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The McLaughlin Foundation in South Paris, Maine is celebrating its 21st year stewarding the renowned historic garden, public green space and 1840s farmstead of Bernard McLaughlin, jointly listed as a Cultural Landscape on the National Register of Historic Places. Through support of members, private donors and foundations the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead remains a beacon of preservation and horticultural education on busy, commercial Highway 26 in South Paris, Maine.
There is a park-like quality to the McLaughlin Garden as it is a primarily wooded oasis in the middle of an otherwise concrete and asphalt strip. Just as urban parks play a significant conservation role in cities, the McLaughlin Garden offers a similar, essential resource to our rural community.
Additionally, the garden is a haven for birds and pollinators by nature of its arboretum and flowering plant collection. The Foundation offers year round educational programs and events, manages an internship program, hosts community and private events, and operates a small gift shop. Several years running, the garden has been voted “Maine’s Favorite Public Garden” and hosts over 10,000 visitors annually.
In Autumn 2013, the community rallied together yet again when an adjoining property was put up for sale. A commercial “big box” store bid on the land and historic home, threatening to flatten and asphalt the entire area, compromising the integrity of the McLaughlin Garden and its potential future preservation. Active supporters filled town planning board meetings, sent letters to the chain, local politicians, newspapers and conservation societies.
Through generous private donors and a cooperative corporate entity, the Foundation realized a longstanding dream and purchased the property. The historic “Curtis House” and its green space not only complement the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead physically, but also provide additional opportunities for expansion, specifically in educational gardening and community conservation efforts.
We look forward to all the future will bring as we work together to foster sustainable ecology and community betterment with your ongoing support.
United in conservation,
Board Chair & the McLaughlin Foundation Board of Directors