Friday, March 11, 2016

Under 'Log cabins I have known' - In Maine

Many years ago, back in the 70's (1970's) I had the pleasure of working in a remote location in Maine, at a place that at one time had been an old logging camp. After that it become a hunting/fishing camp. And by the time I got there it was a Scout High Adventure Base.

It was located on Grand Lake Matagamon near Baxter State Park.

This is the main building at the base. To the left of the red building you can see one of the two log buildings on the base (not one we are talking about here).

On the same lake was the log home of a well known outdoor sports writer named Edmund Ware Smith. Many of his stories were about this area of Maine.

His cabin was just a short walk from where I worked and I would pass it often when visiting the couple who use to run the sporting camp before it became the Scout Camp I worked at.

The writer used his cabin as a home for many years and eventually it also became a meeting place for a group of sportsmen called 'Jakes Rangers', named after Maine artist and one time Disney cartoonist name Maurice 'Jake' Day.

Surrounding Mr. Smiths main cabin was smaller ones used by Jakes Rangers.
By the time I worked in Maine Mr. Smith had been gone for a few years. His relatives, as well as relatives of Jakes Rangers still used the place.
(I did get a chance to meet 'Jake' when I visited his studio a few years later.)
Well at the end of our Scout summer I stayed on for an extra month to help with a few projects and give the wintering-over caretakers a vacation.
While there for the extra month I got to see the inside of the writers old cabin.
While doing some research with the Portland Maine Library I met a very helpful librarian who has passed on several great articles to me about that area of Maine.
In one piece was the below photo of the writers cabin at the time he and his wife lived there.

In this photo you can see Mr. Smith and his wife working in the yard.
When I worked there the cabin was usually closed up and did not have this lively feel to it. That was to be expected of course.

I have grown very fond of Mr Smiths books and have most of them.
One of my favorites is of course 'A Treasury of the Maine Woods'.

The cover and inside illustrations are done by Maurice 'Jake' Day.
Here is one of the illustrations from the book.

I am also proud owner of two of Mr. Days watercolors.

If you like well written outdoor yarns, check out Mr. Smiths books.


  1. My great-grandfather, Herschel Steen, had a hunting camp near Matagamon. His brother, Pat, ran the dam for some time at Matagamon, and another brother, Amos, was a Game Warden in that area. Lots of family history up that way. By the 70's, his camp would have been nothing but ash, though. Sadly it was burnt by Baxter State Park. I love seeing old photos of the area. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It is a magical place and I get back as often as I can.
      Thanks for stopping by.