The following installments appeared in the May 13,1897, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper. We begin with an autobiographical poem by Rangeley’s one and only Ed Grant. It shares a long held secret shared with his son, Will, while breathing his last regarding his secret weapon fishing fly. Grant was a superb guide, woodsman and pioneering entrepreneur here in Rangeley.  It is well established that Ed’s greatest talent was as a very entertaining story-teller. He attended many sport shows up and down the east coast at the behest of Fly Rod Crosby because there were none better.  I cannot imagine what it must have been like to sit around a campfire after a day of superb hunting and fishing in the glory days of Rangeley while Ed Grant “held court”!  

(Contemporary commentary shared in Italics). 


“The Beaver Terror.”  

Ed Grant lay dying on his bed, a faithful son stood by,  

To cheer this Washington of Guides, who could not tell a lie. 



All his life he’d roamed the woods and fished the waters round,  

Shot deer that weighed a ton, when dressed, caught trout of just ten pounds. 


Oh, father dear, the lad exclaimed, before you breathe your last,  

Make known to me, the bait you used, or sort of fly you cast. 



Such as you tell about in camp, when visitors are by,  

For pulling out those monstrous trout, that ne’er meet sportsman’s eye 


That sends them off to dream of whales, and dolphins playing round,  

And they go out to catch, next day, a mere twenty to the pound. 



Gome hither, son, the father said, and whispered in his ear, 

I charge you keep this secret well, when I am gone from here. 


Fetch hither, now yon time worn pack, and you Will find within,  

The secret of my great success, wrapped in a beaver skin. 



The package opened by the boy, with eager, trembling hand,  

Contained the richest, rarest fly, of this or any land. 


Use this he murmured, every time, you’ll never make an error,  

You ask its name? I call this Fly, for short, the ‘‘Beaver Terror.”  



And then the good man passed away, and with the truthful he slept,  

And many years the “Terror Fly” was a secret kept. 


But by degrees, as such things do, the mystery leaked out.  

Till now, no guide, would stoop to take less than a ten pound trout. 



He simply takes this little gnat and trails it even o’er the ice,  

First having cut a good-sized hole, and trimmed its edges nice,  


When from the depths, in eager haste, there rolls the monster trout,  

But soon he “passes in his checks.” As the “Terror’s” in his snout.  



MORAL: Now gentle reader, take a hint and forswear all other flies,  

Use “Beaver Terrors” every day, and always scorn to tell fish lies.  


ADDERDA: Ed did not die. He’s still alive, and living in the flesh,  

The Specter Grim, got after him, but Grant slipped through the mesh.  



He laughs and tells of his escape, on that eventful day,  

And says it proves, as often is told, “The BIG ONES always get away.” 

The ‘one and only’ Ed Grant relaxing with a cigar and a beverage and undoubtably ready to share a story.

(What a hoot he was. We should all be so grounded as to be able to write a poem about ourselves in our last hours. Just to reveal a well-kept secret of our angling success and in such a tongue-in-cheek style. A special talent to be sure. BUT WHAT DOES THAT FLY LOOK LIKE? Someone out there must know, but I bet they aren’t sayin’). 

(Below please find an interesting prediction shared 127 years ago). 

What is the Future of Rangeley?  

Of course, predictions are mere guesses, but there are questions that the answers to which, can be guessed very accurately. The above is one of them and the answer, invariably, is that it must grow into a large town. The march of improvement cannot be checked. Those, if there are any, bolding antiquated ideas that, like Sampson of old, they can command the sun (other ways Rangeley) to stand still, they might as well give up such notions, and join the procession and get as near the band wagon as possible, or they will find themselves at the tail end and there will not be left “standing room” even. Every year we see more and more visitors, both sporting and boarders. The town should be able to take care of them all, let ho one be shut out for want of accommodations. The starting of the lodge of Knights of Pythias is one long stride ahead, with a suitable hall, will come other orders and even though secret, everyone is benefitted, more or less. The society of the town is elevated through them, and those that are composed of both sexes will add much. Not much can be said about beautifying the houses, for there is not another town in the State that has anywhere near so many nice houses, in proportion to the inhabitants, as this place. There will be no backward steps in this. The town is gaining in inhabitants and wealth every year; it will continue to do this and the increase will, in a very few years, make it one of the largest towns in the county.  

At the time, Rangeley experienced new construction as well as the expansion of existing lodging properties and summer homes annually. Two railroads would eventually service the region and fleets of passenger steamers plied all its major lakes accommodating the hoards of visitors. Therefore, it’s easy to see the author’s vision. However, the natural resources and fisheries saw a decline due to unregulated exploitation, the automobile changed how people vacationed forever and the expected “growth” subsided. I for one believe that was a good thing, although always economically challenging for many. To this day, Rangeley’s “growth” has ebbed and flowed. We will see how her year-round citizens manage in whatever lies ahead. If anything “Lakers”, come boom or bust, have always figured things out. And THAT is just one of the qualities that make Rangeley a very special place. Have a great week everyone! 

Comments are not available on this story.