Camden Harbor Park & Amphitheatre
Camden Harbor Park & Amphitheatre - no other town in Maine “has a legacy of public landscape design that equals that of Camden"
Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre are two parks that were gifted to The Town of Camden in 1931 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist, a local philanthropist. She commissioned the parks to complement the newly renovated Camden Library. The parks’ opening day was marked by the graduation of Camden High School’s class of 1931.
The parks were designed by renowned architects, the Olmstead Brothers, and Fletcher Steele, all chosen by Zimbalist herself. One Olmsted Historian wrote of the parks as “spaces planned by two of the most important American landscape architects of the twentieth century,” claiming that no other town in Maine “has a legacy of public landscape design that equals that of Camden.”
By the 1990’s the parks were beginning to look a bit spent: lawns were worn away, benches were broken, and trees were dying. So, after seven years of planning, the parks enjoyed a complete restoration in 2004, thanks to Camden taxpayers, and other generous friends of Camden. This was a $700,000 project. Dead trees and old benches were replaced. Soil was replaced for better drainage, wild strawberries and wildflowers were planted, and paths were repaved. A new wheelchair-accessible entrance was added.
The parks have attracted thousands of visitors, from both near and afar. Harbor Park offers a panoramic view of the harbor. One can sit for hours and gaze at the quintessential New England village, the sailboats and white steeples. You might just feel like you are sitting inside of a living painting. The parks have hosted countless picnics, craft fairs, weddings, concerts, family strolls, festivals, theater productions, and graduations. The parks serve as the perfect backdrop for just about everything. Both parks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Camden Library, Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre are located just off Route 1, on Atlantic Avenue, in downtown Camden.