Tag Archives: Summer Camp

Camp Dellwood, Part Three

Of all the topics I’ve written about on The Vintage Traveler, the one that generates the most email is that of summer camps.  As I’ve written before, my area was famous for its summer camps, most of which are long closed.  One that seems to universally generate fond memories is Camp Dellwood.  Camp Dellwood was founded in 1926, and sometime later an adjoining camp, Hemlock, was added for boys.  It closed in 1973.

I can remember riding by the camp as a child, as it sat right off the road that we took to travel to my father’s family in the far western part of North Carolina.  I was always envious of the girls riding horses in the riding rink.  The archery targets were set up there as well.

I received these photos from Carol Hastings Sanders, who attended the six-week sessions of Camp Dellwood in 1954, 1955, 1959, and 1960.  She used these pictures, as well as dozens of her own photos and some 16mm movies, to make a 30-minute video, “Going Away to Summer Camp,” with a voiceover describing camp life.  She made it to share with her family and friends, and would be happy to share it with any former campers who are interested.

These photos come from a promotional brochure that Carol says was given out in 1960.  Many of the photos are older though, as they tended to use the same photos year after year.

I’d love to hear from any Camp Dellwood or Hemlock campers, and if you are interested in Carol’s video I can get her contact information to you.

I’m sure this is a creek or spring fed lake, and I just imagine how cold that water was, even in July!

 

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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.

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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.

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Camp Dellwood, Part II

Back in February I posted a photo from the early 1930s of a group of campers from Camp Dellwood.  Since then I’ve heard from three people who attended or worked at the camp.  Margaret Crum, who is the daughter-in-law of the last owners of the camp let me know that it closed in 1973.

And a former camper sent me these great photos taken from her time at the camp, the late 60s and early 70s.  According to her, the campers wore white on Sundays.  It looks like from the photos, that there were no other real restrictions on dress; the girls are wearing sportswear typical of the times.  No middies and bloomers for this bunch of modern girls!  Some of them do seem to wearing proper riding attire, but who could resist the opportunity to wear those great boots?!

Photos courtesy of a former camper, Dellwood and Hemlock
Newsletters, 1969-1972

Comments:

Posted by Beverly Griffin:

I truly enjoyed seeing this page. When I saw the first picture, I was absolutely positive that the second child from the front was me. Then I saw that the contributing camper attended Dellwood over a decade after I did. Oh well! Cheers, Bev

Sunday, August 23rd 2009 @ 8:53 PM

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Haywood County Summer Camps

Something about the idea of summer camp seems so old fashioned.  I can’t imagine girls today wanting to attend camp.  But my area, which has had thriving camps since the 1910s still has a few that seem to be doing fairly well.

Above is a group shot of Camp Dellwood, which was located about five miles from where I live.  I can remember it as a child in the 1960s, or rather, I remember the sign and the archery range, which was all that was visible from the highway. It must have closed by the 70s.

In this close-up you can see that in 1931, these campers were still wearing bloomers. but most of them are pretty short – over the knee.  It could be that these were “special” uniforms, as I can’t imagine that they wore all white to hang out in the woods!

There was also, just up the road from Camp Dellwood, Camp Junaluska.  Here is an ad from a 1941 Vogue.

As far as I know, there is only one girl’s camp remaining in my county – Skyland Camp .  It sits on a hill just across my little town.  In the morning we can hear their announcements and at night we can hear their recording of Taps.  This camp  was started in 1917 on the site of an old  hotel.  The hotel was being closed, and an impulse, a woman guest bought it at a public auction on the site. The hotel still stands, though it has seen better days.

But Hendersonville, about 45 miles away, has a thriving camp industry.  Last week all the camps held a job fair, and they were swamped by job seekers.  And not just the usual collage students looking for a fun summer job – many of the applicants were out-of-work adults  looking for a temporary job to make ends meet.  Hopefully the camps will be full and will provide these needed jobs.

Comments:

Posted by sonia:

this is beautiful just love your site I have only just started on my own site. Thanks for letting me visit nice. 

Saturday, February 21st 2009 @ 1:53 PM

Posted by Nancy:

I attended Camp Dellwood from 1966 until it closed in 1973. What fun to see these photos on your website! 

Thursday, April 23rd 2009 @ 5:56 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Nancy, Thanks for posting. I want to know more!! 

Thursday, April 23rd 2009 @ 6:48 AM

Posted by Dale:

I started attending Camp Dellwood after Camp Montreat closed. Loved the pictures! Thanks for posting.:) 

Thursday, April 23rd 2009 @ 3:51 PM

Posted by “Sparkles” Margaret Crum:

What a great pic! My in-laws, the Crums purchased Dellwood in the 1940’s and you are right about it closing…1973 to be exact. I attended as a camper and counselor from 1960-1972. A camp reunion was held in 2006 and 2008. Great memories!:) 

Wednesday, May 6th 2009 @ 1:28 PM

Posted by Kathryn Glover:

I attended Camp Dellwood in 1962 & 1963, then was an Arts & Crafts Director in 1969. The Krumm.s ran the camp then. I have great memories from being there. 

