Replacement of the Folsom Pavilion at Centennial Grove


In 1975, the Town purchased a natural area on the shores of Chebacco Lake known as the Centennial Grove.  In its prime, the area was a private, outdoor recreation facility that patrons would arrive at by steam train from all over the north shore and beyond.  Although the Grove had a much larger collection of buildings prior to the Town's ownership, a small number of buildings did survive, including a large, open-air pavilion.  In the late-90's and the early-2000's, one individual, David Folsom, led regular maintenance and renovation efforts at the facility, often involving large civic groups that would have annual events at the Grove in exchange for improvement work.  Mr. Folsom was a longtime member of the Conservation Commission and, later, a selectman.  After his passing, his dedication to the facility was recognized by officially naming the open-air pavilion the "Folsom Pavilion".

Folsom Pavilion

Unfortunately, despite Mr. Folsom's past efforts, the 100-year-old structure continued to need significant upkeep and, after a final attempt at structural shoring, needed to be torn down.  Presently, the Economic Development Committee (EDC) is hopeful that the Folsom Pavilion will be rebuilt for the enjoyment of all Essex residents, including Essex children attending summer camp, and for Town revenue generation via regular rentals.  The return of the pavilion is just one aspect of an overall plan to renovate the Grove using future grant funding and the pavilion itself has a $150,000 backing in the form of a recent Town appropriation.  While that funding is a good start, it is far short of the estimated $550,000 necessary to replace the pavilion via traditional bid and construction methods.  However, volunteer project coordination and significant material contribution are being provided by resident and local business owner Dan Mayer (Mayer Tree).  Mr. Mayer is donating all of the raw lumber for the job and is working to have it cut and milled for the proper joinery.  Mr. Mayer has already used his resources to conduct much-needed tree and underbrush clearing in the area and will lead a team of other, volunteer professionals as the project begins to take shape in the spring of 2023.

New Pavilion

Presently all the beams are milled and awaiting to be shipped to Maine for the joinery to be completed.  It will then be shipped back to Essex for assembly.  There will be lots of volunteer opportunities for professional tradesmen and amateur volunteers once the frame is raised by the team from Maine.

All the trees used for this project are ones that were removed locally by our crews.  And milled right here in Essex.   

folsom, economic development committee, david folsom, folsom pavilion, conservation commission, chebacco lake, maine, dan mayer