Katherine Abbott Park is situated on more than 70 acres of land in the city of Mahtomedi, a mix of hardwood forest, prairie and wetlands. Through the property once ran the Twin City Rapid Transit Co. streetcar line that connected Mahtomedi, White Bear and Stillwater with the Twin Cities, providing transportation for many people to enjoy all the area had to offer into the 1950s.
The park is named after Katherine McClung Abbott, the oldest of five children born to Dr. Everton J. and Jeanie Steele Abbott. She was a St. Paul native who spent much of her life in service to others. A dedicated supporter of the Girl Scouts, Abbott was also active in the work of St. Paul’s Community Chest, Women’s City Club and with Neighborhood House. Abbott dreamed of creating a troop camp for Twin Cities Girl Scouts, but died in 1946 before that dream could become a reality.
The park inspired by her vision was officially opened in 1952 and dedicated in her memory. For many years, Scouts utilized the camp just as she intended. In 1989, the city of Mahtomedi purchased the property, and it has since operated as one of their city parks. Scout groups remain actively involved in both its maintenance and its use through service projects restoring the natural beauty of the area and preserving the park’s history. In 2011, Mahtomedi-area Girl Scouts Kate Nicholson, Andreana Finn and Kristina Brust completed their Girl Scout Gold Award Project providing a historical display, a new 30-foot flagpole and new plantings, as well as other projects around the park.
Groups can rent the park facilities, which include the Katherine Abbott Center, a lodge with stone fireplace and gathering space for as many as 100 people.
Sara Markoe Hanson is the executive director of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. She will be sharing history thoughts monthly on this back page.