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Umbazooksus and Beyond: The Allagash and Lobster Lake

This slideshow contains 42 items
1
Emmie Bailey Whitney at Katahdin, ca. 1930s

Emmie Bailey Whitney at Katahdin, ca. 1930s

Item 12872 info
Maine Historical Society

VISIT THE MAINE WOODS

"'Back to Nature!' This is no mere fad, no hollow shibboleth. It is the quintessence of common sense ... It means drinking in the ozone of the evergreens, the constant exercise of all the muscles of the body and not merely a few, as in the city. Above all things it means a complete change from the routine of business life."

The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad's dramatic description of Maine in 1910 was meant to promote the railroad by encouraging tourism.

In response, numerous men and women heeded the call and ventured to the mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests of the Pine Tree State at the turn of the twentieth century.


2
Cornelia Crosby, Moosehead Lake, ca. 1895

Cornelia Crosby, Moosehead Lake, ca. 1895

Item 15315 info
Maine Historical Society

The railroads were at the forefront of promoting tourism.

The Bangor and Aroostook published a yearly booklet with feature articles and photos, a map, and advertisements that were compelling invitations to the Maine woods.

The Central Maine Railroad hired Cornelia "Fly Rod" Crosby to help it promote travel to the Maine woods.

Crosby (1854-1946) had taken up hunting and fishing to improve her health. The Phillips native became the first licensed Maine guide in 1897.


3
New York Sportsman's Show booth, 1897

New York Sportsman's Show booth, 1897

Item 17572 info
Phillips Historical Society

Crosby also is credited with coining the slogan "Maine: the Nation's Playground."

She organized a Maine exhibit at the first Sportsman's Show in New York in 1895 and at several subsequent shows.

Visitors also heard about the Maine woods from numerous books -- fiction and nonfiction -- that regaled the adventures one might have in the state.


4
Lumbermen and Sportsmen's Map, 1894

Lumbermen and Sportsmen's Map, 1894

Item 17573 info
Maine Historical Society

Maps and the railroad tour books helped potential visitors decide where they might want to go and how to get there.

Still, travelers often hired guides to help them negotiate the many waterways, find the best hunting and fishing spots, set up campsites, and prepare food.

About 1,700 guides were licensed in 1897, the year the state began issuing licenses. There were no tests; guides were approved by game wardens.


5
Louis Annance, Greenville, ca. 1870

Louis Annance, Greenville, ca. 1870

Item 17721 info
Maine Historical Society

Many travelers hired Indian guides from Old Town or Greenville.

Louis Annance, a St. Francis Indian and a noted guide, moved to the Greenville area about 1840 and worked as a guide, hunter, trapper, and butcher.

He died in 1875.


6
My Debt to Maine, Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

My Debt to Maine, Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

Item 5997 info
Maine Historical Society

Famous visitors often wrote about their Maine experiences, further helping to promote tourism in the woods.

Among the most famous was Henry David Thoreau, who traveled to the region three times. His account, The Maine Woods, was published in 1864, two years after his death.

Shortly before his death, Theodore Roosevelt, the consummate early twentieth century outdoors enthusiast, wrote "My Debt to the State of Maine."

He described boyhood trips to Island Falls in Aroostook County and his stays with the Sewall family, as well as his adventure climbing Katahdin.


7
Henry Withee, Rockport, ca. 1915

Henry Withee, Rockport, ca. 1915

Item 15409 info
Maine Historical Society

DOWN THE ALLAGASH

". . . almost everybody, except a few abnormal unfortunates, has a natural love of living in the open, of the woods, and for the wild things that inhabit them."

So Henry Laureston Withee (1876-1925) wrote while recounting his Allagash canoe trip in 1911.

Withee, of Rockland, and his friend Horace A. Bailey, of Boston, had been talking about and planning the trip for several years before undertaking it in July 1911.


8
Allagash trip diary, 1911

Allagash trip diary, 1911

Item 17311 info
Maine Historical Society

After their nine-day adventure, Withee wrote an account of the trip that reveals his sense of humor as well as his desire to escape urban life and experience personal challenges that only the wilderness could provide.

Withee was a native of Blanchard, on the banks of the East Branch of the Piscataquis River, where his mother ran a hotel for lumbermen.

His father and grandfather had been Maine woodsmen.


9
Railroad map of Northern Maine, 1910

Railroad map of Northern Maine, 1910

Item 17574 info
Maine Historical Society

Withee and Bailey probably met at Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston, a prep school geared toward low-income Maine students.

Withee also graduated from Colby College in 1901, then worked as a high school principal for several years before going to Harvard Law School in 1905.

He practiced law in Boston from 1907 to 1911 when he opened a law practice in Rockland.


