A fire that leveled a 150-year-old inn on a remote lake over the weekend has torn out a long and storied chapter of Maine history.
The Chesuncook Lake House first served as a base camp for loggers, and then as a wilderness retreat for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to experience the North Woods as they were at the turn of the century.
It’s not easy to reach the Chesuncook Lake House, 50 miles north of Greenville and 65 miles west of Millinocket. And Vern Labbe, deputy director for public lands, says that’s the way he liked it. Labbe worked at the Lake House in the early ’80s.
“To me, the thing that made it special back then is there was only, basically, two ways to get there: by boat or over the ice, snowmobile or snowshoe. But it was a long walk from anywhere, and back then you didn’t have a lot of snowmobiles. So it was an experience to go to the village. You made an effort to get there,” he says.
Chesuncook Village is currently a cluster of privately owned camps that at one time included a store, a church and a school, all part of a logging community. Labbe says people would go up to work for the winter and come down with the river drives in the spring. When those ended in the late ’70s, the population dropped, but Chesuncook Village and the Lake House remained a special place to visit.....
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