Franklin Countys First News

Rangeley Lakes Historical Society enjoys banner season

1903 Waldo Nash Brook Trout caught by the one-armed fisherman, E.J. "Romey" Spaulding, from the Bemis steamship pier.

RANGELEY - The Rangeley Lakes Historical Society recently concluded its 16th season, with more than 1,100 people visiting its Main Street location to learn about the town. The society's other museum, the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc, had more than 4,600 additional visits.

"The growing reputation of the Outdoor Heritage Museum as a must see stop when touring the Western Mountains region continues to spread," said Historical Society Executive Director Bill Pierce, "and appearing three times on TV shows hosted by Bill Green of WCSH Channel 6, didn’t hurt."

The museums open several new exhibits annually that continue to entice regular visitors and members to return. As an example, an impressive Vintage Map Exhibit in celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial is just part of what lies in store for 2020. The museum just acquired a giant 11 lb. 4 oz. brook trout mounted by Waldo Nash in 1903.

“It was landed by a one-armed angler while playing hooky from his job at the store on the steamship wharf down at Bemis. Fly Rod Crosby wrote a great story about it and we’ll have it on display in Oquossoc when we open on May 1," said Pierce.

In commemoration of its 60th birthday, the Historical Society also sponsored several well-attended events last summer. Offerings included two 3D Stereo-view & Vintage Film Presentations, the International Fly-Fishing Film Festival and a Live Historical Performance, all at RFA's Lakeside Theater. In addition to regular appearances by authors and artists during the summer months, the Outdoor Heritage Museum hosts the Lupine Festival and Oquossoc Day Art, Craft & Antique Shows annually. Their popular event for regional children known as the Rangeley Regatta just celebrated its 5th rendition with over 200 students attending.

Although pleased with six straight seasons of increased visitor-ship, the Society wants to do a better job and is now seeking the input of their constituents in a survey currently being offered.

“This survey will help us understand what folks in the region think about our efforts and more importantly, inform us as to what we should be doing in the future," said Historical Society President Gino Nalli.

Survey responses will be confidential, and the on-line questionnaire can be completed in less than 10 minutes. Members and contacts will receive an email with a link to the survey. The survey can also be accessed through a link on the Society’s website:

The Rangeley Lakes Historical Society receives no taxpayer support. It is a 501C3 nonprofit supported by its members, donors and grant funders in its mission to preserve, share and celebrate the proud history of the region. Anyone with questions regarding artifact donations, volunteer opportunities or to make a gift of support, please email Bill Pierce at

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