Current Size: 100%

Maine is #1!

The What’s Out There program has just completed the first state-specific cataloguing project, with the addition of more than 150 significant landscapes in Maine. The free, searchable, profusely illustrated and ever-growing online database, launched in 2009, provides access to more than 1,300 designed landscapes nationwide. What’s Out There has developed a huge following amongst heritage tourists, garden lovers, landscape architects, students and many others.

Camden Amphitheater
Camden Library Amphitheatre, designed by
Fletcher Steele, photo by Charles Birnbaum.
From Augusta to York, along with Bangor, Bar Harbor and Bath – and 35 sites in the Portland  area – the Maine initiative has increased the What’s Out There database’s overall size by more than 10%. The project was completed in partnership with the Maine Historical Society, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence program and Noni and Charlton Ames.

Maine’s design legacy includes the nation’s first modernist landscape – the Camden Library Amphitheatre by Fletcher Steele – not to mention five commissions by Beatrix Farrand and the work of Carl Rust Parker, a two-time member of the Olmsted firm who spent virtually his entire career in Maine.

Portland Map

Deering Oaks
upper: What's Out There map of central Portland
sites, including Boulevard Park, one of Carl Rust
Parker's many designs in the area. lower: Deering
Oaks in Autumn, photo by Charles Birnbaum.
So, if you find yourself in Portland, there are almost three-dozen sites within 20 miles that you can  visit, including Deering Oaks, a bucolic 55-acre picturesque park (a remnant of a 261-acre 18th century farm) designed by William Goodwin, and Boulevard Park, a picturesque work designed by Carl Rust Parker in 1912 -- one of the few historic subdivisions in the state designed by a landscape architect. And, for Olmsted groupies, the state also has a wealth of sites by the entire extended clan – Sr., Jr., John Charles, and other associates of the Olmsted firm – from Augusta to Waterville.

Sites range from 14 public and neighborhood parks, to 22 gardens and estates, 7 campuses, 16 squares/greens/commons and more, representing a diversity of styles that include picturesque (Evergreen Cemetery, Portland), beaux arts (Capitol Park, Augusta), arts and crafts (Garland Farm, Bar Harbor), Japanese (Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor), Colonial revival (Little Orchard, Mount Desert), Italianate (Hyde School, Bath), and Modernist (Camden Amphitheatre).

Garland Farm
Garland Farm, Beatrix Farrand's final home in Bar
Harbor, photo by Judith B. Tankard

Projects of this nature are complex undertakings and require both committed partners and adequate funding - fortunately in Maine, TCLF had a great partner in the Maine Historical Society and funding from the NEA and the Ameses. The initiative was built on an extensive survey of Maine’s historic designed landscapes, completed over more than a decade by the Maine Olmsted Alliance (now folded into the Maine Historical Society), and the commitment of a dedicated local landscape architect, writer and photographer, Theresa Mattor.

TCLF is currently in the planning stages for state-centered projects in Texas and Virginia, and is looking for university and non-profit partners (and funding) for other states. If you and/or your organization would like to learn more, please contact Matthew Traucht at