Woodlawn logo 2010
"I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else"

EB White
From the Black House desk...
March 2022 ~ Cold, warm, frigid, t-shirts on....
I hate to start this by discussing the weather but jeez, I was going to say, here we are at the start of March when things are supposed to start the cycle of warm up and cool down until spring is sprung but wow, hasn't that been happening all winter? And because of it, the streak continues - Winter Carnival 0, Mother Nature 6! What a bummer, for everyone. We may still be able to have a pop-up cardboard sled race later this month (watch our FB page) but if we don't, please save your creation for a sled parade at the Spring Family Festival we are planning for June.

Meanwhile, we are busy getting things ready for an exciting summer! I hope to have an Education/Program Director starting in April, we will host a spring clean up in May, and my VoTech intern is exploring some new ways to engage online.

Here are a few summer teasers: Sunday Sounds on the front deck; I am looking for some performers - prefer acoustic but we do have electricity. We offered an evening concert last summer and forgot about the sun setting behind the Black House so the audience, on a lovely summer's evening, were cold in the shade. Late Sunday mornings will be magical! And speaking of summer magic, when was the last time you tried twilight croquet with a bunch of friends? We will be hosting some fun league action, backyard rules, on Wednesday nights. Form a work team, family team, should we make this a singles event?

The Grand will be back with theatre camp and two performances including - yeah! - Charlotte's Web! The stage we are building to support their work will be available for early morning Tai Chi and yoga as well as picnics, Open Mic, the ultimate TikTok selfie station? Speaking of TikTok....just wait for the Woodlawn uploads. Can you say Votech intern?

In the museum this season, we will use a combination of docent-led and self-directed audio tours. Woodlawn Museum is the kind of place you should revisit. I go through every week and each time, I see something new and fascinating. That is why we developed Wednesday Wonder for Facebook - it is helping to share how remarkable the collection really is. To be even more inviting, we are considering tours until 6:30 pm on Thursday and Friday evenings. I know how hard it is to enjoy things in your own town when you work all day. This way, you can come on up for a tour before heading out to dinner! We might have a few evenings with wine, snacks & stories!

There is a lot else in development and many details to work through. But let me end with this oh-so-exciting-to-me thing that I have a volunteer making for Woodlawn: a special book exchange that I simply cannot wait to install. Not only do I love and stop at every book exchange I see, but it will be another fun interpretation of the Woodlawn story. This place runs on volunteer love and labor. Thank you to all those who serve on our committees and the Board. If you want to volunteer, especially on the trails or in the gardens later this spring/summer, please email me! Thanks for caring about Woodlawn.

~ Kathy Young
Caretaker's Cottage

Slated for demolition in 2018, the Cottage has been given new life. A new roof, fresh coat of pain, and new light fittings on the inside, it will be painted outside next year. Thanks to Merrill Furniture for new furnishings! It sits in the heart of the Woodlawn campus and it will serve as seasonal housing for interns and research fellows once the Barn is operational. I am hoping to host an annual Writer in Residence and am looking for someone who would like to invest in that vision for Woodlawn. Please reach out to me if that is you! Downeast Senior College is another tenant as I negotiate Woodlawn becoming the manager of that program. I have always been a great admirer of the senior college programs and know that my mother got a lot of joy from her involvement for many years in Belfast. Woodlawn's vision is an education campus for learners of all ages! Meanwhile, welcome two traveling nurses from Florida and Philadelphia - Porsha and Caren - who will be with us until June.
It’s Tax Time!

One hundred years of tax history can be found throughout the Woodlawn Archives. The Black family were among the highest taxed citizens of Ellsworth. We can trace the stories on scraps of paper that “show their math” as they calculated the value of real estate owned, listed taxable personal property, and figured annual income. Taxes provide a specialized lens through which stories are revealed. Correspondence indicates disagreements with City officials about what was owed.

In the 19th century, local and state taxes were more significant than any federal taxes. After all, there wasn’t a US Commissioner of Internal Revenue until 1862, and the federal income tax was not permanently established until 1913.

We can look with envy at the federal tax form submitted by Mrs. Frances Black (John Black’s widow) from the year 1867. It contains only five lines of taxable assets: income, billiard tables for private use, carriages, plate (silver), and gold watches! Of these things Frances paid $54.55 in taxes on her income, plate, and a gold watch. At the time, Frances did not own any carriages.

Her state, city, and county taxes, based on the value of her real estate and personal property, were a different story. To these entities she owed several hundred dollars every year. And in 1874 she paid an additional one dollar to Ellsworth for a “special dog tax”!

Taxes help in many ways to explain and interpret history; where we are today is based on where we have been.
Driveway Dilemma

We have a situation that we are keeping under observation at the top of the driveway and you will notice the line of orange cones. Please drive slowly and carefully around that area which, because of water overflow, is icy and might get worse before it gets better. Also, we are cutting a number of dead and dangerous trees along the driveway and may have to ask folks to stop at key moments. We will not be dropping them in the driveway but want to be safe. Thank you!
Story Trail & Winter Fun at Woodlawn

Have you been over to read about the epic Sled Ride? It is a delightful story and will remain on the trail for the rest of March.

With the new snow, Nordic skiiers have been out in force, along with snowshoe enthusiasts. That is good because it is ice not that far below the fluffy stuff and the trails are tricky. Wear grippers and go slow, the more to enjoy it!

The pond is safe as of today - we will try to clear the snow and it isn't as smooth as it could be but worth coming over for a quick skate around while the weather remains cold.
Wish List
  • Wood chipper
  • Picnic tables
  • 12-seater Board table with chairs
  • 28 or 32' ladder
  • Dehumidifier
  • Sawhorses
  • 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