Waldron Bates joins four rooms in the old servants’ wing. The bathroom has windows overlooking both the front and back of the Cleftstone, a clawfoot soaker tub, and a separate walk-in shower. The sitting room at the top of a private staircase is wood panelled, informal, and invites sprawling on the sofa. The bedroom has a high ceiling, sleeping area, and a nook with a Chinese checker game table. Marbles, anyone?
Large flat panel TV
The Waldron Bates room is named after the nephew of Charles T. How. Bates is credited for the development of the hiking trails of Acadia National Park and is widely known as The Pathmaker.
Waldron Bates began visiting Bar Harbor in the 1890s, often accompanying his uncle. They stayed at the Belmont Hotel on West Street during their summers and lived in Boston for the winter. While How was busy developing real estate for mansions, Bates was busy developing hiking trails.
The hiking trails in modern day Acadia National Park were constructed under the auspices of the various town village improvement associations while the land was still privately held. Waldron Bates was the first chairman of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association path committee. Being chairman was not solely a supervisory position, as Bates himself laid out and worked on most of the trails himself. He is credited with creating 150 miles of hiking trails in the Bar Harbor VIA area of responsibility (roughly north and east of Cadillac Mountain). For perspective, Acadia National Park today, in its entirety, contains roughly 140 miles of trails. It is disappointing to think that some of his best efforts, including the Goat Trail up Pemetic Mountain, have been abandoned and unused since the 1940s.
In addition to the hiking trails, Waldron Bates also laid out the first nine holes of the golf course at the Kebo Valley Club. Co-owned by his uncle Charles and DeGrasse Fox, the Kebo Valley Club boasted one of the first 10 golf courses in the United States. The Bar Harbor Times reported each spring on the arrival of Waldron Bates to begin work on the golf course and on his hiking trails, making them ready for the summer visitors to follow.
Bates may have played a role in the very early effort to set aside private land for what ultimately became ANP. In 1906 he solicited the donation of Fawn Pond land from Charles T How. Fawn Pond remains a part of Acadia National Park, although the hiking trail to it is no longer maintained by the park.
Waldron Bates is memorialized by two monuments. There is a plaque in his honor on the Gorham Mountain Trail at the intersection with the Cadillac Cliffs Trail. There is also a plaque at the 18th green of the Kebo Valley Club.
Bates was an avid outdoorsman with keen interest in hiking and fishing. Surprisingly, he died in 1909 after falling while stepping from a train. Known to have enemies because of his role as a preservationist, it is believed by some people that he was pushed.
The Waldron Bates room is a collection of several rooms that used to be servants’ space in the third floor of the servants’ wing.