Rutherford and Rae Weatherby
Ball’s sporting camp in 1922 from Frank H. Ball, for $5000.00 each, nearly 50 years after Mrs. Sym acquired the “White House”. They ultimately maintain 15 cabins and a central dining room. Beverly Weatherby, Ruthie’s son, is 2 yrs old and Minnie Atkinson in Hinckley Township lists 53 guides by name, and further reports “with two or three exceptions” every family in the village is represented at least once. In the early years there were no outboards, but later with the invention of the square stern canoe, credited to Herbert “Beaver” Bacon of Grand Lake Stream (circa 1923) a new canoe building era was underway. The history of the square stern canoe (Grand Laker), the makers, styles and evolution is a story by itself.
In 1935, Alice (Christie) Weatherby and Ruth (Christie) Wheaton spend their first summer in Grand Lake Stream, later to become Mrs. Beverly Weatherby on July 28, 1943 and Mrs. Woodworth Wheaton on April 23, 1939. Bev Weatherby was 15 years old, taking advantage of his first driver’s license without having to take a test, so he drives his friends and guests all over. At that time the camps were still operating under the name Ball’s Camps but after pressure from Bev, Ruthie changed the name in the 30’s to Weatherby’s Camps.
During the 2nd World War, Bev picked up guests at Forest Station ( also Bangor & Calais) at 5 am so they could breakfast at camp and be fishing that day. Trains departed at 10 pm, so guests could have a days fishing and leave on the train that night.
Landmarks of Weatherby’s during the Ruthie and Rae (Bonness) Weatherby years, included a water tower (1936), built 25 feet in the air of spruce by Allie Nason, which supplemented the water supply. Originally, water came from a very deep dug well that was covered by a well house, used in the winter for some years along with the water tower, and in the well house was located a Delco 4 cylinder, gasoline, 32 direct current power plant. It had a big set of batteries. The well house, had a cement base, but the building was moved and became the “Shady Nook” in approximately 1938. The generators were moved to the “chicken coop” or the workshop area as it was very noisy.
Approximately 1933-34 a small building that was a bathroom between the “Upper Berth” and the “Owl” was removed and relocated to become a one-bedroom cabin called the “Hillside”. Bathrooms were built inside the “Owl and “Upper Birth”. The age old liar’s bench, along the wall under the car port was in regular use, as well as the round sitting bench, situated around an apple tree in the yard, just off the alley way and guides bathroom (see photo). Later, Guide Ollie White would run into the round bench with his car and that was the end of it. Here, local and Passmaquoddy Indian guides had gathered each morning to await their guests finishing breakfast and readying for a days fishing. During this time few guides had cars or drove. Transportation by the lodge was provided for them, their guests, their canoes and supplies. Trailers were built by local craftsman George Bagley to haul 3 canoes at a time on a box trailer with cross ties covered with rubber cut from car tires. Flat tires were a regular occurrence on the old trailers as travel to the many lakes in the region over dirt roads made it rough on car tires.
The “Rose” camp and the “Wren”, both with beautiful hardwood floors, with closets added later by Bev Weatherby were moved between 1930 and 1935 from the original Will Rose property (now Colonial Lodge) to Weatherbys, and the “Mushroom” was built by Allie Nason and Ruthie in eight days and so named for the quick construction. During this time the “Cedar” was built and Bev installed a ping-pong table in the “Shady Nook”. In the early ’50’s Ruthie became ill, but his wife Rae continued to run the camps until the torch was passed to son Bev.
Bev Weatherby and Alice (Christie) Weatherby purchased the camps from his father in 1955, and continued the operation for 20 years. Rutherford Weatherby passes away in 1956 but the Weatherby family own and operate the facility for 52 years.
The saga of the old landmark water tower continues, and Bev and Woodie Wheaton rebuild it of Cypress in 1945 or 1946. Bev recalls that all they had were three posts sticking 25 foot in the air during this reconstruction.
By its very nature, age and demands of a new generation of sportsman for improved accommodations, upkeep and improvement were ongoing. Bev remembers the Birches and White House originally had gaslights and the gas tanks were located in the well house but they were eventually converted to electricity. The “Birches”, originally located where the “Jack and Jill” is today was moved across the lawn by jacking it up and sliding it on skids where, in its new location of today, housed employees. The two-story building had seen tannery borders, housed employees and sportsman but would now be relegated to employees only. The new “Jack and Jill” named by Rae Weatherby for its location and matching left and right accommodations had a door in the middle, leaving 2 large living rooms, each with a fireplace that could be opened in case a large party needed its complete use. Other changes included removing the porch from the main house, where they only had a small office and crank telephone, a porch office added, a wider walking porch with birch floor and a birds eye maple floor in the lobby and a fireplace was added, as well as a bathroom.
The character of Weatherby’s as a premier sportsman’s destination was enhanced by the many notables who frequented the place. The accommodations, the history, the game and fish mounts and attractive décor supported its ultimate tagline of “The Fisherman’s Resort.” Some of those notables visiting during the 50’s and 60’s, were outdoor writers, high ranking generals, business leaders, top physicians and other accomplished and well healed folks.