A brief history of the Blue Hill Garden Club on the occasion of its 75th year.
Early minutes of the Club prior to April 1952 are sketchy, but from Book One of the dues records, we know that in June of 1934, the Club held its first meeting. There were 107 paid members, 83 women and 24 men. The annual dues were 50 cents, and Mr. Leon Chapman was elected as the first Club President.
The Club held their first Flower Show in Blue Hill in 1935. That same year, they won first place in the Garden Class for their exhibit at a flower show in Bar Harbor. In a few years, they joined the Federation of State Garden Clubs, and continued to hold annual Flower Shows in Blue Hill, some regular and some “standard” until 1988, except for 1968 and 1969. Standard shows are judged by approved judges from the State organization, and winners are awarded Certificates of Merit. I have not gone through all the boxes of historical information, but I do know that on at least three occasions, the Blue Hill Club took top honors for the quality of their shows.
Several shows, held between 1979 and 1988, were sponsored in conjunction with the Brooklin Garden Club.
Much of the following information was gleaned from a wonderful 1984 report researched by Ellen Anthony, in honor of the Club’s 50th anniversary. Service to the Town of Blue Hill was a large part of the Club’s mission, and has continued throughout the years. The flower boxes for
the bridge were first put up in 1953, and the Club began the Elm Tree Fund in 1954 to raise money to save Blue Hill’s ailing elm trees. The 1959 Annual Report (25th Anniversary) mentions the beautification of the George Stevens grounds and the Town Park, as well as the Triangle. The Club won State Garden Federation awards in 1961 and 1963 for beautification projects, and in 1964 undertook to beautify the North Blue Hill Cemetery. In 1977, the Club installed a “Boulder Garden” at the Blue Hill Hospital.
Since that time, the Club has carried out many projects to benefit the Town of Blue Hill, most notably the brick walkway, front terrace, and benches at the entrance to the Town Hall; the wrought-iron fence at the Seaside Cemetery; and the grant writing, design, and installation of Horton Emerson Waterside Park. To raise funds for our civic projects, we’ve held many plant sales, a very successful Garden Fair, an Art Show and Sale, and sponsored three successful Garden Tours. Looking back through the archives, it is clear that the Blue Hill Garden Club has always operated with a core group of about 30 working members, supported by the other 70
or so members when needed for a large project or activity. Clearly, with all the club has accomplished in the last 75 years, this formula has worked well!