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100 Years Ago: Preparing for our Permanent Home

Graeme Noseworthy — October 20, 2019

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Only known photograph of Daniel Lorentz at YMCA Camp Takodah in Richmond, NH

 

After hosting Camp Takodah’s first summer in Richmond, Daniel Lorentz, 2nd Secretary of the County Y, reported to the Board of Directors in October that plans were progressing quite well to expand the property and programs with an eye on the future.

He talked about how happy the twenty-seven boys had been that July even though they enjoyed nothing more than a few basic buildings (with no utilities whatsoever), the quiet of the woods (there was only one small open area for play) and the peace of the lake (that only had a little wooden platform and some rocks where the Elwell Chapel is now located.) The rough and rustic nature of the session had been successful, exciting, and “helped many a local Takodian to become better friends than ever.”

As Daniel agreed to stay on for one more year, the Board voted to raise his salary as he was helping to dramatically improve the operation. They also moved to help him assume “full responsibility” of the Richmond site instead of continuing to lease it and, after a private school had originally shown interest in the property, possibly lose it to another organization. With one swift vote, they formally empowered him to take whatever steps were necessary to secure the mortgage needed to “receive the deeds to the property and look to improve the lines.”

In other words, we were there to stay.

deeds-a70JCN.jpg
The original deeds to the Richmond property.

With the usual countdown to the next summer underway, Daniel and the Board had to move quickly to raise funds and sell downed trees for lumber so they could start to build out the facilities in a way that would permit more staff, more campers, and more volunteers at Takodah. They talked about adding on to the “Mess Hall” kitchen (currently the square “front” section of Hobby Nook), along with adding a water boiler and pump, a piano, and a fireplace in the Staff Bunkhouse that can still be seen inside the Office. They also considered building a tennis court and clearing space for a baseball field, but those plans would later be modifed. Finally, they reached out to a paper mill in Hinsdale to see if they would agree to provide a sufficient amount of used “drier felt” to stuff the mattresses that would be used in the new, and very popular, large wooden bunks. Those beds would be eventually become part of the original canvas-sided tent platforms built along Camp Street (currently the upper road to the Waterfront) in the spring of 1920.

These small but important decisions would prove to be the earliest steps taken towards being a bigger, better summer camp that would endure to this very day.