Snapshots in Time – Camp Among the Clouds

I hope you enjoy these clippings found in the July 18, 1895 edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper. The world is a little crazy right now, so take a minute or two to fire up your imagination as to what Rangeley once was and be sure to have fun creating your own story! Who knows, maybe someone around 127 will post it!

(Bill’s comments in italics, otherwise the copy has been reprinted as it was in 1895).

Camp among the clouds

Rangeley, July 14.—Prof. Frederick V. Coville, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, with Frank Hewey, guide, were recent guests of Martin L. Fuller, at Camp Among the Clouds, Saddleback Ponds. They went on the newly completed new trail to the top of Mount Saddleback. Professor Coville found many arctic alpine plants and showed me the Greenland chickweed, Alpine holly, mountain cranberry, arctic rush, arctic roses, etc. and many others whose scientific names I can’t remember. His aneroid barometer indicated an elevation of 4400 feet above sea level. He was very pleased with his trip and was surprised to find so much of the mountain so far above the timber line and so well traveling on the summit, there was about two miles long and half a mile wide of bare ledge. without obstructing the view. They could see the whole of the Lake Rangeley and Dead River regions, and far as far as Farmington, Weld and other places too numerous to mention. They found a miniature pond at the top and a very cool spring in the saddle.

(Frederick Vernon Coville was an American botanist and curator of the National Herbarium of the United States (1893-1937). He served as chief botanist for the United States Department of Agriculture and was the first director of the National Arboretum of the United States. He made numerous contributions to botany and helped shape the American science policy of the day in plant research and exploration).

From the article titled “Local Paragraphs”:

Summer boarders are late this season, but hotels have all their rooms booked for the end of this month and all of August. (To this day, so goes the tourism-driven economy, so goes Rangeley).

Many Rangeley residents took the narrow gauge line to Farmington to watch the ‘well advertised’ Sells Bros circus.

Sells Brothers Circus was the best advertised show of the season. (Hmmm? Guess the show itself wasn’t all it was made out to be.)

A bit of excitement on Saturday morning was sparked by a couple of dogs who imagined they wanted to fight. (Hilarious that THIS is doing the paper).

Rangeley mineral spring water is gaining in sales, those who have used it know its good quantities and continue it. (And as Poland Spring might say… You ain’t seen nothing yet!)

Saturday’s rain washed away a lot of hay. It had threatened to rain so many times lately that the farmers had started thinking about the old wolf story, so they kept cutting. (Just imagine the labor needed in the days before mechanized farming, the hours of labor needed to cut hay with a sickle, rake it, fork it onto a wagon and then cram it into the hayloft of a barn! So YES, the rain that can mold a crop was a big deal and therefore worthy of interest).

At Monday’s hearing, regarding the two gallons of alcohol libeled by Sheriff Esty, Judge Smith ordered that it be detained and returned to the country (dumped on the ground) as ordered by law. Mr. Ross appealed the decision. (Truly a gratuitous crime of waste by the government!)

(Below is a story from elsewhere, which shares the common amusement of the locals at the expense of the neophyte sportsman).

A Boston Nan’s Adventure with a Bear

He was new to the woods and his nerves lacked the firmness so necessary for personal courage. He had an elegant fishing rod that must have cost a handsome figure, and many yards of silk thread with which he expected to make such artistic “throws” that the eyes of the compatriots would be amazed. Having been taught by an expert in the privacy of his Massachusetts home, he thought he knew how to do it. Night was so close when he entered the camp with his guides that he barely had time to orient himself. But early the next morning he was restless and thought he was going to run to the lake while the guides were having breakfast. He walked quietly through the dew-covered forest, assembling his rod and adjusting the line as he went. He went over in his head the instructions on how to hold his line, like a lasso, to make a cast, and wound it up in loops, about fifty or sixty feet away, so he was ready for a cast when he came to the shore. His pleasurable anticipations were suddenly interrupted by a backward object which came striding into the path a few yards in front of him and rose on his haunches, sniffing the air with the peculiar sound which hunters call “hissing.” His whole attitude seemed to say, “I smell like the blood of a Boston man.” With a cry of terror, the fisherman turned and ran towards the camp. His gold mounted fish rod ended up between his legs and alas shattered to pieces, and the silk line – well, when he came out of the woods in the presence of the guides, his broken rod trailing behind him, they unrolled as well as they could and in about half an hour freed him from the tangled mass. He was scared almost out of his wits, and nothing would do but they have to pack up and leave the woods immediately. He headed to Boston and will not return to Maine until the bears are exterminated.

Have a great week everyone and don’t let the bears scare you away as you make your own Rangeley story!

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