Gold Award Project Restores Flag Pole to Katherine Abbott Park

On October 15, over 75 people gathered for the biannual Katherine Abbott Park Clean-Up. This year’s fall clean-up was special because a flag was raised on a newly erected 30’ flag pole as part of a Girl Scout Gold Award Project. The three Girl Scouts involved in the project, Andreana Finn, Kristina Brust and Kate Nicholson, are 12th graders from Girl Scout Troop #51123. The title of their project is “A Historical Restoration of Katherine Abbott Park.”

Each of the girls is required to put 65 hours into their Gold Award Project and each must have an individual role. The Gold Award Project provided many new native plantings to enhance the building and landscape of Katherine Abbott Park, a historical display with artifacts on an indoor wall of the park building, and a new flag pole and flag. In addition, the girls directed volunteers in buckthorn removal, painting, raking and bird house cleaning.

The girls hope their project will remind the community of the park’s historical significance. The seventy-two acres of hardwood forest, prairie, and wetlands known today as Katherine Abbott Park, were the inspiration of Miss Katherine Abbott, the daughter of a prominent St. Paul physician. As an active adult volunteer, she dreamed of creating a troop camp for area Girl Scouts.  “Katie” died on Oct. 3, 1946 before her dream could be realized, but many friends worked in her memory to create the camp just a few years later. In 1952 the Girl Scout Camp was officially opened and dedicated to the memory of Katherine Abbott.

Its location along a busy streetcar line (extending from St. Paul to Wildwood Amusement Park) made the camp very accessible and allowed it to serve thousands of St. Paul girls for many years. In 1989 the City of Mahtomedi purchased the property and it became a community park. The Mahtomedi Girl Scouts sponsor a park cleanup twice a year as a public service and to supplement to the maintenance provided by the City of Mahtomedi.

Special thanks go to Timberline Tree Service of White Bear Lake, the White Bear American Legion, Hisdahl’s Trophies, Mahtomedi High School’s National Honor Society & Interact Club, the Ford and Catherine Nicholson Family, Rick Finn, Boy Scout Troops 89 and 433, Midge Andreas, Don Lee, and the City of Mahtomedi for providing generous and invaluable assistance. Funds for this project were provided through donations and a variety of fund raisers including cookie sales, selling homemade goods at the Mahtomedi Farmers’ Market, working at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, and bagging at Cub Foods and Pine Tree Apple Orchard.

Saturday was a picture perfect day for a flag raising, brisk outdoor work and a walk in the park!