Camden amphitheatre, library named to federal historic list

Posted March 11, 2013, at 5:27 p.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — The Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library in Camden has been selected as a national historic landmark, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced Monday.

The Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library is among 13 new national historic landmarks designated Monday by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis.

The Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library is one of the few public projects of Fletcher Steele, one of America’s premier practitioners of 20th-century landscape design, according to a news release from the senators. According to the National Historic Landmarks Program, it “is an outstanding representation of the contributions made by the landscape architecture profession, private benefactors and national associations to develop public landscapes in the United States that celebrated natural regional beauty, scenic character and rich cultural history.”

“The Camden Library is a treasure of the Maine coast and is a testament to the pride and determination of the residents of Camden,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “The centerpiece of the grounds of the library is the beautiful, outdoor garden amphitheatre. 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.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree also released her own statement later Monday praising the selection.

“As a hub of the Camden community, the library’s designation will be another great asset in bringing visitors to the area,” she said in the release. “I appreciate all the work local groups have done to support the library and keep it and its grounds in such excellent condition for so long.”

National historic landmarks are nationally significant historic places that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States, according to the program website at www.nps.gov/nhl.

The program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. Currently there are 2,540 designated national historic landmarks, including 43 in Maine.

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