Much of the town looks the same as it did in the 19th-century.
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson
In this village, tucked between low mountains and the meanders of one of Maine’s great rivers, a self-taught 19th-century painter named Jonathan Adams Bartlett once rendered his hard-working fellow residents — among them, farmers, fishermen, and fur trappers. A farmer himself, Bartlett died in 1902 and was little known until his work came to the attention of folk-art curators in the 1970s. Today, the amateur artist is known for his portraits, though he did some landscapes too, and his pieces are found in a handful of prestigious collections.
Much of the town’s look is unchanged since Bartlett’s day. In 1920, a sporting magazine chronicled a fishing trip here, extolling the “broad interval fields and green hillside pastures” with their “magnificent sets of farm buildings” and “lofty mountains [that] loom up in the distance at every hand.” Locals today still appreciate those arcadian surroundings, float-fishing the river, skiing the renowned trails at the mountain just down the road, and hiking up to the rocky outcrops at the edge of town, protected in 2014 by the local land trust. The view of the river valley from there is something Bartlett would have surely loved to paint.
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