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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:

1992

Dr. Harry Bowen creates the Heather Hillside.

1993

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

1994

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

The General Gavin Memorial is dedicated.

1995

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

1996

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

1998

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.

1999

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

2000

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

2001

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

2002

The apiary is launched.

2003 

The John Folk Water Garden is created.

2004

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

2005

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.

2006 

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.

2007

Monge walkway is initiated.

2008

Wooden benches are added throughout the park.

2009

A large specimen tree is donated by Bartlett Tree Experts.

2010

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

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

2011

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

2012

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

2014

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

2015

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

2016

Over 1,500 Boardwalks are powerwashed and stained.

2017

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

2018

A memorial bench is installed near the Dawn Redwood.

2019

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.

2020

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.

2021

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.

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