Camp In the 1940s


Through the generosity of Willard Kerr, a camper at Charlevoix in the 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942 seasons, we have our first glimpse of camp in those days.

Camp Brochure (Printed for the 1942 Season): This may be the first-ever camp brochure. Take the time to read the text in the brochure, it is revealing of the times. While the pictures are grainy, there are many aspects of camp that remained the same through the years, not the least of which are the excited faces of the campers.

Items of interest in the Brochure include: an early picture and bio of Ken Smith, the camp had C and E -type scow sailboats back then, and the old boat house still looked like an old boat house. For those of us attending camp in the '60s and later, take a look at the picture of the Parade Grounds on page 19.  Remember the days when the campers from 21 cabins had to fit around the flagpole and there almost was not enough room.

           1942 Camp Charlevoix Brochure

Buddy Books: 1940, 1941, 1942: In those days, the number of campers was small compared to the 1960s so the Buddy Books were only a few pages in length. The 1940 book lists 86 campers and 36 staff. In 1941, 75 campers and 38 staff were listed and in 1942, the first summer of the World War, there were 69 campers and 28 staff. Perhaps because of the War, the 1942 book was printed, front and back on one 8.5 by 11 piece of regular white paper. The front cover to that book was hand written.

            Buddy Book 1940

            Buddy Book 1941

            Buddy Book 1942

Cabin Pictures: There are two shots of Willard and his cabin mates when he was in Cabin 10 and Cabin 13.  In the Cabin 10 picture Willard is the boy in the upper right hand corner, directly below the number 10. In the Cabin 13 picture, Willard is in the middle row on the left side. Note the camp "uniforms" worn by the campers. This is quite a different look from the forest green shorts and camp T-shirts that were worn in later years.  And don't you just wonder who brought the dog to camp?

            Cabin 10 and 13

Campers: Based on the number of campers listed in the Buddy Books during the early '40s, this picture was most likely a picture of the Junior and the Intermediate sections combined. It looks like it was taken with a wide-angle camera; consequently, the photo is shown in two parts.  According to the Buddy Books for these years, in 1940 there were 86 campers. In 1941 there were 75 campers and in 1942 there were 69 campers.

            Campers Part 1 and 2

Counselors and Staff: There are two pictures of counselors and staff. Please note the presence of Ken Smith in both pictures. In the first picture Ken is in the middle row, third from the left. In second picture, which is probably from 1942, Ken is seated in the first row, in the middle, next to "Chief Reimann," the original Director/Owner of the camp. According to the Buddy Books, in 1940 there were 36 on the staff, in 1941 there were 38 on the staff and in 1942, the first summer that the country was at war, there were 28 staff members.

            Staff - Early 1940s

Sailing at Camp: Thanks to Willard Kerr we have a number of very interesting sailing photos. Sailing was Willard's passion at camp and he was one of two campers who, for several years, actually had their own private Snipe sail boat at camp. Also of note is the fact that the camp had a relatively large fleet, including several fast moving scow-type sailboats (E and C).  One of the photos shows a camp E-Scow with some crew and they were obviously not campers!  Also, see pages 14-16 in the brochure to learn more.

           Sailing

Other Photos: Apparently plays and skits performed by staff and campers were always popular. One photo shows staff dressed as pirates when they performed the Pirates of Penzance at the Venetian Night Festival in Charlevoix one year. This is also noted in the camp brochure.  There is a photo of the front parking lot/basketball court that shows a camp truck with a boat in the back, perhaps going to or coming back from a trip. Another photo shows the Totem Pole and probably the woodcarver who created the pole, George Bach. And finally there is a picture of swimmers lined up on the side of the dock at the Sr. Waterfront, poised in a racing dive start position.

            Other Photos

Other Memorabilia: Willard's collection of memorabilia also included several unique camp post cards, a Christmas Card sent by Chief and Mrs.Reimann, a song book and a series of Kodak snapshots taken at camp.

            Post Cards

            Christmas Card

            Camp Song Book

            Kodak Snapshots
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