Visitors of all ages enjoy the Trail Guide of the Moose River Valley. This publication delves into the rich history of interesting spots along the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway, starting at the museum right on Main Street in Jackman.
Curiosity guided Anita Della Fera, the author, as she researched locations of intrigue by reading old newspapers, Sprague’s Journal of Maine History, the Historical Society’s book titled History of the Moose River Valley, as well as other sources. Her favorite part of the research, however, was interviewing the local residents.
“The experience was wonderful,” she said, smiling. Fascinated by the stories of survival in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, she learned how Captain Holden and his family, while pulling his 88-year old mother on a sled, walked 65 miles by snowshoe to the cabin he built. She read about where the center of town used to be and why it changed, and how trains transported the much needed groceries.
On the back of the guide, a colorful map created by Gail McDougall, also of Jackman, assists the curious with their journey in time starting at the museum and traveling northward to various landmarks. After a stop at the Hilton Cemetery near the Canadian border, the journey turns southward to locations of mystery and intrigue, past the railroad and to the WWII POW camp and Gold Brook.
One unusual spot of interest on this map is at the Attean Overlook, where a child is sliding down the side of the mountain. This beautiful rest stop “overlooks” Attean Lake and the surrounding mountains. On clear days, it offers views of the windmills at the Canadian border. Years ago, children would slide on sleds down from the Overlook all the way into town. It must have been about six miles!
The idea for this guide developed because of a suggestion made at one of the Historical Society’s meetings a few summers ago. It benefited visitors interested in exploring further the rich history of the Moose River Valley. Now, the guide can be borrowed from the Historical Society Museum on Main Street or the Chamber Booth by the park for a refundable security deposit. It’s a great way to discover what life was like years ago in the Jackman area. Visit these interesting and unusual places and learn a little history along the way!
By Annie Nielsen