Aerial view of Armstrong Kelley Park in Osterville

Property History

Cape Cod’s oldest privately owned park

The history of Armstrong-Kelley Park

The history of Armstrong-Kelly Park begins with the founding of The Cape Cod Horticultural Society (CCHS), on February 17, 1928. The Society was launched with 78 charter members, most of whom were professional gardeners, and in 1930 CCHS was entrusted to care for an 8.5 acre parcel of land donated by sisters Mrs. Marion (Seaverns Williams) Kelley and Mrs. Mary Martha (Armstrong) McClarey, of Bandeley Manor.

In 1991, landscape architect Alan Abrahamson created a master plan for the development of the Park, calling on volunteers to create paths throughout the acreage and heather, holly, rhododendron, conifer and ornamental gardens. The timeline below lists highlights that have followed through the years:


Dr. Harry Bowen creates the Heather Hillside.


Mr. Woody Mills, curator of the Ashumet Holly and Wildlife Sanctuary, guides the creation of the Holly Dell.


Osterville Rotary Club spearheaded by Nancy Starck, finances the Rotary Rhododendron Walk.

The General Gavin Memorial is dedicated.


E. J. Jaxtimer constructs the wisteria pergola and memorial.


Trees are donated by the Stimets Family and the Osterville Garden Club.


The front of the park is renovated courtesy of the Landers Company.

A Starck family donation creates the first three memorial benches.

Construction on the Woodland Walkway begins with a donation from E. J. Jaxtimer.


“A Gateway to the 21st Century,” celebrating 70 years of service, is dedicated.


“Growers of Armstrong-Kelley Park” begins, with installation of 11 plaques.


The 9/11/01 tragedy is memorialized on Woodland Walkway.


The apiary is launched.


The John Folk Water Garden is created.


Weston Nursery’s Rhododendron Garden is established along the trails.


Liam’s train and Liam’s View are dedicated to two year old Liam O’Neil.

The third work shed is constructed in 2005 and 2006, entirely hand-built by Ray White, Phil Perry and with a rubber roof donated by Cazeault Roofing, Kevin O’Neil’s Excavation and Electrical Work, and Overhead Door Co.


Due to the efforts of Bartlett Tree Experts, the park’s weeping cedar is the star of the New England Flower Show.

George II, a new specialty mower, is added thanks to Mrs. Rowland.


Monge walkway is initiated.


Wooden benches are added throughout the park.


A large specimen tree is donated by Bartlett Tree Experts.


The John Folk Water Garden is redesigned with a Japanese water garden feel.

Two more benches are added near the John Folk Water Garden.


An American holly is donated and dedicated by Bartlett Tree Experts.


A redesign of John Folk Water Garden takes place, and a Weeping Atlas Tree is installed.


Two new beds are established in the arboretum, with limelight hydrangeas, weigela shrubs and select Weston Nursery azaleas installed.


A new bed is established near the Folk Water Garden, and viburnum are added.


Over 1,500 Boardwalks are powerwashed and stained.


A wedding garden is established, featuring Alaskan cedar, Bobo hydrangeas and Knockout roses.


A memorial bench is installed near the Dawn Redwood.


Memorial benches and a River Birch are installed near the Folk Water Garden.

The CCHS Board of Directors meets with The Trustees of Reservations to discuss transferring assets, fiduciary responsibility, and day to day operation of the Park.


Members overwhelmingly vote to integrate with The Trustees of Reservations, and fundraising for $2.5M commences.

Certified wetland approved for removal of all invasives, and work begins in the summer.


Dedicated volunteers toil each week to make the Park bloom with sunny spring afternoons, cool grass underfoot and lasting memories for everyone. Fundraising for the Park’s future continues, and integration with the Trustees is complete.

Learn More

Visit the Armstrong-Kelley Park page for photos, information on admission, nearby events, directions, a property map, and more.

Join the Trustees

Enjoy 120 sites featuring inspired trails, historic homes, beautiful gardens, farms, summer camps and more.
Become a Member

Lend a Hand

Join a community passionate about a sustainable future and engaged in diverse projects across the state.

Support Our Work

We rely on your generous support to protect the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.