#6 The Transition from Camp Tarion

The following has been assembled from newspaper clippings and my memories of what skip told me. Click on the link and it will take you to the newspaper that is summarized below the link.

1936.07.22 – Alls ok at camp tarion

1) It is reported that as of July 1936 Camp Tarion had a successful season

1937.02.06 – Camp tarion financial problems

2) However as of February 1937 Camp Tarion’s financial and operating problems come to light. “Many alterations and improvements are necessary to the camp property and equipment at Camp Tarion, on Canandaigua Lake, to insure the health and safety of Scouts attending. The knotty problem of finance was dealt with at some length by the Scout Executive and he pointed out that more money is necessary  immediately to “guarantee any expansion in the program of Scouting in the Finger Lakes Council.””

1937.03.26 – List of items need for camp, no funds requested yet

3) In March of 1937 a report on camping for 1937 was made by Harry Weart, of Seneca Falls. Needs for the coming season were discussed but no dates for the operating of Camp Tarion, Scout camp on Canandaigua lake were set.

1937.05.07 – Camp Tarion closed – Penn yan democrat

4) In April of 1937 it was announced that “Camp Tarion, Finger Lakes Council Boy Scout camp on Canandaigua Lake, will not be operated this summer. The decision was reached at a meeting of the executive board of the Council held in conjunction with the annual training conclave at the Y.M.C.A. here last night. Scout Executive Frederick D. Quinn said this morning that council finances make operation of the camp impossible this year. Scouts of the three-county area of the Council who desire to go to camp this year will be taken care of through arrangements now being made with neighboring Councils operating camps.”

5) Rochester’s Council Camp Pioneer was one of those camps. Additionally other troops conducted experimental camping at various other locations during the 1937 season. One of those locations was the Johnson farm on Seneca Lake near Gilbert Station. 1937 was the first year that troops camped at what would be know as Camp Babcock-Hovey. Therefore 1937 is used as the birth of Camp Babcock-Hovey even through it would take another two years to open the camp.

1937.11.17 – FLC possibly looking for a new camp – The Naples record

1937.11.17 – FLC possibly looking for a new camp – The Naples News

6) In November of 1937 it was announced  the sale of Camp Tarion is Being Considered. “It is considered somewhat inaccessible for the use of a large group and the level area is too small to give space for athletic sports which is desirable to incorporate in the camp program. A large site is desired“. A committee is formed to “investigate offers for the present campsite and possible new sites.

1938.01.26 – Defiently selling camp tarion

7) As of January 1938 “camp problems of Finger Lakes Council. Boy Scouts, are being studied by both members of the executive board and the camp committee. The Council has definitely abandoned Camp Tarion on Canandaigua Lake, now offered for sale. No definite plans have been made for a substitute and committee members are seeking the views of scoutmasters on the type of a camp program moat desired, leaders report.”

8) One of those locations being considered was the Johnson Farm on Seneca Lake near Gilbert Station.

1938.04.13 – Seven month lease with option to buy at end property near Gilbert Station

1938.04.20 – Seven month lease reported in naples news

9) In April of 1937, “Finger Lakes Council , Boy Scouts of America, has taken a seven months’ lease with option to buy on a 147 acre tract of the S.V.D. Johnson farm at Gilbert Station on the east shore of Seneca Lake, south of Willard, for experimental camping purposes” …“Described as a wonderful camp site and “ideal for Scout camping purposes.” the tract of land leased has 1,500 feet lake frontage, is well located. It adjoins the Willard State Hospital farm. The camp committee was given authority by the executive committee to draft plans for temporary troop camps under canvas. No Authority was given for any expenditure and the plans of the camp committee will have to be such as come within financial ability of the council to meet, it was said.” Chairman Harry Weart of the Camp Committee told the executive board that during the past one and a half years since closing of Camp Tarion, the camp committee has been carefully studying the camp problem and has inspected 14 different properties in three counties of Ontario, Seneca and Yates. The Camp committee will meet to make plans for use of the new site this week in Geneva. The big problem, it is said, is to bring the plans within the means of the Council.”

1938.05.03 – No funds for new camp of boy scouts

10) As of May 1938, the hopes of officials of the Finger Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America, to make use of the new experimental camp grounds on the east shore of Seneca Lake near Gilbert station, were dashed last night when it was found that lack of funds would make it necessary to follow the same camp procedure as last year.”

11) In addition to camping at Camp Pioneer again, some troops camped at the Johnson farm once again in order to prepare the camp for use the following year. Sometime during 1937 Supreme Court Justice Nathan D. Lapham, was appointed as chairman of the committee on special contributions.

1938.11.16 – Large gift to purchase property but donor name kept secret – DC – but doner is present

1938.11.16 – Large gift to purchase property but donor name kept secret

12) However it wasn’t until November 16, 1938 that “An anonymous gift of a large sum of money to Finger Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America, will make possible the immediate purchase and development of a summer camp on Seneca. Announcement of the gift was made at a special meeting of the Board of Directors last night in the Genera Country Club. The directors and other Council officers were guests of Supreme Court Justice Nathan D. Lapham, chairman of a special committee which has been seeking funds for the camp project. The Council includes troops in Ontario, Yates and Seneca counties. At the dinner were President George Lawson. Dundee; Council Executive Fred D. Quinn; William Chileon, Geneva, treasurer, Harry Weart, chairman of the camp committee and the following directors: Henry Parmale, Hotcomb; B. E. Babcock, Phelps; Dr. Murray Bartlett, Geneva; Charles S. Wilson, Ball; Prank Widmer. Naples; Dr. A- W. Armstrong, Canandaigua; Neils Iverson, Gorham; George C Sweet, Waterloo; H. Merton Smith, Penn Tan; Ira M Croucher, Canandaigua; Justice Lapham, and Fred Story, Seneca Falls.

