by Rod Johnson
Welcome back to all you Summertime readers! Another winter is behind us whether you stayed and played in it or ran away to warmer climates.
The Luckiest Boy segment will be changing gears to some extent this season by alternating articles from personal memoirs as usual, to a new venue called Bringing the Past to the Present. The latter format is a smattering of articles written and published over the last two centuries with commentary comparing the issues, places and people of today. My thanks to Belgrade Historical Society board member Sandra Lewis for researching these articles and making them available for our enjoyment.
Let’s begin with this article in the Lewiston Daily Sun concerning the opening of the summer season in 1905.
Season Opens at Belgrade Lakes
June 28, 1905 Summer visitors arriving by every train-Hotels and cottages filling up. Special. The region around the Belgrade Lakes has taken on quite a Bar Harbored appearance of late and will become more so in the next few weeks for to this spot as well as many others in Maine people from the cities are flocking for their summer outing. Things are in full swing now at the lakes and although both hotels are not entirely full as yet their rooms are all spoken for and they will be crowded to the limit for the month of July. Boating and fishing are as popular as ever this year and more than one fine bass or pickerel has had to come out of this native pond and give up the ghost during the past few weeks. Trout fishing in the lakes has been very good up to a few days ago, but at present fisherman are out for other game and are letting the trout go. Boating too was never more in favor than now and many a fine craft may be seen on the lake these days. There are also a number of new boats this season which will be a great addition to the existing fleet. Among the boats yet to come is a very nice yacht, the property of Charles Eaton of Boston a member of the firm S.S. Pierce and Co. Mr. Eaton’s new boat is now on the road and will be put into the water as soon as she arrives at her destination. The owner is expected about July 4th accompanied by his whole family and will open his cottage for the summer.
Concerning the article above, my first thought was that the fishing now is diverse compared to 115 years ago, no surprise there. You can only catch ‘um once. It was interesting that the article spoke of “both hotels”, which likely was a reference to the then nearly new Belgrade Hotel that burned in 1956 and the Lakeshore Hotel, now a private family compound situated in the middle of the Lakes village. The more personal notations about a new boat arriving on Great Pond and the arrival date of a family was typical of the news a century ago. It also occurred to me that the writer of the article was not fond of commas. My friend Ralph who does some editing now and then takes commas out and says he has a whole drawer full!
Rod Johnson was born and raised in the Belgrade Lakes in the 1950s and '60s.