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Thuya Lodge docent Ellen Gilmore retires

Bob Thayer presents a photograph he took of Thuya Garden to former Thuya Lodge docent, Ellen Gilmore.

After 14 years as a Thuya Lodge docent, regaling and informing visitors of the history of the building and adjacent garden, Ellen Gilmore has retired. She remembers her tenure with the Preserve as being highlighted by the lifelong affection that many visitors feel for both Lodge and garden, and their delight in being able to return, year after year, to its quiet beauty.

That affection was evident when Ellen met a lovely older gentleman at the garden, who had visited Thuya as a young person with his father the year the dawn redwood was planted. His father told him that when he was an old man, it would be a large tree. He returned to see the tree nearly 50 years later and was delighted to remember that first visit. 

A native of Mount Desert Island, Ellen began working as a Thuya Lodge docent during the summer of 2007, mostly on weekends since she was still teaching full time, which meant she often got to see local folks among the visitors to the Lodge and garden.

In her 34 years as School Librarian at Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor, Ellen got to know many local families, many of whom visited Thuya Garden and Lodge. She remembers one afternoon when she was in the Lodge, with the door open, talking with guests about its history. She heard a voice from outside saying "That sounds like Mrs. Gilmore!" That voice belonged to a former student, who did not expect to find her there, but who remembered the sound of her voice from years of having been read to.

Asked for her thoughts on her experiences at the Lodge and garden, Ellen said this, “The collective weight and presence of the love of many visitors, gardeners, managers, workers, volunteers, and behind the scenes folks can be felt on this extraordinary property.” 

The Preserve is grateful to Ellen for her years of service at the Lodge. She will be missed, but like the dawn redwood, not forgotten. 

Take a video tour of Thuya Lodge with Ellen.

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