Island Falls, Maine
Posted by graywacke on September 1, 2010
First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (then every-other-day blog and now a two-or-three-times a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Dan – Phew!! After a run of 21 straight 4/10s or less, I’m at 5/10 because of my landing in . . . ME; 21/22; 5/10; 1; 154.4. Of the 21, here’s the distribution: six 1/10s; eight 2/10s; three 3/10s and four 4/10s. You can tell by the plethora of 1/10s and 2/10s (along with the dearth of 3/10s and 4/10s) that this has been a terrible stretch!
Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to I-95, the town of Island Falls, the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River and a couple of lakes (Upper Mattawamkeag Lake and Pleasant Lake):
Here’s a broader view:
I landed in the watershed of two new rivers! First, the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag, which, not surprisingly, flows to the Mattawamkeag. These are my 1079th and 1080th rivers. The Mattawamkeag discharges to the Penobscot (4th hit).
Here’s my GE shot, showing mostly woods (but also I-95 & the W Br of the Mattawamkeag, west of my landing):
This is a StreetView shot taken from the I-95 bridge over the river. My landing is a little more than a half mile away:
Here are a couple of shots of the rapids of the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag right in Island Falls:
Here’s a little history from the Island Falls town website:
In the summer of 1841, Levi Sewall, Neamiah Alexander and Jesse Craig came to Northern Maine looking for a promising place to build a home. They had heard of a promising site along the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River where there was an island and fall which had the possibility of furnishing a good source of water-power. The three men located the island and the fall and, after looking over the surrounding territory, decided that this was indeed an excellent place to build homes.
There’s more, but basically, an excellent place to build homes turned into a little mill & lumber town. Anyway, the website goes on:
The William W. Sewell homestead was the first building to become a historical site in Island Falls. William Sewell was a lifelong friend of Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt visited the Sewell’s many times and spent time in both the Sewell’s house and their hunting camp on Mattawamkeag Lake. There is a state park dedicated to President Roosevelt along the Mattawamkeag River below the lake where he went to read his bible on Sundays. It is called Bible Point and remains a lovely place to visit.
Expanding on the Teddy Roosevelt / William Sewell relationship, from Cracked.com:
At age 19, during his summer break, he [Roosevelt] went on hunting trip with logger William Sewell, who hired himself out to city folks who wanted to see the wilderness. Usually, they didn’t last more than a day or two. Sewell was astonished to find that not only did this NYC city guy joyfully canoe, hike, and hunt all day for weeks on end, but he actually enjoyed it more when they were soaked by rivers and nearly frozen to death by winds and cold.
Oh my! Check this out, from StumbledUpon.com:
Of course there is more to this story than a future President showing that he has what it take to run the country. It was 1900 and President McKinley had invited a few key politicians to a retreat in Maine at an exclusive cabin. After much serious discussions, the whiskey started to flow and one thing lead to another and William Sewell challenged Teddy Roosevelt to ride a horse across the lake. Teddy called him a girly Vice President and then chased down a moose and the picture was taken shortly thereafter. Charles Fairbanks tried it after and was tossed into the lake unceremoniously. The revelry ended when William Taft took a turn. The moose drowned.
Old Teddy was quite the character, but the moose story & picture are a little too much of a stretch. . .Anyway, I’ll close with some pictures from near my landing. Here’s a shot of Amish farmers gathering hay a couple of miles north of my landing in Dyer Brook. (I’ve never heard of the Amish in Maine, although I recently read that Amish communities are springing up around the country):
Here’s a panoramic shot of Upper Mattawamkeag Lake:
Here’s a picture looking west from just north of my landing (overlooking a non-Amish machine-bailed hay field):
I’ll close with this sunset shot over Pleasant Lake:
That’ll do it. . .
© 2010 A Landing A Day