Justice Lapham said that the donor had requested that his name be withheld in connection with the gift but he indicated that he hoped later to’ persuade him to permit the name to be used so that the hundreds of Scouts in the three-county area would know to whom they are indebted. The name was not mentioned at the meeting. It was learned, however, that the unidentified donor was among those present.

An option on the purchase of a 147-acre site on the east shore of

Seneca Lake, south of Willard, expired last night but the directors were able to exercise the option for the purchase of the land. The price was set at $8,000. Quinn said that funds are available to start development work immediately.”… “Committees of the Council for months have made a study of available sites and an engineer from National Headquarters made a special survey of the new site, pronouncing it ideal. There is an excellent beach, the tract is heavily wooded, with many attractive glens and spaces for troop camps, athletic fields and the like. Good water is available. The site is easily reached, on good highways. According to present plans several buildings will be constructed and tents’ will be used to shelter the boys. Maps have been drawn and the tentative layout approved by leaders in the area. The plans call for accommodation  next summer for 79 boys per week, plus leadership.

1938.11.30 – Camp Tarion sold – Naples News

1938.11.30 – Camp Tarion sold – Naples Record

13)  Coincidentally Camp Tarion was sold November 11, 1930. “The equipment now stored at the camp will be used at the new Scout camp on Seneca Lake”

1938.12.06 – Work begins on Camp Near Gilbert Station

14) December 1938,  Work will be started within 30 days on development of the new camp site of the Finger Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America, on the east shore of Seneca Lake near Gilbert Station following action of the executive board and committees at the last session of the calendar year here last night. The business meeting was preceded by a dinner at the First Presbyterian church. Camping equipment from Camp Tarion, former camp on Canandaigua Lake, retained when the property was sold to a Washington, D. C. man, will be moved from storage at Naples and checked over. Drilling for water on the new site will also be started and location of a good drinking water supply will largely determine the site of the proposed dining hall. The Council, the board decided last night, will develop its new camp to make it most suitable for Scouts of 12 and 13 years of age, constituting a majority of Scouts in the territory. Wishes of parents and the donors of the large gifts for the camp will also be taken into consideration. Harry Weart, Seneca Falls, chairman of the camp committee, reported briefly on activities during the past month.”

1939.01.05 – Camp Donation announcement

15) In January of 1939, It is finally announced who the anonymous benefactor were. “A joint gift of $13,500 by H. E. Hovey, of Geneva, and Birton E. Babcock, of Phelps, will make possible the new camp of the Finger Lakes council, Boy Scouts on the east shore of Seneca Lake near Gilbert Station, it was announced at a special meeting of the executive board in the offices of the Chamber of Commerce here last night.

Officials of the Council made the announcement public this morning with great rejoicing pointing out that the generosity of Mr. Hovey and Mr. Babcock has given Scouting in the tri-county Council area of Ontario, Seneca and Yates Counties one of its biggest boosts. Announcement of the joint gift was made by Supreme Court Justice N. D. Lapham, chairman of the committee on special contributions. “This is the most outstanding announcement ever made in the history of the Finger Lakes Council, Boy scouts,” justice Lapham declared, In revealing the donors of the new camp. “The new camp will be the greatest benefit to the Scouts in the council’s three-county area and provide one of the biggest incentives to Scouting In its program of character-building for boys in this region.”

The executive board last night named a special camp development and construction committee, headed by Harry Weart, of Seneca Falls, as chairman. Other members are: Charles s. Wilson, Hall; B. W. Morris, Stark, Penn Yan, Donovan, Canandaigua. Work will be started at once to have the new camp ready for the 1939 season. Tentative plans call for a camp to accommodate over 100 boys per week under canvas. There will be a central kitchen and dining facility. Troops will camp in units of 32 each, information for contractors on well drilling is now in the mails. Plans are also under consideration for bringing electricity to the site.

1939 Contract – New Road

1939 Map – New Road

16) One of the first developments of Camp Babcock-Hovey was the main camp road. This was awarded to Howard W. Keeney on April 28, 1939. The road was eight feet wide and had several “turn outs” where two vehicles could pass. The cost was $500. This gave the dining hall contractor, Neils Iverson, access to begin work. The dining hall was completed by the Camp Babcock Hovey dedication at a cost of $5865.40. In includes a beautiful stone fireplace, which was a gift of Mr. Iverson. It states “Around these fire many friendships grow”.

The water system, a 200 foot well was also in place, it still exist as of 2012 near the current kitchen propane tanks. A camp maintenance facility concluded the camp development of the 1930’s.

IMG_0998 IMG_0997

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2 Responses to #6 The Transition from Camp Tarion

  1. Carol Irby says:

    Are there any pictures or brochures of Camp Tarion available? Carol Irby

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