History and horticulture will be combined as Camden Garden Club presents its 71st Annual House and Garden Tour on Thursday, July 19. The club itself was founded in 1915 and is recognized as the oldest garden club in Maine. Some of the six properties on this year’s tour actually predate that event.
Elmwood Farm was built in the late 1700s by lumberyard owner Deacon Joel Hodgkin as a gift for his wife. As one might suspect of a house built at that time, the structure had plaster and lathe walls, posts and beams made from the region’s King Pines, fireplaces in most rooms, and 36-inch-wide pine floorboards.
Sadly, most of these materials were destroyed by a devastating flood which began with a leak under the kitchen sink in 2014. The current owner, a painter and children’s book author, undertook a massive reconstruction and visitors will find it difficult to determine what has been added and what is original.
Stonyhurst dates back to the original settlement of Camden in the late 18th Century.
Abraham Ogier arrived in Camden in 1773 from Quebec. Ogier claimed a 100-acre tract of land including Upper Chestnut Street, which became known as Ogier Hill. The Maine Historical Magazine in 1891 described his property as a “great natural beauty and wide and various views of mountain and sea to be had from Ogier’s hill cannot fail to charm the visitor.”
The original Stonyhurst Cottage built in the late 1800s was sadly destroyed by fire in 1971 and the current Christopher Glass-designed house, built in 1978, sits on the location of the original Stonyhurst Cottage but is not included on the tour.
Camden was the home of the renowned Summer Harp Colony of America, which was located in a large shingled cottage at the foot of Marine Avenue featured on this year’s tour. Founded in 1929 by maestro Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961), the Colony attracted harpists from all over the world, which added to Camden’s reputation as a summer resort. Alice Chalifoux (1908-2008) was a student of Salzedo, principal harpist for the Cleveland Orchestra for 43 years, and his successor as she continued the school until 2001. The property is now a stunning private home.
The remaining three properties include: A Japanese influenced garden with waterfalls and pools, four perennial borders and three perennial beds containing 700 plants, as well as 50 trees and flowering shrubs and a home with a fabulous chef’s kitchen; a charming 600 square foot guest house built in 1991 nestled in a delightful garden setting; and a shingle style cottage completed in 2005 and designed to merge into the natural landscape with far reaching water views.
Tour hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain or shine) and advance tickets for $35 can be purchased on the club’s website and at various retail locations in the area. Tickets can also be purchased on Tour Day for $40.00 at Maine Sport and Camden Hills State Park. All of the Tour information can be found at www.camdengardenclub.org or by contacting email@example.com.