Donald Little Park

Garden Club minutes first mention plans for the beautification of an unsightly triangular plot on State Street in 1939. At that time the land was used by Ellsworth to dump excess gravel, broken pavement and other debris. However, it was not until 1949 that the Club secured ownership of the half acre plot of land bounded by State, Birch and School streets

Work on the park began in earnest in 1953. Club member John Raymond designed the landscaping, and other club members were immediately involved in laying out, growing and setting out the plants. The Club involved the whole community in the park’s initial development. Bangor Hydro, water and telephone companies, the City of Ellsworth, Raymond Sargent and L. W. Jordan and Son donated services. The Town of Lamoine, organizations like the American Legion and the Odd Fellows as well as individuals contributed cash and materials. After 2 years of development and with more than 600 people present, the park was formally dedicated in July of 1955 under the guidance of President, Dorothy Polson, and the co­-chairs of the Community Betterment Committee: Irma Salisbury and Hazel Blackstone.

The park was named in honor of First Lt. Donald A. Little, son of Mr. and Mrs. Horace A. Little. Lt. Little had been valedictorian of his Ellsworth High School class of 1946. He attended Exeter Academy and received an A. B. degree from Harvard University before serving in Korea where he was killed in action in October of 1952.

Over the years the park has been maintained through the hands-on care of Club members on the Donald Little Park Committee. The Club has partnered with the University of Maine Co-operative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program (which included some of our members), schools, and a foster parent organization. In conjunction with the Garden Therapy Committee the park regularly serves as a focus for volunteers from across the community and beyond who plant pink tulips in support of breast cancer research. The park has become a popular community venue where parents and children wander through the gardens or downtown workers eat their picnic lunch, where graduates of Ellsworth High School can be seen having prom pictures taken or more formal events like a special anniversary celebration and renewal of vows take place.

Upkeep and development costs money. The Club has been fortunate to benefit from bequests (including one from former member, Dorothy Polson), public -spirited donations and contributions from organizations and businesses such as Newland Nursery, which undertook significant plantings and refurbishment in the 1990s and continues to make contributions such as free mulch for the upkeep of the park. Recent grants from the City of Ellsworth have enabled the Club to purchase picnic tables, work with landscaper Michael Harrington to install granite seating, install an irrigation system with the assistance of Coastal Irrigation and Lighting and purchase a riding lawn mower for the park.

In 2004 the Club was incorporated as a charitable organization and setup an endowment fund to ensure the long term care of the park. Each year proceeds from the club's annual plant sale and biannual garden tour go exclusively to the fund. The Club welcomes donations (tax-deductable) and planned giving arrangements. For information email