Glenn Lowry Mill Campfire Girls, 1920s

I read a notice about a “summer camp fair” where parents can go and talk to representatives from all the area camps.  It seems a bit odd considering that almost all the clientele of these camps are flat-landers.  But anyway it reminded me of some pages from a photo album that I bought several years ago.

The photos were of a group of Camp Fire Girls, and there was also a printed article about their time camping and hiking in Western North Carolina.  Also included was a little song or chant:

I sort of assumed that the name of the camp was Glenn-Lowry, but I’d never heard of a camp by that name in this region, and a search turned up nothing.   In reading the article it mentioned “Whitmire girls” and that is where I got lucky.  As it turns out, these girls were from Whitmire, South Carolina, and they were all associated with the Glenn-Lowry Mill that was located there.

The idea of camping as recreation  in the US arose a generation or so after people who were pioneers and moving into new territory pretty much had to spend their traveling nights camping.  What had once been a hardship was now thought to be a fun way to escape the city and modern life.  In many ways it was a pursuit for the middle class and the wealthy, as the poor factory workers had neither the time nor the money for extended leisure.

But things were different in some mill towns, and it seems that Whitmire was one of the lucky ones.  The wife of the owner, Evelyn Coleman who was from Asheville, worked to develop educational and recreational resources for the workers and their families.  The company ran a YMCA, a bowling alley, and a skating rink.  There were baseball teams and clubs for the kids and for the mothers.  And in the early years, there was a group of Camp Fire Girls.

On this occasion, the girls were camping at Camp Minnehaha, which is located about ten miles southeast of Asheville, near the little town of Batcave.  From there they traveled around the region, taking day hikes to some of the most popular spots – Mount Pisgah, Chimney Rock and Blowing Rock.  It must have been a very big adventure for girls living in a small South Carolina cotton mill town.

9 Comments

Filed under Camping and Hiking

9 responses to “Glenn Lowry Mill Campfire Girls, 1920s

  1. I would wear that outfit right now! Camp Fire Girls is the most fun group ever!

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  2. Good to see you are now watermarking your images Lizzie. I don’t think it detracts from the overall appeal or quality at all. :-)

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  3. What wonderful photos! In some pictures those pants look more like culottes than bloomers. And some of the girls look so young…might they have been the children of other workers? Here you have found so much interesting background information, and I just want more.

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  4. The girl with the broom photo is my favorite in this series. I’m always fascinated when I see a Camp Fire Girl guide while treasure-hunting, so it’s great to see these photos.

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  5. It’s always encouraging to know that some companies had the interests of their employees in mind at least to some extent. The outfits look cool and comfy, offering protection from the sun, insects and brambles.

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  6. Mary Alice

    There are ads for Camp Minnehaha near Batcave in issues of the Camp Fire Girls’ magazines, “WoHeLo” and “Everygirls” between 1918 and 1924. I think there is also some information about the camp’s director found on the Internet. It is interesting to have this additional information.

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  7. Jimmy

    We posted a link to this on the Whitmire, South Carolina Facebook page, maybe we can put some names to the faces. Thanks for sharing!

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