Walker’s Point was called Point Vesuvius before young George Herbert Walkers bought it in 1902. It was the preferred picnicking spot along the shore in Kennebunkport. The Boston and Kennebunkport Seashore Company also called it Damon’s Park for a while in honor of one of the founders of the company, but the name Point Vesuvius stuck for a decade after the Walkers moved in.
The Walker family had already been summering at Kennebunkport for about 15 years by then. Members of the family lived at a number of other Cape Arundel cottages over the years. At first, they stayed at the Ocean Bluff Hotel that stood where The Colony is now. Bert’s father, David Davis Walker was a well-known merchant of St. Louis, MO. It was his teenaged son Bert who organized, managed, and played on the Ocean Bluff Hotel baseball team in the 1880s. According to a report in the Wave, they transported a large supply of the very best baseball equipment all the way from St. Louis so that the team would be ready for any contest.
Mr. and Mrs. D. D. Walker started renting one of the Senat cottages in 1894 but Bert and his brother James Theodore or Ted for short, continued to stay at the Ocean Bluff Hotel. The Walker brothers were listed in The Wave as attendees at a raucous Clam Bake that took place at Point Vesuvius during the summer of 1895. In 1897, David Davis and Martha Walker purchased The Arches, one of the oldest cottages at Cape Arundel.
On the evening of February 4, 1898, when the temperature in Kennebunkport was 16 degrees below zero, the 1872 Ocean Bluff Hotel was completely destroyed by fire.
For the first time in many years, Bert stayed in St. Louis for the 1898 and 1899 summer seasons. It may have been his St Louis polo schedule that kept him home, as was reported in The Wave, but Bert arrived in Kennebunkport for the summer of 1900, with a charming new wife, the former Lucretia Wear and a baby girl, Nancy. The young family rented the cottage at 5 Central Ave., that had recently been built by Mrs. Samuel Jones.
I have heard many times that Dorothy Walker Bush was born at Walker’s Point. She wasn’t. Her birth was celebrated in the Wave during the summer of 1901. Her family had rented the Mrs. Samuel Jones cottage for a second season. Bert didn’t purchase Point Vesuvius until August 30, 1902, when he was 27 years old. The first issue of the 1903 Wave described the new construction of George Herbert Walker’s cottage at the point and a second cottage built by his father, David Davis Walker.
If reports in the Wave are accurate, Bert was an astounding athlete. He played baseball, polo, golf, and tennis. He wrestled, sailed, and raced motorboats. He served as the vice-commodore and the commodore at the Kennebunk River Club, and he continued to support baseball in Kennebunkport for many years.
Bert’s daughter Dorothy, born at Kennebunkport, was also a star tennis player at Cape Arundel when she was growing up. Dorothy married Prescott Sheldon Bush Sr in Kennebunkport in 1921, the same year the Wandby went aground near Walker’s Point. Their son, George Herbert Walker Bush and their grandson George W. Bush would become the 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States, respectively. George H. W. and Barbara Bush lived at The Billows across from Walkers Point in the 1970s. The D. D. Walker cottage at Walker’s Point was demolished in the 1960s. President George W. Bush and his lovely wife, Laura now resides in the remaining 1903 cottage.
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