated. The men were delayed in their work in building the tower because of the wind. Gales of up to 60 miles an hour blew for 6 days and nights straight. The job which they expected to do in 3 days took 9. This is on the most exposed section of the mountain.

The effort described above replaced the original “cab” or building on the original Saddleback Fire Tower built long before with all the materials being packed up the mountain. The Civilian Conservation Corps. (circa 1938) built the trail and bridges fording the streams).

Ski Lift Development on Bald Mountain


According to reliable Oquossoc, sources, there is renewed activity and interest among several Oquossoc business men in the development of Bald Mountain as a ski slope. Several meetings have been held and the group is quite enthusiastic about the possibilities of creating a ski development in the western end of the Town. This development has been under consideration for some time. It is generally thought that it will be a real contribution to the welfare of the region if the project can be carried through. The initiators of the project can be assured of the whole-hearted support of the entire region.

(As we now know, it did come about and if you want to learn more about both Bald Mountain and Saddleback’s early ski history, check out the exhibit at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc).

(Below, the text from a full-page ad on page 3)

BUY SHARES in the Rangeley Saddleback Corp.

Par value $10.00 per share!

The Winter Vacation Resources of the Rangeley Region are TREMENDOUS. We have the mountains and the lodges to make the Rangeley Region a compact Winter Vacation Community. The crowded facilities at other ski areas nearby guarantee a large volume of business in the Rangeley Region. The potential is far greater than anything in our illustrious past. This is a business opportunity you cannot afford to pass by.

(You’ll never see something like this below on page 2 of the New York Times).

Seems like everyone has kittens to give away, notably Percy Ellis again and Rose Turmenne at Bald Mountain Camps, who has a bunch of fuzzy little white ones running around.

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