10
River drivers, West Branch, Penobscot River, 1911

River drivers, West Branch, Penobscot River, 1911

Item 15404 info
Maine Historical Society

Horace A. "Hod" Bailey, a native of Howland, was seven years younger than Withee. He graduated from Higgins in 1903.

Bailey was a lumber salesman in the Boston area when he and Withee planned their Allagash trip.

They studied railroad promotional books and maps and read other Maine woods literature.


11
Horace Bailey, West Branch Penobscot River, 1911

Horace Bailey, West Branch Penobscot River, 1911

Item 15410 info
Maine Historical Society

Withee typed and bound his account of the pair's Allagash adventure, "Down the Allagash."

He inscribed the book, "To H.A.B. Competent Woodsman, Cheerful Dishwasher, Willing Worker and Agreeable Companion, this book is heartily dedicated."

He labeled it "An Edition de Luxe of two copies, of which this is Number 1 of the series."

Excerpts from his account follow.


12
Portage, West Branch Penobscot River, 1911

Portage, West Branch Penobscot River, 1911

Item 14057 info
Maine Historical Society

July 6, 1911

"Before starting, we had resolved to do the trip as befitted men accustomed to the woods. We were not to employ a guide, we would tote our canoe and duffle across every carry without aid of any sort, sleep every night under our own shelter and cook and eat our own grub.

"We kept all but three of these resolutions."


13
Camp on West Branch, 1911

Camp on West Branch, 1911

Item 14058 info
Maine Historical Society

July 6, 1911

"We arrived at the lake at seven, took the canoe on our shoulders and started back, replying chestily to some drummers who sat on the store steps.

"Our gait was brisk until we got into the woods out of sight of the store - then, with perfect accord, we cast the canoe from us and sat down by the road.

"That craft was scheduled to weigh sixty-five pounds. It deserved excess baggage charge of two hundred pounds more, in our opinion."


14
Lobster Lake, 1911

Lobster Lake, 1911

Item 14059 info
Maine Historical Society

July 7, 1911

". . . Hod came in sight, dirty and haggard with his six-mile tramp in the fierce heat.

"His face lighted up when he saw the soup and he sat down while I started to lift it off the cross-stick.

"At this instant one of the supporting sticks gave way and there in the tote-road lay every last drop of the erbswurst!

"It was a moment of profound sorrow."


15
Camp, Lobster Lake, 1911

Camp, Lobster Lake, 1911

Item 17549 info
Maine Historical Society

July 7, 1911

"We reviewed the events of the longest and hardest day we have ever spent, then when our pipes were out and the fire extinguished, we drew the blankets about us and lay down to perfect sleep."


16
In the dry kie, Chesuncook Lake, 1911

In the dry kie, Chesuncook Lake, 1911

Item 17550 info
Maine Historical Society

July 8, 1911

"I think it safe to say we had an hour which would satisfy the heart of any man who loves action and excitement. It was dangerous sport, however.

"Once we pulled to the shore, jumped out, and picked the canoe clear from the water just in time to escape an enormous spruce which had pursued us down the falls."


17
Mud Pond portage, 1911

Mud Pond portage, 1911

Item 13417 info
Maine Historical Society

July 8, 1911

"- we went directly north across the upper end of the lake [Chesuncook] toward the mouth of Umbazooksus (pronounced Am-zux-us) Stream."

"We had hurdled log-jams, raced rapids with the big spruce, played tag with the monarchs of the forest and covered twenty miles. It had been a great day."


18
Noon Lunch, Eagle Lake, 1911

Noon Lunch, Eagle Lake, 1911

Item 17553 info
Maine Historical Society

July 10, 1911

"As we entered Churchill Lake we were again struck with the beauty of the county.

"Here, the surrounding hills were higher; to the northeast stood purple Allagash Mountain; at the left, as we rounded a point running into the lake, was a long curved beach with a deer standing motionless on the white sand, its red body reflected in the water; the whole, a picture which alone repaid all our efforts."


19
Chase's Carry, 1911

Chase's Carry, 1911

Item 17555 info
Maine Historical Society

July 10, 1911

"Chase's Carry was marked as next on the map, but we had been told it could be run without taking out.

"We speedily found out all about the place. ... If any person wishes to qualify as to endurance and skill, let him present an affidavit of having gone through Chase's Carry without mishap ... I believe there is no equal stretch of rough going in Maine."


20
Sail up Long Lake, 1911

Sail up Long Lake, 1911

Item 17557 info
Maine Historical Society

July 11, 1911

"It was astonishing how my grub lasted, even though we had pretty brisk appetites. The biblical loaves did not go much farther than mine.

"Horace offered to bet that one pan of my bread would be sufficient for at least one thousand people."


21
Close-up, Allagash Falls, 1911

Close-up, Allagash Falls, 1911

Item 14064 info
Maine Historical Society

July 13, 1911

"We now ran down three miles to Allagash Falls and decided to camp at that place of surpassing beauty.

