Woodlawn logo 2010
 "What potent blood hath modest May."

Ralph W. Emerson
From the Black House desk...
Ready to bloom and build!
Spring has finally arrived at Woodlawn and while I am enjoying the reluctant release of winter, I am not as impressed with the return of hungry ticks! In late April we had a terrific clean up day - a big shout out to Legend Athletics and Wood & Sons for their generous help! All efforts now are focused on getting the campus ready for construction of the much-anticipated Community Barn.

Our resident deer herd has been visiting the edges of the fields looking for new growth and with the long twilights, I have been able to enjoy watching them graze. Last year we had three fawns - watch our Facebook page and I will let you know how many we see this spring. A red fox has established a den nearby, we continue to be visited by eagles and ospreys that are fishing on the Union River, and recently I enjoyed watching two seals fishing in the river. That is something I did not expect. Kali and I have begun running at Meadowbrook Forest Preserve and there we have seen rabbits, evidence of beaver, and big pawprints that encourage me to pick up my pace and sing a bit louder!

Everyone is busy - fishing, nest building, scavenging. So please remember to slow down and listen to the birdsong, enjoy the weak sun's warmth, appreciate the small green ferns getting ready to unfurl. We have all earned it. And you will look back at that pause in the midst of the hectic summer with real appreciation.

Our membership renewals are in the mail and I've enclosed a Woodlawn sticker! I hope that many of you will use them to show Ellsworth you support this local treasure! If you are not a member, you can go to the website and join today. Never hesitate to call and talk if you have questions or a story to share.

Thank you for caring about Woodlawn.

~ Kathy Young
For the Love of Reading

Libraries and philanthropy go hand-in-hand at Woodlawn from the new “Little Library” on our campus to the story of the Ellsworth Public Library.

Talented volunteer Fred Rea built us a sweet little book exchange library, resembling the Carriage Barn. It is near the Croquet parking lot. Bring a book, take a book!

In 1897, George Nixon Black, Jr., a generous donor in both Boston and Ellsworth, provided an important gift to his home city—a beautifully renovated building for Ellsworth’s public library.

What may have motivated Nixon to donate a library when one already existed? A.H. Davis’s “History of Ellsworth” indicates that the library moved at least three times in the decades prior to 1896, often sharing space with unrelated businesses. Perhaps the obvious need for a permanent location inspired him, along with a belief that Ellsworth deserved a library of which it could be proud.

Nixon and his close companion Charles Brooks Pitman, a trained architect, had seen magnificent libraries in Boston, New York, and Europe. They recognized that Ellsworth, as the seat of Hancock County, lacked a place that inspired reading and learning. Together, they envisioned transforming one of Ellsworth’s finest old houses, built in 1817 by Nixon’s great-grandfather, Melatiah Jordan (on his mother's side), into an impressive library. Charles drafted the plans and Nixon paid the bills.

In Woodlawn's archives, we have the 1896 “Catalogue of the Public Library of the City of Ellsworth” that may have been printed in anticipation of the library’s opening in 1897.

It is intriguing to see the range of titles Ellsworth’s citizens had to choose from for their reading pleasure. In addition to the expected novels, art, history, religion, and philosophy texts, there is an extensive section on “Useful Arts”. Topics range from Summer and its Diseases to Winter and its Dangers along with Talks about People’s Stomachs, A History of the Steam Engine, Wonders of Glassmaking, Tree Planting, and Brain Work and Overwork.

Thank you Fred, Nixon, and Charles.
Who doesn't love a library?
Education Program begins again!

Welcome Kelly Lunt. Kelly started as the Education Program Director and is already hard at work creating a Family Friendly Museum Tour for the summer. This quick study will help her as she connects with the local school teachers about curriculum and class projects both here at Woodlawn and for use in the schools. There is so much to offer and she has great ideas after working for many years as a middle school teacher in Florida. Originally from Ellsworth, we are thrilled to have her back home and involved with Woodlawn.

With expectations that the barn will be ready to welcome students by the fall of 2023, we hope to host classes year-round and intend to expand our education programs to include the natural environment. Kelly is reaching out to the school staff before the end of the year so that we can be ready when the schools say they are ready. We also want to revive and refresh the Teacher Institute which was a professional development resource workshop. Reach out if you are eager to get involved!

Our ability to know what will help teachers - history, science, biology, social studies - will also help us as we unpack our archives and develop materials to share the wealth of information that is housed at Woodlawn. For instance, Col Black documented the daily weather of Ellsworth for decades - being able to share that information and begin some analysis of climate changes would be a fantastic project for a science class! We are here to support, expand, and explore our shared community. Let's learn together.

Kelly can be reached at educator@woodlawnmuseum.org
Construction Constraints

This is going to be an exciting summer at Woodlawn. However, the presence of heavy equipment and machinery means that everyone needs to drive slowly and take extra care. The speed limit will reduce to 10 MPH. Watch for new and temporary signs. All the action begins June 1 and I will work hard to keep you informed through the process.

The main parking lot will become a construction staging area so all visitors will drive past the Black House and park in the croquet parking lot or in front of the rock wall in the new temporary parking spots. From there we will have created an alternate trailhead (follow the signs and the mowed path below the croquet field) over a bridge and past the tomb before connecting with the trails in front of the pond. The playing field, picnic tables, and croquet court are all still available for your enjoyment. As an option away from the construction, we intend to mow a walking path around the perimeter of the lower front lawn and Mike Hangge has worked hard to clear a picnic area where Nixon Black used to host afternoon tea parties. You will find a picnic table there to enjoy in the cool of the trees.

This barn is happening! In about 18 months, we will be hosting a ribbon-cutting. It is exciting but I can't stress enough that throughout the project, there will be the sounds of construction and in the early stages, they say the work days will be long. The season for getting the building enclosed is short and we ask that you follow the signs and respect the fencing for everyone's safety. We will offer some 'sneak peak' tours (18 months is a long time!) and I will be sharing photos along the way. Something to look forward to is a time-lapse of the entire construction process! Thank you in advance for your patience and good humor through the process.
Revised Museum Tour Schedule for 2022

The Black House will be open Thursday - Sunday, 10 am - 4:00 pm with docent-led tours on the half hour starting at 10:30 through until 3:30. If you prefer to go at your own pace, we have an audio tour available. Adult tickets are $10. A generous sponsor has allowed for us to welcome all children under age 16 free this season.

We will host a few Pop Up Thursday late nights; watch our social media to come up for one of these evenings. There will be a special guest and refreshments! Come up and rediscover The Black House this summer.

The season will be June 23 - August 28 and then Saturday & Sunday only in September and October. We will close in November and plans continue for a beautiful December after our Black Friday at the Black House gift shop holiday season kick-off.
Wish List
  • Wood chipper
  • Picnic tables (thank you for one - we would love two more!)
  • 12-seater Board table with chairs
  • 28 or 32' ladder
  • Dehumidifier
  • Skillsaw
Your support of Woodlawn maintains a unique historic home, trails, and programs for the Ellsworth community.

Please support us: Click here

Thank you!
Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park
19 Black House Drive, P.O. Box 1478
Ellsworth, Maine 04605
(207) 667-8671

For general questions, click here