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Tea Pond History
by Sandra L. Smith March 2018
Partner with Clifton E. George from 1987-1990

This history is from what Clif told me from what was told to him. I did some early research and I am totally not sure of the exact dates but I have verified that Louis K. Liggett did own the camps as well as Ransom Pingree.

It was at various times called Tee, “T” or later Tea Pond.

The first owners/builders were a group of druggists from Worcester, Massachusetts. They built the first cabin in 1894 and used Tea Pond as a private hunting and fishing club. In 1919, it was purchased by drug store magnate, Louis K. Liggett (founded Rexall and chairman of United Drug Company), as a summer place for his family. He sold the camps around the time of the market crash in 1929. Louis was born in Detroit Michigan on April 4, 1875. In 1895, Liggett married Musa Bence also from Michigan. They had four children: Leigh, Janice, Musa, Louis K. Jr., From 1916 to 1937, Louis Liggett  owned and occupied a 9-acre estate at 185 Hammond Street in the village of Chestnut Hill, Newton, Massachusetts. His wife died in 1931. He died on June 5, 1946, in Brookline Massachusetts. He was entombed in the Liggett Mausoleum in Newton Cemetery in Newton.

Then Tea bought by Ransom C. Pingree. He was born in 1885 in Maine, and died 1960 at age 75. He was a successful Haverhill Massachusetts attorney and in 1914 married Lucille Veasey also from Haverhill. They had two children, Arthur V. Pingree and donʼt know the name of the other. He and his wife later lived in Boston at 36 River Street and were friends to Admiral and Mrs. Richard E. Byrd. When Ransom Pingree became ill, the camp sat for ten years and upon his death in 1960, it was sold to the caretakers the Sylvester family (William, John, Ruth) for $2500. They in turn sold it to a group of men in 1978 from whom Clifton George bought it in 1979. He opened the camps in 1980. I joined Clif in 1987. In 1990 we sold Tea Pond to Ed and Shelley Bear, who initially hired Roger and Melody LaRose to manage for them. We loved Tea Pond but had seen a more remote, larger sporting camp (Penobscot Lake Lodge) which we purchased and then made the hard decision to sell Tea.

Further information: Fortunately, the camps had been somewhat maintained when Clif bought them and there was only one cabin that Clif was told could not be saved but being stubborn, he did put it back together. I  suggested that since this was the end cabin next to the brook and had two floors that we should make it our cabin. I was quite brave then and helped him put on the metal roof.

The next cabin was the kitchen which still had a Queen Atlantic cast iron wood stove, a cast iron sink and zinc counter tops in one room, table and chairs in the other and the short-wave telephone which we shared with Tim Pond Camps and the Naval Survival School.

The cabin next to the kitchen had two rooms and we made that one into a modern kitchen and dining room. Originally it was Clifʼs cabin and the Pingreeʼs.

The next cabin, the little one, was most likely the first one built. It had a double bed and bunk bed and was most likely the original furniture at that time and had been used as the guideʼs cabin as well.

The middle cabin, the largest one, was originally the recreation cabin for the Liggett family. At that time it had a fieldstone fireplace and there were cupboards that had writing on the doors that were a record of the salmon caught by the Liggett family. That reinforced the information that he had been an owner. When we had it, there were eight single beds.

The end camp was originally for guests of the Pingrees. The loft had a double and single bed and the first floor had a double bed, two singles, a couple of couches, bureaus and a wood stove.

The storage shed was still there and a building with two floors that the guides used to live in. When Clif over-booked we stayed upstairs.

Clif built the wash house and a friend of his built the wood-fired boiler. Not sure about the out-house, except Clif had installed a portable heater in it.

At one point, I saw an ad in the local paper for a free cabin at Saddleback in Rangeley and we arranged to bring it over the road from Kennebago to Tea. We set it up on the hill.

Sandra Smith