The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Madeleine Albright's Muskie Trail

Posted by | March 25, 2022 | Filed under: Culture

Spurred by the passing of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Laudholm Trust board chair Lily Rice Kendall Hsia recently wrote to share the following memory of this good friend from the Wells Reserve's early years:

We were holding town receptions at the Wells Reserve for our members the summer of 1989. The one I recall was for the Kennebunks. Mrs. Edmund Muskie (or someone calling on her behalf) called to see if she and her husband could bring house guests, including Madeleine Albright. Many of their neighbors who were involved in Laudholm Trust were planning to come. They all did; it was a good turnout.
The Visitors Center and grounds were open and there were helpers talking about each of the proposed exhibit rooms. [Laudholm Trust president] Mort Mather did his magic telling about the farm, Trust, and Reserve. Afterwards, as people had refreshments and wandered, Mrs. Albright was talking to someone in her group about what she might do to honor Senator Muskie and his love of Maine. I picked up on that and said I thought we could help. I suggested I bring Mort over to talk with us. He mentioned that there was one trail left, and would she be interested in naming it after the Senator? Yes! He talked about the location of the trail, which she liked as it was right off the road coming into the Reserve. She asked about the cost of building the trail, boardwalk, and signage. She volunteered right there to contact all those people who had worked in Muskie’s offices, as she had over the years, so that they all could honor him.
That was an extraordinary outcome from the party. And it started our relationship with Ms. Albright. What followed was preparing materials for her, helping with her lists, keeping track of donations and thank yous. Karen Stathoplos, as always, was most helpful.
Mort was in touch with Madeleine’s DC office and he and I were invited to visit her there to plan the campaign. That was a great honor. She greeted us personally. I remember all the photos in her office of her with international diplomats, presidents, politicians. She commented on many and it was fun hearing what she had to say. We discussed the timeline and the tasks to be done for the new Muskie Trail. We were off and running with an exciting opportunity.
Mort kept in touch with her. Funds were raised and she added the finishing touch with a significant gift of her own ("ultimately surpassing the $50,000 needed to name the trail," says Mort). Two summers later, we held the trail dedication on the porch and lawn at the Visitors Center. The Muskies, friends, board members, supporters, and Madeleine Albright were all there. It was a glorious day for a celebration and for the introductory walk on the The Muskie Trail.

Secretary Albright was a scholar, a leader, a defender of human rights, and a passionate advocate for diplomacy and freedom. She was also a friend of the Wells Reserve and the driving force behind one of our most beloved trails here. Thank you, Secretary.

Madeleine Albright on stage at an Albright Institute event at Wellesley College, 2016

Madeleine Albright, 1937-2022

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