Monday, June 15th 2009 @ 7:54 PM

Posted by Beverly Griffin:

I attended Camp Dellwood for several years in the fifties. I know for sure I was there in 1954 because the cost of a first class postage stamp went up from three to four cents that summer. Fred Crum, who was the camp director then, introduced my parents (Edna Earl Clausel from Memphis, Chattanooga, and Lookout Mountain, TN, and Ashton Thomas Griffin Jr. of Goldsboro, NC) to each other. I have fond memories of Dellwood and also of its companion, Camp Hemlock for boys. I fell in love every summer with at least one Hemlock camper. Note to Margaret Crum- I tried to link to “Sparkles” without success. If remember correctly, the Crums had two children. You must have married one of them. Are there any records of campers’ names from the fifties? I remember a few names, but mostly just first names. Buried somewhere in some closet or attic corner of my house, I think there is a box of photos containing pictures of the camp. If I find them, I’d be happy to share. Cheers, Bev 

Sunday, August 23rd 2009 @ 8:33 PM

Posted by melanie:

My sister and I visited the Asheville area recently to find the Dellwood Camp area where our mother and 2 aunts were in 1930-33. We discovered (after asking about 6 people) where the camp was located. It is off of Old Clyde Road, which is just east of 209 on the dam side of Junaluska Lake. Turn left into FoxFire Estates. The camp was located at the top of the semi circle road. The old water fountain and some steps are viewable from the road. o:) 

Tuesday, September 15th 2009 @ 10:55 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

Melanie, That is good to know. I need to ride over there and take photos. 

Thursday, September 17th 2009 @ 11:26 AM

Posted by Vicki Murdock:

I have a friend Margaret Brice who was a counselor in the mid 1930’s. I’d like to have any photos of Western NC summer camps from the 30’s to teach the current camp “kids” what it was like generations ago. Has anyone heard of Camp Tonawanda in Hendersonville? It was used by the Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC 

Wednesday, March 31st 2010 @ 9:58 AM

Posted by C Dibble:

I attended Camp Hemlock in the 50s . . . and last rode by the site in about 1978 when the gym – deserted – was still visible from the highway. Talked with a fellow camper today and we were trying to pinpoint the exact location and not having much luck. US 19 near Dellwood … but where? I see Eagle’s Nest on the map. Any landmarks today on US 19??? 

Thursday, July 1st 2010 @ 8:04 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

CD, I really don’t know the exact location of Hemlock, but I may be able to find out. 

Friday, July 2nd 2010 @ 6:19 PM

Posted by J.D. WHITEHEAD:

THINK WE FOUND WHAT WAS CAMP HEMLOCK.HEMLOCK LOOP IS A ROAD TO THE LEFT BETWEEN WAYNESVILLE AND MAGGIE VALLEY. HAS TO BE IT. IN HEMLOCK FOREST.NOW A SUBDIVISION. ACROSS THE HIGHWAY IS A CAMPER PARK ALONG A CREEK OR RIVER. 

Tuesday, July 13th 2010 @ 8:22 PM

Posted by Charlie:

Nice memories.
My father told me that his aunt started it. She must have been the woman guest who bought it.
I believe Camp Hemlock was an outgrowth of Camp Dellwood. It was boys and Dellwood was girls. They were almost the same camp, even shared a dining hall. 

Thursday, October 7th 2010 @ 12:01 PM

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The Junior Campers on a Hike

It’s almost summer camp time.  The first camps for girls were opened in 1902, and within a few years they were located throughout the eastern US. Because these camps were for girls only, the prohibition against girls wearing pants in public did not apply, and in photos of even the earliest camps you see girls and young women wearing bloomers. By the 1920s middies and bloomers were standard wear at camp. In a 1920 list of articles to bring to Camp Keystone near Brevard, NC, girls were instructed to bring 8 middies, 4 bloomers and a heavy sweater. Skirts were not mentioned at all.

So the younger sisters, and even daughters, of the pioneering college students who first wore bloomers on a regular basis spent their summers attired in the relative freedom of middies and bloomers. And before long, this “uniform” was pretty much standard schoolgirl attire, although middies were worn with skirts outside the gymnasium. The girls of the teens became women in the Twenties and Thirties, and were the first to wear short and slacks in public. Not surprising, really.

All of the above is from my up-coming workshop that I’ll be presenting in 3 weeks on the VFG boards.  I have really neglected my poor lonely journal, because I got so involved in the writing of the workshop and finding just the right photos.  I had not planned to get it squared away quite so early, but I was afraid I’ve have one of those college class dreams – the one where I was enrolled in courses but was neglecting to go to class until the term was half over!  I had that dream all through college, and when I started contemplating grad school, I started having it again.  It was the single most important issue in my decision not to further my formal education!

But I digress.  The above photo is from Camp Merry Meeting.  I have no idea where this camp was located, but I got the photo in Ellijay, Georgia, not that that really means anything.  It was probably taken in the early 1920s when bloomers were still full. I love that their stockings are rolled to below their knees.  Rebels!

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Currently Reading: Campfire Girls at the Seashore

I bought this old book at a flea market a few weeks ago, and have finally gotten around to reading it.  I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but considering that it is a book for teen girls written in 1914,  I was not prepared for what I found inside.  The illustration above shows a tranquil scene of the happy girls at camp, but in the first few pages of the book I’ve encountered kidnappers, run-aways, arsonists, gypsies and a shyster lawyer.  And then things really get interesting with a rich snobby girl who looks down on the others in violation of the rules of the Camp Fire!

One of my favorite passages concerns clothing:

“She stood before them as she spoke, a splendid figure of youth, and health and strength.  And, as she spoke, she plunged her hand into a capacious pocket in her skirt.

“There!” she said, “that’s one of the things that has kept women helpless.  It wasn’t fashionable to have pockets, so men got one great advantage in their clothes.  Camp Fire Girls have pockets!”

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