snowshoe repair on Shadagee Road


We drove north  and stopped at East Dixfield on Route 2 for a mile’s walk. Then we got back in the car and drove to Farmington, went on through this small university town and up into high and beautiful farm country.  All trimmed out in large old trees and flowers, great maples and oaks occasionally lining the road.  We went on down into the boondocks and further back roads looking for Shadagee Road, where snowshoe repair is done in a shack off the electric grid. A sign at the beginning of the dead-end dirt lane said: “Your GPS is wrong. Deadend, Go back….” or something similar.


I think this road was named in honor of those who fought in a particular battle during the war of 1812. Many rural towns in Maine have roads or sections so named, but with a variety of spellings.  I’ve said “in honor of,” but it’s more simply a designation of where a veteran of the misbegotten battle lived. The battleground in bogs and hemlock woods on the border of Vermont and Canada called Chateauguay, perhaps named for the river, referencing great wild cats. I’ve used this disastrous battle (disastrous for the USA against the English) in fiction, as background for a character.

The repair woman, according to her website, is Georgia Tolman (pictured above).  But it says “Tim” on her shirt.  She said sometimes she’s “Ryan” because there’s another shirt with that name on it.  I assume these might be men in her family?  A real talker, great character, knows her stuff, explaining what she does on the shoes. She’ll lace shoes with rawhide or nylon. Ours are rawhide but we’ve decided to go with nylon because she said nylon webbing will last longer and is more flexible. Rawhide stretches when soaked, and does not walk the snow was well.  She has a way of coating them (with shellac) that makes coloration almost like rawhide. You’d have to know rawhide well or look close to tell the difference. Gloria’s got some wicker-work chairs in the shack for renewal as well. When I first heard her talk I thought she was Maine-descended, but now think she’s “from away.”

Click the top image to see it large.  Click the battle image to read about the battle.

ETA:  Georgia kindly sent me  a few corrections for this post:

“The shirts were going to be thrown out by other people non-relative. If its free it’s for me.”

” I was born and raised in the New Sharon area….. worked down south (industrial construction)  for 13 years thus the confusing speech. A lil of this a lil of that.”

Georgia also disputed the name-source of Shadagee.  Called elsewhere Shatagee.  Like her, others have said it’s source is Abenaki, but this is contested by local historians saying it shows up as replacement naming in the 1800s after the popularizing of Native American place names.  For instance you’ll find good stuff on the subject here:

Thanks, Georgia!



FEB. 27, EDITED TO ADD:  After due daily trials this winter, we are of the mind NOT to recommend the nylon lacing as opposed to rawhide.  The former is slick, which you don’t want on the decline.

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