Camp Greystone, 1930s

It’s not often that I run across a neat little collection of this type.  It’s not a recent collection; it was made by Sarah Elizabeth Jetton of Davidson, NC in the early 1930s.  It is a collection of her own camp memorabilia.

Sarah attended Camp Greystone, located in Tuxedo, NC, for at least four years – 1931 – 1934.  Because she was in her late teens and early 20s during these years, I’m assuming she was there as a camp counselor.  During this time Sarah was attending college, first at Salem College, then at Davidson.   From that fact, we can deduce that Sarah’s family must have been well off, as this was the height of the Depression, and college was a real luxury during those days.

While I couldn’t find what Sarah’s father’s occupation was, it is possible he was in banking, as both Sarah and her only sibling both choose banking careers.   I’ve been reading a biography of Henry Belk, who with his brother John Belk established the Charlotte, NC based Belk Department stores.  According to the biographer, Le Gette Blythe, this area of North Carolina was somewhat insulated from the financial troubles of Wall Street.  Belk used a system of supply that worked directly with the many textile manufacturers of  central North Carolina, and by cutting prices most of them were able to stay afloat, and to even grow during this time.  (My father had three sisters who left the mountains during the Depression, went to the Charlotte area looking for textile jobs, and found them.) This surely made for a happy banking situation.

At any rate, Sarah kept all her camp souvenirs, and a dealer had bought the entire lot at the sale of her estate.  I was attracted to the booth by the sweater, which was such a great item, but he rightly refused to sell just it, vowing to keep the collection together.  So I decided to pass, because I knew this is a collection that will mean much more to the right buyer than it would to me.  Still I gave it serious consideration, and it was only the subsequent purchase of two 1920s frocks that made any further consideration pointless!  (in other words, I was broke!)

Camp Greystone is still in operation today, and is still run by the family of the man who founded it in 1920.  It is located in Tuxedo, NC, which is just south of me near the South Carolina line.  Tuxedo was started as a mill town when a textile factory was built there around 1907.  As a source of power, the company built two lakes which quickly became summering spots for hot flatlanders.  Before long there were several summer camps along the edge of the lake.  It’s quite picturesque, with vintage cabins and boathouses dotting the lake shore.  Let’s hope it stays that way.


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Collecting

11 responses to “Camp Greystone, 1930s

  1. That IS a terrific collection. 🙂 I would love just to see it–and the history with it is wonderful!


  2. Bijoux

    Reminds me of a comedy record of the 60s (?) that really intrigued us in the UK. Sounded as if it was written by a boy in ‘Camp Grenada? bits of it went ‘Hello Mother, Hello Father’… ‘Take me home’ and ended up with ‘kindly disregard this letter.’ American life sounded very different.


  3. seaside

    What I really love is the turquoise font on the book. Can anyone identify that?


  4. Wonderful! I would have loved browsing that collection. Love the graphics and typeface on the pamhplets.


  5. Tentalow

    I was a camper at Greystone for 10 years and it will forever be my home away from home. Each item in your pictures is created annually for the girls to carry their memories with them as the years go on. The photograph is of the counselors as they stand in front of the Dining Hall, which still stands today and is where all of the campers, counselors, and head staff break bread together.

    What a treat to have found such a beautiful collection. I hope somehow it ends up in another Greystone Girl’s trunk.


  6. Sara Austin dorsett

    I too was a camper at Camp Greystone. I attended for several years and I still carry with me the best memories ever! In fact I have two daughters who are going to attend next year. It brings back many memories looking back at these photos .


  7. Kate

    Thank you for sharing this, what a wonderful collection. My daughter is a current camper and they’re still creating the same memories at Greystone now! It’s truly a wonderful place.


  8. Mary Eleanor Stebbins Slutskiy

    As a camper and long time counselor at Greystone I can assure you that things are still as you had hoped! In fact, many of the items pictured here are still made yearly for each girl as a keepsake of her time. I wonder where these items are now? Where did you find them back in 2011?


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