Camden Public Library will celebrate the Amphitheatre and its recent designation as a National Historic Landmark on Saturday afternoon, July 13, from noon to 5 p.m. The celebrations will start with lawn games with period costumes (come in costume!), refreshments, followed by live music from the Midcoast Brass Quintet at 3 p.m., and speakers and celebration at 4 p.m. Free, come one and all!

The event will celebrate the gift of the Amphitheatre by Mary Louis Curtis Bok, and commemorate the gift and the Landmark status by installing a plaque from the National Park Service.


The plaque reads:


This site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.

Designer Fletcher Steele balanced traditional and modernist ideas using native materials to create an innovative American aesthetic. This public commission, sponsored by benefactor Mary Louise Curtis Bok in 1928, reflects the period’s interests in civic improvement, the arts, and recreation.



The Amphitheatre was first used by the Camden High School graduating class of 1931 and has been in constant use for music, plays, weddings, festivals, picnics, and formal ceremonies at every time of year ever since.

“The Camden Library is a treasure of the Maine coast and is a testament to the pride and determination of the residents of Camden,” said Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “The Camden Amphitheatre retains its historic integrity, setting, original materials, and the quality of original workmanship and design. It continues to serve its historic purposes, as a public entertainment space, park, and garden for visitors and residents of the town of Camden.”

The library will also display photographs in an exhibit documenting the construction of the Amphitheatre and Mrs. Bok’s generosity and leadership in its planning and construction. The exhibit will be on display in the Picker Room for the month of July.

In addition, the library will host Earle Shettleworth, Maine’s State Historian, with an evening talk, “Greetings from Camden,” an illustrated history of Camden based on postcards from the collections of the Maine Historic Preservation commission and the Penobscot Marine Museum, on Tuesday evening, July 9, at 7 p.m.

In keeping with a celebration of the times, the first movie in the library’s Monday Movies in the Park on July 9 will be a vintage movie, “Gold Diggers of 1933,” celebrating the music and hard times of 1930s America. The musical is an extravagant example of shows of the time and features the memorable song “We’re in the Money” and other iconic songs of the ‘30s.

The library will also host an illustrated talk on “The Great Depression” by Richard Cornelia on Thursday evening July 18, at 7 p.m.