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100 Years Ago: Building upon the basics

Graeme Noseworthy — March 3, 2020

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After our first successful camping season at the Richmond site the year before, a flurry of activity started to take place in the Spring of 1920. Several key decisions had to be made in order to prepare for the “bigger and better” summer ahead.

Over the course of March and April that year, the Board of Directors passed a series of votes that County Y Secretary Daniel E. Lorentz would immediately put into practice. For starters, they decided to build Takodah’s first permanent kitchen. It would be attached to the original Mess Hall, which we now know as Hobby Nook. They also acquired a boiler, an engine powered water pump to supply enough pressure for dish washing, and a multi-burner range that would be installed and eventually be used by legendary camp cook Elise Crowninshield when she came to Takodah many years later.

That spring, Eljin Jones, one of our earliest founders, also agreed to secure a new piano for the Mess Hall, pictured above, to encourage and develop the tradition of singing during each mealtime cleanup. That upright would eventually be moved to the Dining Hall (TPAC) where it would be played for many decades to come. In fact, many Takodians who read this article likely plucked those very same keys themsleves.

The Directors further agreed to improve the access road, acquire a new vehicle, complete the first tennis court (now the Grassy Knoll), and begin the work of clearing our first baseball field (which we believe was on the right side of B-Field, diagonally facing the Buffalo Division.)

In order to ensure our camper’s continued comfort, Mr. Lorentz was tasked with installing new wooden bunkbeds complete with mattresses stuffed with dryer felt from the paper mills in Hinsdale. Five bunks would in placed into each of the six canvas sided cabins constructed along Camp Street (the top of the road to the Waterfront, starting about 50 feet down from the Silence Trees.) Finally, some repair work had to be made to the fireplace in the original bunkhouse (inside the Office Building) as it was in already in a state of slight disrepair when we initially leased the property.

“Plans for camp are developing splendidly,” Secretary Lorentz wrote into the records. “We expect large attendance.”