"We found an abundance of blueberries here and before long had supper ready.

"Baked potatoes, trout rolled in corn meal and fried in bacon fat, fresh biscuit, cake and blueberries, tea and milk made up the menu.

"Truly a feast for a king as well as for a pair of jacks, as Horace expressed it."


22
Confluence of Allagash and St. John rivers, 1911

Confluence of Allagash and St. John rivers, 1911

Item 14065 info
Maine Historical Society

July 13, 1911

"At Cross Rock Rapids, so called on the map, we had a stirring half hour.

"As we entered the rapids, at its head a rock beneath the black surface caught the canoe in the middle and held it pivoted.

"The current swung the canoe around and in a second would have either tipped it over, sending occupants and dunnage down into the churning pool below, or have sent it down the pitch sidewise with the same probable result."


23
Barn, St. John River, 1911

Barn, St. John River, 1911

Item 17569 info
Maine Historical Society

July 13, 1911

"Having passed several islands, we came to one which had on it a farm with an empty barn in the center.

"We cooked supper on the beach, took our blankets, made a soft bed of hay in the barn floor, and spent a comfortable night without seeing our landlord. This day, we had covered over thirty-five miles."


24
Cunliff and Mallett Camps, Umsaskis Lake, 1911

Cunliff and Mallett Camps, Umsaskis Lake, 1911

Item 13422 info
Maine Historical Society

July 14, 1911

"We had been in close touch with moose, over a hundred deer, thousands of smaller animals and game-birds, myriads of songbirds, and had the finest fishing one can find in this country.

"We had sound, hard bodies, clear, alert eyes and minds and thoroughly alert appetites."


25
End of Allagash trip, Fort Kent, 1911

End of Allagash trip, Fort Kent, 1911

Item 14066 info
Maine Historical Society

July 14, 1911

"After our return, so our folks tell us, it was some time before the spell of the woods left us. We were quiet, serene, and the voice of the river seemed to be still with us.

"At night we were shooting rapids, or struggling over log-jams, or catching thousands of trout. The spell gradually wore away, but the memory of that trip will remain for many years.

"And if we live, we shall go again, for the enchantment which falls upon those who have gone into the woodland is never broken."


26
Quarter-scale model canoe, ca. 1997

Quarter-scale model canoe, ca. 1997

Item 17576 info
Maine Historical Society

Most early visitors to the Maine woods used wood-canvas canoes.

This canoe is a quarter-scale model of the Old Town Canoe Company Otca wood-canvas canoe, first introduced in 1906.

Canoes would not have been painted red then, however.


27
Chaplin camera, ca. 1900

Chaplin camera, ca. 1900

Item 17575 info
Maine Historical Society

Serious photographers often carried large, bulky view cameras into the woods to capture the beauty and adventure they encountered.

When smaller cameras were introduced about 1900, the task of photographing the woods was made easier.

The new cameras, with roll film that was processed and printed by cameras shops, allowed more people to record their trips.


28
Margaret and Neal Allen, Portland, 1909

Margaret and Neal Allen, Portland, 1909

Item 17577 info
Maine Historical Society

A WILDERNESS HONEYMOON

Neal W. Allen (1885-1976) and Margaret Louise Stevens (1884-1977) of Portland probably could have spent their 1909 honeymoon anywhere they chose.

The couple went to Lobster Lake, just east of the northern end of Moosehead Lake in Piscataquis County.


29
Honeymoon camping diary, 1909

Honeymoon camping diary, 1909

Item 17568 info
Maine Historical Society

A Penobscot Indian guide got them to their campsite, then left after two and a half days as arranged.

Margaret and Neal Allen spent the next two weeks alone in the woods, fishing, exploring the area, and reading the novel Adam Bede aloud to one another.

They kept a diary together, taking turns writing the entries.


30
Lobster Lake camp, 1909

Lobster Lake camp, 1909

Item 17562 info
Maine Historical Society

The new Mrs. Allen apparently had little woods experience. Her husband, though, had been to northern Maine at least twice before.

When other campers settled nearby on Lobster Lake, Margaret Allen wrote in the diary, "Saw our neighbors only at a distance -- rather green looking."

It was toward the end of the couple's two weeks and she felt like an old hand at camping by then.


31
Fishing grounds, Lobster Lake, 1909

Fishing grounds, Lobster Lake, 1909

Item 17564 info
Maine Historical Society

Excerpts from the couple's diary provide a sense of what a 1909 wilderness honeymoon was like. Entries by Margaret Allen are followed by "MSA," and those by Neal Allen are followed by "NWA."

