See the Earliest Photos of the Oldest Operating Boy Scout Camp in America, in West Michigan
It's the oldest operating Boy Scout Camp in the United States of America - Since 1911 - and it just happens to be in western Michigan.
Welcome to Camp Owasippe! More than 40 acres of land on Crystal lake in Whitehall, just north of Muskegon, and what has been a camp home to hundreds of thousands, if not MILLIONS of Boy Scouts over the past 111 years.
The camp was conceptualized in 1910 by a group of businessmen headed to Whitehall from Chicago to investigate some property for a camp designed for Boy Scouts. Once they arrived, and talked with local community leaders, the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce agreed to donate 40 acres on Crystal Lake (Not that one) to the Boy Scouts, with the understanding that they would one day purchase another 80 acres, which they did. Today, the Reservation is more than 4,800 acres.
In 1911, the first Owasippe Scout Camp was held, then called "Camp White," where first attendees literally built the facilities with their bare hands.
Then, in 1912, the camp saw its first year of full operation, with more than 800 scouts arriving by steam ship from Chicago, crossing Lake Michigan to Whitehall.
Initially called Camp White for one of the men instrumental in founding the camp. But, in 1915, they changed the name to Camp Owasippe, borrowed form the local Native American Indian Legend - a Potawatamie Chief of the same name.
Unfortunately, it was thought much of what was done in the early years - 1912 and 1913 - wasn't well documented, or held on to. In recent years, the earliest known post card from the camp was mailed August 12, 1913.
But recently, a collection of photos from the scrapbook of the second director of the camp - Robert Waldron Teeter, came into the possession of the Berwyn Historical Society, and were shared with the Owasippe Museum... the first glimpse back at the first two years of a functioning camp in over a century.
You can see in the photo, Robert Teeter indicated on the left wearing a bowler hate and coat. This was the first Patrol Troop ever for "Camp White" in 1912, led by Teeter.
The gallery below contains additional photos that, up until recently, were unknown to the public. So take a step back in time, and see what being a Boy Scout at Camp Owasippe looked like 110 years ago.