What follows contains a smattering of “shorts” that appeared in the September 3, 1896, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper.

 (Contemporary commentary shared in Italics, otherwise reprinted just as it was in 1896).

With Sportsmen

Here below an early record of fish conservation measures in the region. Initiatives such as these probably helped save Rangeley’s future as an angling destination…

There is to be a hearing before the Commissioners of Inland Fish and Game at the Upper Dam, Wednesday Sept 9, to see if the petition asking that the stream from the dam at the outlet of Mooselookmeguntic Lake to the Mollychunkamunk Lake be closed to all but fly fishing.

Mollychunkamunk Lake is now known as Upper Richardson. Lower Richardson was known as Welikennabacook.  I personally am in favor of restoring the old titles, especially as the “Richardson” moniker was installed by none other than George Richardson himself who had purchased the surrounding 24,000 acres townships for a measly $2956.00. After renaming things after himself he resold the lands a year or so later at a tidy profit.


Here below are some of the MANY examples of why the spawning fish needed protection…

  1. Farwell, Esq., of Providence, R. I., took a trip, Friday, to Billy Soule’s Pleasant Island Camps and from thence to Toothaker cove nearby. When Mr. Farwell returned to the Rangeley Lake House, he was told that he had the handsomest string of trout that had ever been brought to the House. There were J3 weighing 18 lbs. Two of them weighed 2 lbs. each. Mr. Farwell has been coming here for 33 years.
  2. L. Lutkins had fine luck at South Bog, taking, one day, 18 trout, nine of them weighing 14 fts. Another day he took 11, nine of them weighing 18 fts. At Middle Dam he took a 4X ft- trout. He expects to return about the middle of September for a week or ten days. C. L. Harnden was his guide.

(Thankfully, killing pre-spawn breeders like this is now verboten in the region. And, in this section a peculiar sea serpent sighting).

The sad demise of a Mine woodland caribou at Hurricane Pond and E. R. Starbird

About every week a new story of seeing or capturing a sea serpent arrives. The latest is from the Gulf of Mexico, fifty feet long and six feet around. It was only a young one which accounts for its small size. Cannot some of our guides discover one in some nearby pond that will beat it?

Captain Barker’s new steamer “Florence” was launched Saturday. It was the intention to have got her into water Friday, but the work was delayed. The regulation bottle was broken on the prow by the captain’s daughter, Florence, as the boat went down the ways. Captain Howard says she will be a fine one. A large number were present.

(Ironically sad is the fact that Capt. Fred Barker’s wife was also named Florence. She had died giving birth to their daughter Florence mentioned above. And below some uncommon wildlife sightings were shared…

The Steamer Florence at the pier in Bemis. E. R. Starbird

Bert Taylor, of Dead River, saw a moose on the horseback beyond the Dead River bridge, and a caribou crossing the track near the Dead River station, Monday forenoon.

  1. Starbird, the photographer from Brunswick, saw the tracks of two caribou which had crossed the railroad track after the morning shower, just beyond the Dead River carriage road, only two miles from Rangeley.

(Starbird was perhaps Rangeley’s most prolific and noted early photographic chroniclers. It is interesting to note that both Moose and Caribou were becoming rare sites in the region by 1896 due to over-hunting. Caribou were also losing vast swaths of 1st growth forest habitat which were vital to their existence here in Maine. Relics sharing the legacies of Captain Barker, the steamship Florence as well as Maine’s now extirpated caribou can be viewed at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc).

Have a great week everyone and be sure to get out and make some great Rangeley History of your own!

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