Camden, a state of mind

Recently, while reading through the Camden – Rockport Bicentennial Commemorative Book published by the Camden Herald in 1969, I came across a wonderful article especially pertinent to the town of Camden today. Numerous Camden residents, both students and adults, took the time and effort to share their thoughts on the 200th Anniversary of Camden’s settling. Helen Meinardi Stearns, born in 1909, wrote for the Camden Herald, penning “From the Back Burner” columns, and also published several books, including “A Nice Place to Live,” about Camden.

Helen’s article for the bicentennial was titled “A State of Mind,” in which she made the following observation: “Whether an author, coming to write, a retired sea captain building boats, or a young couple running a store, the first reason everyone gave when asked as to why they wanted to live in Camden is the beauty of the place.”

Fifty-three years later, those of us who live here year-round as well as seasonal visitors, can wholeheartedly attest to the incredible beauty of the Camden setting. Helen continued, “Where else could one find the scenic combination of sea and mountains, woods and meadows, two lakes and a river lazing through town before it tumbles into the harbor in a spectacular waterfall right in the heart of the business district?”

Today, as never before, the heart of the Camden business district beats with the strength and momentum of the same powerful waterfall in our midst. For there are, Helen states, “practical assets as well to all this eye-filling splendor.” Half a century later, we also recognize the waterfall’s benefit to our economy as well as to our physical and mental well-being.

Helen closes her article with some final thoughts: “Attracted by the natural beauty, the residents by adoption will do everything they can to preserve it, fortunately.”

Her words about the need to preserve still apply today. Let us take the time to thoughtfully consider the consequences of destroying our precious waterfall. Camden is, in fact, more than a beautiful town, it is a “State of Mind.”

Jennifer Healy



[Note from senders:
We sent this letter to the members of the Camden Selectboard on 2/10/22, and as of 2/24/22, have not received one response. For the voters to be able to make a thoughtful decision, the select board needs to provide more than one option for the Tannery property on the June ballot. With only the Cranesport proposal on the ballot, the property will either be sold to this developer or continue to be used as a dumping ground. This property has been abused by the town of Camden for years, it’s time to take care of what is ours.]

February 10, 2022

To the Members of the Camden Select Board,

We watched the SB meeting at which the tannery site was discussed, and we are trying to understand the logic that is guiding your decisions. What will happen if you go through with your plan of including only one option on the ballot in June, and that option is voted down? What would happen next? Would you lose the cleanup funding?

The town needs and deserves to see more than one option on the ballot. Assemble all the costs and benefits for the two best options and present the choice to the public. At this point the two viable options are Cranesport and Town Park/farmers’ market. Present both options to the townspeople and trust them to make a good decision. Then you will actually have a path forward.

Who does the work of collecting the costs and benefits information? Assign an existing town committee to do this and ask them to work with the town manager to prepare the ballot.


Bill Behrens and Molly Stone