Kennebunkport has long been known for its fishing and ship building. It is its most famous residents, George H.W. Bush (41) and his family, however who have made it well known to the world.
The headland that is now called Walker’s Point, was purchased in the late 19th century by George H.W. Bush’s great grandfather David Davis Walker and his son, George H Walker. Both built mansions on the piece of land in 1902, but only one of those buildings remains today. George H Walker died in 1953 and his son George Herbert Walker, Jr purchased the property from the estate. When he passed away in 1977, George H.W. Bush purchased the estate from his uncle and it remains in the Bush family to this day.
George H.W. Bush has long summered at Walker’s Point with his wife Barbara and their children. They are still resident in Maine for six months of the year, from Mid-May to Mid-October and their presence is seen, and felt, in many ways by this small coastal community. Walker Point is not accessible to the public, but there is a layby on Ocean Avenue that visitors can park in long enough to take a photo of this famous summer residence.
While in residence in Maine, President Bush (41) has hosted dignitaries from around the world. Prior visitors include Britain’s former Prime Minister John Major, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Clinton. Keen golfers, both 41 and his son 43, have played the Historic Cape Arundel Golf Club behind the 1802 House. George W Bush and his brother Jeb still play every summer and our guests are always delighted when they see them on the course.
The Kennebunkport community love their famous neighbors and have shown their appreciation for this family who have been so important in the development and history of the Kennebunks area. In 2009, a monument to George H.W. Bush was crafted from a 6,000 pound anchor from a naval destroyer, and placed along Ocean Avenue across from the Bush compound. The plaque reads “For our friend and 41st President George H.W. Bush. As he was for our nation and world during four years of tumultuous and historic change, so, too, has Kennebunkport served, in the words of St. Paul, ‘as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stead’ to him. Presented by those who love him as much as he loves this special place.”
First Lady Barbara Bush and her literacy foundation have been recognized with a memorial on the Village Green on Ocean Avenue with Ganny’s Garden. A plaque and bench with hat, open book and shoes recognize this area as a place to relax and while away the afternoon among the flowers. The garden represents her view of literacy. In her own words: “A man gave me some peonies once and he said: Well, if you plant them just as we say, you dig a deep hole, fertilize it, spread the roots and put the dirt back on, and then, they may not bloom the first year but they will bloom for the next 100 years. That’s the way I think about literacy. You teach a mother and child to read and that family will read for a hundred years to come.”
Plan a trip to Kennebunkport to discover for yourself what the Bush family, and the rest of us know; this is a beautiful destination to escape, relax and unwind. We hope to see you soon.