1930’s and 1940’s
In 1934, eighteen women gathered to form a Garden Club. Initially, they collected gypsy moth eggs and cleared brush. They started landscaping a few areas as well as taking “sunshine baskets” to older residents in the area. Right from the beginning, there was a driving interest in the flora and fauna of Rockport and helping the community. Members participated in the “Home Flower Gardens,” and a tour was held to highlight various members’ homes. This was the era of Beatrix Ferrand, the American landscape and garden architect. Her horticultural interests in Seal Harbor, Maine, were well known along the Maine Coast. Landscaping had taken on a new roll in Maine’s history as well as in the village of Rockport. In 1941, the club refocused on the demands of the Red Cross war effort.
1950’s and 1960’s
The club was reorganized in 1959, as the Rockport Garden Club, with thirty members. The focus was beautification of various areas, highlighted by monthly meetings and teas.
1970’s and 1980’s
The club spearheaded the drive to save the Rockport Opera House, raising over $7,000 and gifting an additional $4,700 for the project. The Opera House was awarded the”America the Beautiful” award. In honor of the Bicentennial, the club assembled a “ Quilt of Rockport Scenes,” which won a silver medal in the a Smithsonian Good Housekeeping sponsored contest. A picture of the quilt appears in an Erica Wilson book of quilts. It is housed at the Thorndyke Complex, formerly known as the Conway House. From 1960 to 1989, the club raised over $35,000 in an effort to beautify Rockport. The gardens around Andre and the Marine Park began. The tradition of decorating Rockport Village with greens during the holidays started during this era and continues today.
1990’s to Present
A full scale interest in the parks and historical sites of Rockport because the Beautification aspect of the club’s endeavors. Monies were raised for the restoration of the Opera House and decorations were expanded during the holiday season. Fund raising events included, the Plant Sale, Christmas Tree show, Quilt Show, Harvest Sale and Gala Raffle. Scholarship funds increased through these efforts and were awarded to local students for continued education. The launch of the annual Holly Berry Fair took place in 2006. The Men’s Auxiliary was founded in 2012.
At this time, Rockport Garden Club maintains the gardens at the Andre site in Harbor Park, the Memorial Monument, the Opera House, the Rockport Post Office, the West Rockport Post Office, Aldermere Farm, The Goose River Bridge and Lower Bridge. During the holidays, wreaths and garlands decorate Rockport Village Our two main fund raisers are the Plant Sale held in late Spring and the Holly Berry Fair, held in December. Through these fund raiser, the club offers significant scholarships for young students and maintains our garden spots. When we are not involved in club activities, we are a social organization with many highlighted activities held during the year. We welcome all new members and look forward to working together.