Have you seen the troll feet?
A few weeks ago, while passing by 284 Knickerbocker Road, you might have spied two 7-foot wooden troll feet sticking out of a blue barn door attached to an 1820 Georgian style farmhouse known as the Jackson House. This house is owned by the Boothbay Region YMCA and is the temporary home for the Danish artists who have been commissioned by the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to install whimsical and enormous troll sculptures this spring. The Y has collaborated with the Gardens to house the artists at the Jackson House, and while they were in quarantine, the artists started building the trolls in the barn. Thus, the feet.
Previously, the Y had owned the Jackson Homestead and its surrounding 34 acres, but when a strategic piece of property in between Camp Knickerbocker and the acreage became available, the Y sold the house in order to purchase the property. This transaction allowed contiguous land use between Camp K and the Baldwin Center, the site of the Y’s climbing and high/low ropes course. In 2018, it was up for sale again, and the Y purchased it back, along with a parcel that extends to Back River. Andy Hamblett, executive director of the Y, says “the Board’s decision to re-acquire the house and the acreage was ideal to expanding our outreach in supporting community needs. We are utilizing this asset as a community catalyst for good and are actively collaborating with area businesses and other non-profits.”
The plan is for Jackson House to be a place for collaborative community projects that can help stimulate economic development in the Boothbay region. The initiative hopes to bring interns for different local industries to Boothbay by offering an affordable place to live and to connect with others, the goal being to encourage them to stay on the peninsula. The Jackson House could also offer housing for students who might want to learn a trade in the region through internships. In addition, the property has great potential as a venue for conferences and other programs. The Y is thankful to the Jackson House task force members who defined this vision: Keith Canning, Steve Malcom, Jamie Logan, Ann Poole, Andy Hamblett, and Rose Mooney. Steve Malcom recently wrote that now that the Jackson House initiative is off the ground, “it is simply amazing and so cool to see a dream start to come alive!”
When the Y purchased the Jackson House in 2018, it was completely empty. Caretakers Allyson Goodwin and her husband Mark Short worked together with eight other members of the community who donated all of the furnishings and fixings, plus funds to purchase items that were not available. The Y is grateful for the generosity of the following community members whose donations helped outfit the Jackson House: Bill and Jo Haney, Brad and Betsy Hastings, Paul and Louise Cowan, Chris and Cherry Goodwin, Kate and Jim Borsig, Keith and Maria Canning, Sam and Mariah Calagione, and Erin Grey.
Along with the main Y facility, the Harbor Montessori School, and Camp Knickerbocker, the Jackson House will now add to the menu of options for community and business collaboration with the Y. One exciting possibility for July involves Sailing Ships Maine students residing at Jackson House for a land component of their semester at sea program. You may very well spy sleeping hammocks swinging from the barn rafters at 284 Knickerbocker Road this summer!