Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!

Robin Williams

The Barn: an idea, a reality, a destination!

A year-round venue was a dream that I understand began as a conversation over 14 years ago and has been a fundraising project for at least the last eight. Along the way, there have been many doubters, many changes to the design, and I am often made aware that there are some people still unhappy that the old barn came down at all. I promise that the Trustees and staff are working hard to ensure that this barn matches the aesthetic of the former while fulfilling a new vision for Woodlawn where community events, educational programs, and historic research share space with private and corporate gatherings.

It has been quite a journey and I think we can all agree that we want it to be finished. Construction always feel endless until it is done. Recently, I have been walking through with Barn Manager candidates and I get excited every time because, no matter who we hire, and long after me/us, what happens in the Barn is going to be about You. Will you encourage your children, cousins, friends to get married here? Will your business have a holiday function or staff retreat or corporate trade show? Will you come up to the markets and festivals? The list is endless about the types of gatherings we will host alongside the education classes, workshops, and programs. This will be a community gathering space and Woodlawn will soon be ready to make good things happen here for Ellsworth. I hope you will join us later this summer as we open it to the public and make special memories through shared events.

Another exciting bit of news to share is that Woodlawn has officially accepted the responsibility to revive Downeast Senior College. This makes legit our claim to be a K-gray campus, offering education for learners of all ages. Joking aside, I am excited to be able to help breathe new life into this important program for active older adults. We will be mailing to all those who participated in the last year of programs (2019) and intend to establish a volunteer organizing committee later this summer. If this is something you are excited about, please get ready to get involved.

Thanks for caring about Woodlawn.

Kathy Young


LEGO my Woodlawn!

The very creative and talented Colby Adolphsen of Rockport has made us a LEGO model of our Black House museum and the new barn under construction, complete with delightful formal garden and tea lawn. This will be on display at Ellsworth City Hall for the month of May and I will be there Friday morning, May 5th for coffee & questions from 9-11 am. Otherwise, M-F, 8-5, City Hall is open so visit and admire this amazing work of art in the lobby at the top of the stairs. It will be on the move this summer so if you miss it this month, don't worry, follow our social media (FB @woodlawnellsworth) to learn of its next lobby destination!

The 5th Edition of a wonderful historical novel

No, that isn't Woodlawn's Black House on the cover, it is George Nixon Black Jr's other summer cottage, Kragsyde at Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. This book introduces you to young 'Nixon' visiting his grandfather at The Black House and growing up in Ellsworth before moving to Boston.

When we learned that a 5th edition was in the works, we ordered some to sell in our gift shop and online (https://www.woodlawnellsworth.org/shop).

Grab a copy and get ready to come to Woodlawn this summer for a discussion and private tour. We will be hosting two afternoon tea parties and two evening wine & cheese sessions to share impressions and ask questions while also having a chance to go 'behind the ropes' to explore the special mentions about the museum that are in the book. It is a must read for anyone who enjoys Woodlawn. Honestly, it is our best marketing tool ~ many visitors tell us they had to come because they read the book. Written after a lot of research; with sensitivity and creative skill. Thank you Jane! Again, watch our social media @woodlawnellsworth for dates.

June 3 - National Trails Day is also the next Science Saturday - plan to join us! There will be lots of special trail activity that day - more details to come.

Barn Update

The doors are in (will be painted soon) and inside, the sheetrock and wainscoting are being put up; plumbing and wiring is complete, and the elevator has arrived. Next, we begin the landscaping (another reason parking continues to be limited). E.L. Shea and their contractors are doing exceptional work. Check out the timelapse video below (and on our website) - a year of hard work in 90 seconds. Enjoy!


Woodlawn Croquet 2023

The summer season of croquet begins soon ~ the court is looking great and we will be constructing a viewing platform. Players of all abilities are welcome. Try something new or continue to develop your skills. We are a fun group. There will be three tournaments to test your mettle this summer ~ come out to play!

Register online at: https://www.woodlawnellsworth.org/croquet

Ground Control: Things to be aware of around the Woodlawn campus

  1. The South parking lot continues to be the only parking available at Woodlawn but the 'out' drive is now open! Watch for two-way construction traffic on the 'in' as trucks continue to come and go. Please go slow!
  2. The ticks are awake and hungry! Check after each visit - you and your dogs!
  3. Please refrain from throwing sticks or rocks into the pond. We want the frogs, ducks, and salamanders to live and flourish undisturbed.
  4. Please be respectful of the tomb. It is in fact a mausoleum; an alternative type of memorial, built as a free-standing monument to house the remains of the deceased. Burying the deceased in a mausoleum is known as “entombment”. John Black and other members of his family are in the tomb and we will be putting a small fence around it soon to discourage climbers.

Theorem Paintings: End of Term Projects

As the school year comes to a close, many high school and college students are hard at work completing major projects. This is not new. During the nineteenth century, New England school girls worked hard on tasks that exhibited their domestic skills and cultural refinement. Needlework samplers and embroidered pictures were most common, but Theorem painting was also a popular culminating project to a school term.

Most theorem paintings are still life compositions of fruit, flowers, leaves, and vases or baskets created using stencils and watercolor paint on fabric. Teachers supplied students with velvet, cotton or silk and a variety of stencils which girls then arranged into unique compositions. As each student applied watercolor paint within the stencils, the composition gained subtlety and sophistication. To complete the picture, hand-drawn grapevine tendrils, stems, or other details were added as finishing flourishes.

Woodlawn has two theorem paintings in its collection. Although neither theorem is signed, Woodlawn lore is that both paintings are the work of Ellsworth native Mary Elizabeth Peters (1816-1902) who married George Nixon Black, Sr in 1836. Mary was well educated and any school or academy that she attended would have included theorem painting in its curriculum. Having learned the art of theorem painting as a girl, Mary may then have created framed pictures to decorate her own home or to give as gifts. Both of Woodlawn’s theorems are excellent examples of the genre.

Campus Clean Up & Earth Day

We had a lot of incredible helpers as we got the grounds ready for Earth Day and summer. Thank you to Ellsworth High School National Honor Society, Home Depot, Stanley Subaru (click this link to watch a video they made for Earth Day), Machias Savings Bank, neighbors & friends - trails were cleared and roots removed. As a bonus, the basement was cleaned up too. We were so impressed and are grateful for the help. Thanks for all the hard work!

Over 60 people came up on Earth Day to participate in Wildlife Olympics with Acadia National Park staff & volunteers, build a birdhouse, and enjoy the new story trail while also playing nature bingo! The story trail will stay up through July.

Wish List

Thanks for your consideration ~

do you have any of these and wish to rehome them?

Game camera (or set up your camera on our trail!)

Binoculars & Telescopes for youth education program

Wood chipper

Old wooden trunks, crates & boxes

Please consider becoming a

Friend of Woodlawn


Thank you!

Visit our website


Black House Drive, P.O. Box 1478

Ellsworth, Maine 04605

(207) 667-8671

For general questions, click here