Celebrate Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby: The woman who marketed Maine

Posted:  Monday, November 5, 2018 - 8:30am
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On Saturday, Nov. 17 at Boothbay Railway Village, distinguished historians Julia A. Hunter and Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. will present two unique perspectives from their 2003 book “Fly Rod Crosby: The Woman Who Marketed Maine.” In their own words, "Cornelia 'Fly Rod' Crosby (1854-1946) stood six feet tall, was the first woman to legally shoot a caribou in Maine, held the first Maine Guide license issued, caught 200 trout in one day (she was an early advocate of catch-and-release)…was friends with Annie Oakley, and worked tirelessly to promote the sporting life in Maine.”

Hunter will share details from Fly Rod’s life, her contributions to recreation, sport, and tourism in Maine’s wilderness, her employment as a travel writer for the Maine Central Railroad Company, and her position as a prominent female figure in turn of the century New England. Shettleworth will delve into the work of photographer Edwin R. Starbird, who dedicated decades of his life to documenting the natural beauty and culture of Maine’s woods. Fly Rod, with her grand stature, was an iconic figure in Starbird’s work. Hunter and Shettleworth combined have over 100 archival photographs to share. The talk will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Copies of “Fly Rod Crosby: The Woman Who Marketed Maine” will be available for purchase and autograph. Fun fact: Fly Rod would have celebrated her 164th birthday on Nov. 10!

For those who would like to learn to tie a fly, from noon to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Master Maine Guide Capt. Forrest Faulkingham from Maine Saltwater Outfitters & Guide Service will be demonstrating fly-tying and will be offering free lessons. Participants will learn to tie a fly they can take home. Fly-tying lessons are first come, first served, last approximately 15 minutes, and accommodate four to six participants at a time. This extra-special, hands-on experience embodies the skills of Fly Rod Crosby and her legacy as an adept fly fisherwoman.

After you’ve tied a fly, step up to Boothbay Railway Village’s own 1871 Thorndike Station, which once belonged to the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, to see the museum’s exhibit Maine: Vacationland in which Fly Rod features prominently. Head across the tracks to the Maine Narrow Gauge exhibit to learn about the system of railroads that carried Fly Rod and her fellow sportsmen into the wild. Exhibits will be open from noon to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The illustrated talk, along with fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, will take place inside the museum’s historic 1847 Boothbay Town Hall. The event is free, a $5 suggested donation is appreciated. Celebrate Fly Rod! is part of the museum’s ongoing education program Primer: Lessons with Experts and Masters and is sponsored by Bath Savings Institution. For more information please visit www.railwayvillage.org/events or call 207-633-4727.