Step through the double doors of Chewonki’s Center of Environmental Education and follow the trail markers to Katahdin. Katahdin: Maine’s highest mountain! It is the subject of legends among generations of native peoples and Chewonki folk.
Thanks to Gordon Hall III (Boys Camp staff 1951-1953; Chewonki trustee 1972-present; chair of the board 1997-2004; past participant in more than 20 Chewonki wilderness expeditions with friends and family; former member of the Committee on Trustees and Advisors and the Maine Coast Semester Advisory Committee) and Paul Crowell (Boys Camp 1977, 1978; Thoreau Wilderness Trip 1980; Boys Camp staff 1981-1984 and 1986; Foundation Advisor 2000-present), we now have our own little Katahdin right here at Chewonki.
At a fundraising auction for Friends of Baxter State Park last fall, Crowell and Hall bought a three-dimensional, painted fiberglass model of the mountain showing all the peaks, cirques, and trails. It stood on display at the park’s Roaring Brook ranger station for decades; people tracing the trails with their fingers wore the paint off some of the most popular routes.
Crowell and Hall then gave the model to Chewonki in honor of James Whittlesey Crowell (b. 1925-d. 2014; Boys Camp staff 1971; Chewonki wilderness expeditioner 2005), an adventurer, teacher, and outdoorsman who loved Katahdin and was Gordy Hall’s close friend (they climbed the mountain together) and Paul Crowell’s beloved uncle.
Penobscot Nation historian James Francis shared his people’s perspective on “the great mountain” with us for a small exhibition accompanying the model. Also included are photographs and writings that reveal Katahdin’s important place in Chewonki culture.
If you are at Chewonki this summer, be sure to make your way to the entrance hall of the Center of Environmental Education to see this venerable model for yourself. Our big thanks to Gordy Hall and Paul Crowell for their generosity.