A group of Camden-area residents says that one of the most prominent landmarks in Camden Hills State Park needs a little love after nearly 20 years of neglect.

The Friends of the Mt. Battie Tower has announced a campaign to raise $100,000 by June 1. The funds will be used to repair the tower’s cracked stone masonry as well as an inner handrail and staircase that visitors use to reach the roof, where they are rewarded with spectacular views of Penobscot Bay.

Members of the organization say moisture has begun to seep into the tower’s masonry, causing it to deteriorate. They fear that unless steps are taken to repair the damage, the structure could be in jeopardy.

“It is truly a local war memorial, but over time it has taken on a life of its own due to the volume of visitors to the park,” said Randy Stearns, chairman of the Save The Tower campaign. “It has become incredibly popular place to visit 12 months out of the year.”

Each holiday season, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, volunteers install the Mount Battie star on the tower roof. The illuminated star is visible from every island in Penobscot Bay and can be seen as far away as Mount Desert Island, Stearns said.

The tower was erected in 1921. It was dedicated as a monument to World War I veterans and their families on the home front.

Over time, storms and harsh Maine winters have taken their toll on the tower. The tower is also visited by thousands of people who come to Camden Hills State Park each year. They can take the auto road that leads to the summit of Mount Battie –where the tower is located – or they can hike up Mount Battie to reach the tower.

Though the state owns the tower, Stearns said officials have told him there are no state funds available for repairs. It has been almost 20 years since the tower underwent repairs.

“Their first reaction was, we don’t have any money,” Stearns said. “But they have been super supportive of what we want to do.”

The Friends of Mt. Battie Tower is asking supporters to donate whatever they can. The town of Camden is managing the repair fund. Checks should be made payable to the Town of Camden, with “Save the Tower Fund” in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to Town of Camden, 29 Elm St., P.O. Box 1207, Camden, Maine 04843.

Those who want more information about the project can view the group’s community Facebook page at www.facebook.com/savethemtbattietower.

 

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CORRECTION: This story was updated at 11:59 a.m. on Jan. 20 to correct the name of Randy Stearns.