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This book’s historical journey on Maine’s West Branch of the Penobscot River and its tributaries is in two parts, logging (chapters 1-7) and sporting camps (chapters 8-11), all of which Fogler Library hosts at its Digital Commons. The journey starts in 1825 when the first loggers began cutting along the river and driving their logs more than 70 river miles to the Bangor sawmills. It ends 151 years later in 1976, the year of the last drive.
Maine’s sporting camp history in this region started with enterprising loggers and teamsters who were also trappers and guides who beginning about 1870 took adventurous persons to fishing and hunting locations where they used tents or small trapper’s camps or logging camps. By the early 1890s their camps became known as sporting camps. With few exceptions, I have included structures built through 1920.
The text moves the reader upstream beginning where the Penobscot River forks at Nicatou Island with the East Branch leading north and the West Branch heading west-northwest. The reader travels up the West Branch into the Lower Chain Lakes and back into the river flowing under the shadow of Mount Katahdin to the Ripogenus Lake outlet where the journey ends. Along the way, each tributary is explored. The tributaries include Nollesemic Stream; Millinocket Stream and Lake, Sandy Stream; Nahmakanta, Rainbow and Pollywog streams; the Debsconeag Lakes chain; Abol, Katahdin, and Foss and Knowlton streams; and Jo-Mary Lakes, and Cooper and Pratt Brooks.
The Introduction, Acknowledgements, and Table of Contents for all 11 chapters accompany chapter 1. The Epilogue, Sources of Information, Names and Related Information, and Glossary are with chapter 11.
Chapter 8 includes these subsections:
- An introduction to “Part 2 – Sporting Camps and People of Maine’s West Branch Watershed” and a section titled, The Beginning of the Sporting Camp Era
- Pre-1894: Camps and People
- Post-1894: Nicatou to North Twin Dam
- Post-1894: Norcross Community
- Post-1894: Camps on the Lower Chain Lakes
- On the River: Ambajejus Falls to Ripogenus Dam
Geller, William W., "Within Katahdin’s Realm: Log Drives and Sporting Camps - Chapter 08: Fisk’s Hotel at Nicatou Up the West Branch to Ripogenous Lake" (2018). Maine History Documents. 135.
pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)