Sunday, June 27 "Fished an hour and M.S.A. caught a fish - 5 lb. Laker. Fished another hour and M.S.A. caught another fish - 1 lb Laker. Fished another hour and N.W.A. caught a fish - 6 lb Laker who fought like fury but had to come in worn out by the hard struggle against Mr. A's untiring, persistent reeling.

"Netted by Mrs. A. who was much excited, and who decided that fishing is a fascinating sport." MSA


32
Chopping firewood, Lobster Lake, 1909

Chopping firewood, Lobster Lake, 1909

Item 17563 info
Maine Historical Society

Tuesday, June 29

"And urged by N.W.A's ever increasing appetite did nothing but cook and eat all day. Pea Soup - macaroni and Injun pudding for dinner - Buckwheat cakes with maple syrup, apricots and Flap Johns for supper. Best day N.W.A. ever had in his life- likewise "missis." MSA


33
Preparing a meal, Lobster Lake, 1909

Preparing a meal, Lobster Lake, 1909

Item 17556 info
Maine Historical Society

Monday July 5

"The devil's own day -- everything went his way Started out in high spirits at 8 a.m. in the 'Nella . . .

"Sat on a log to eat lunch but had no more than begun when a hard cold shower came up, mostly driving rain, but some hail. N.W.A. clasped his wife in his arms, wrapping his coat about her and stood with his back to the howling storm, while she in turn sheltered the lunch and camera under her sweater.


34
Near Lobster Lake, 1909

Near Lobster Lake, 1909

Item 17559 info
Maine Historical Society

". . . at 6.40 P.M- Mr. and Mrs. Neal Woodside Allen, shoeless and stockingless, wet and shivering - Mrs. A. with her husbands oilskin trousers on - took a reckless draught of whiskey and pushed off upon the raging Lake." MSA


35
Ragged Lake hike, 1909

Ragged Lake hike, 1909

Item 17565 info
Maine Historical Society

Tuesday, July 6

"Beautiful weather - warm & summerlike - Breakfast - oatmeal - buckwheat cakes & maple syrup - chocolate - each ate all he could hold-

"About nine thirty started to catch minnows for bait. Bit so fast that I hauled them in two at a time.

"Anchored on our fishing ground a little before eleven. At quarter of twelve fish began to bite & within half an hour NWA had landed three averaging 2-3 lb each. The Mrs did not have a strike but read in 'Adam Bede.'" NWA


36
Cloudy Day, Lobster Lake, 1909

Cloudy Day, Lobster Lake, 1909

Item 17561 info
Maine Historical Society

Tuesday, July 6

"Spent evening on lake watching the sun set. First appearance of Dr Long's Motorboat - we began to feel it was time to move out when Lobster got this civilized. " NWA


37
Perfect day, Lobster Lake, 1909

Perfect day, Lobster Lake, 1909

Item 17566 info
Maine Historical Society

Wednesday, July 7

"Most perfect day we have had - After breakfast was over and the chores done, we decided that it would be a pity to waste such a beautiful morning in packing - so took one fishing pole and 'Adam' and started in the 'Nella' for a paddle and a troll.

"N.W.A. packed the provisions, and after that was done - both scoured cooking utensils with sand until almost six o'clock. Good development of muscles.

"Packed some of clothing and after supper of apricots and biscuits, went out on the Lake to see the sunset." MSA


38
Margaret and Neal Allen home, Portland, 1909

Margaret and Neal Allen home, Portland, 1909

Item 17567 info
Maine Historical Society

Friday, July 9

"As the train pulled out at 10.40, we stood on the back platform, in order to get our last look at Kineo and Moosehead Lake.

"A clear beautiful Summer morning, and both the mountains and Lake looked their very best.


39
Map of Moosehead Lake, ca. 1870

Map of Moosehead Lake, ca. 1870

Item 17541 info
Maine Historical Society

"We stood on the platform most of the time - with lots of sitting for rest - until we had passed Bingham Heights, and enjoyed it all very much.

"It grew dusty as we began to leave 'the woods' behind, so after we got into the farming lands and towns, we stayed inside and watched the country from the window." MSA


40
Canvas tent, ca. 1940

Canvas tent, ca. 1940

Item 17580 info
L.L.Bean Corporate Archives

Most sports who went into the Maine woods in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries camped in canvas tents, using fir boughs for sleeping mats.

Campers usually used wool blankets rather than sleeping bags.


41
Camping lantern, ca. 1937

Camping lantern, ca. 1937

Item 17581 info
L.L.Bean Corporate Archives

Many campers used only the light of the campfire to see at night. Some used candles as well

This fuel lantern is from the 1930s.


42
Pack basket, ca. 1920

Pack basket, ca. 1920

Item 17582 info
Maine State Museum

Author Dudley C. Lunt used this Adirondack-style pack basket on Maine wilderness trips in the 1920s. The basket is covered in canvas.


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