In February, the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations (Trustees) completed a transfer of a two-acre parcel of land to the Federal government. The land transfer, located within the boundaries of Acadia National Park (ANP) realizes a mission envisioned by the Trustees well over one hundred years ago.
The Trustees formed in 1901 by a group of concerned citizens in response to extensive lumbering and an increase in private land ownership in Hancock County. The Trustees were very successful in preserving thousands of acres of land and in 1916 they donated their holdings to the government which formed the core of Acadia National Park. Today, the work of the Trustees focuses on its role as the governing body for Woodlawn in Ellsworth. Woodlawn was a bequest to the Trustees from George Nixon Black, Jr. in 1928. In accordance with his wishes, they have maintained the 180-acre estate as a public park and his family home, known locally as the Black House as an historic house.
The land donated in February was the sole remaining land holding of the Trustee. According to ANP superintendent, Kevin Schneider, “This donation of land, which lies within the legislated boundary of the park, is a wonderful way to celebrate not only the park’s centennial, but the legacy of Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations in the history of Acadia National Park and land protection.” The land is located adjacent to the Sea Wall section of ANP in Southwest Harbor and was deeded to the Trustees in 1941 from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. This summer, as part of the 2016 Acadia National Park Centennial the Trustees will formally celebrate the transfer of the land with a ceremony on August 22. The event will replicate the one held in 1916 and all past Trustees and their descendants will be invited to attend the ceremony.
Also during the Acadia National Park Centennial year, the significant role played by the Trustees in the formation and establishment of the Park will be acknowledged with an historical marker being placed atop Cadillac Mountain. An undated history of the Trustees will be released this summer. The original pamphlet was published in 1939 and titled, The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations: An Historical Sketch and a Record of the Holdings of the Trustees. The publication will be available in the Woodlawn Gift Shop and on line at woodlawnmusem.org.
The current president of the Trustees, Terry L. Carlisle shared their enthusiasm, “We are excited to continue the work of our predecessors begun in 1901. Acadia National Park’s centennial year presented the perfect opportunity for the Trustees to transfer its last property within the boundaries of the park.”
Woodlawn is an educational, cultural, and recreational treasure for the people of Downeast Maine. The main house is open for tours May 1 – October 31 and December 1-23. The public park is open year round, sunrise to sunset. 19 Black House Drive (off of the Surry Road-Rt. 172), Ellsworth, ME.
For further information, contact: Joshua Torrance, Executive Director, Woodlawn, 667-8671 or