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Preserving the History & Heritage of Lake Winnipesaukee & Vicinity
 

 

SUMMER CAMPS

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OF LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE



Camp Menotomy, Meredith, NH

Continued from page 1

The reception of the camp idea by educators and schoolmen was so negative at the beginning that it puzzled me and made me doubtful. Professor Wentworth, the great "Bull" Wentworth of Exeter, was an exception. He did not visit the camp but he did ponder the ideas I put before him and understood them. Moreover he thought them sound. All the other teachers I talked to were perfectly calm and not the least appreciative.

Then came Armstrong, welcome as good water in a dry land. He had made a distinguished place by original work at Hampton and elsewhere. He was not, I gathered, regarded as a regular by Schoolmen. He did not stop at phrases. He lived at Camp Chocorua for weeks and studied both the theory and practice. He proclaimed his opinion and wrote it in generous words. Articles in magazines and books followed. Camps grew, the legend began, culminating in the interpretation of American Private Schools.

Balch in the foregoing reflected on the cool attitude of schoolmasters toward the small camp. With their slow response, conservative as always, they saw nothing of value in so radical an innovation. It remained for General Armstrong and Mr. Frissell of the Hampton School and a few other open-minded men to espouse the cause and preach the doctrine of the summer camp.

Through correspondence with Balch, the Reverend Nichols, inspired with the same idea, opened a camp for boys in 1882 at Stow, which he called Camp Harvard. This camp was later taken over by Dr. Winthrop T. Talbot, a son of Dr. J.T. Talbot, then dean of the Boston University Medical School, who, in 1884, moved it to Squam Lake, where it was known as Camp Asquam.

Louis D. Bement, editor of the Camping Handbook, Summer Camps, 1931, wrote the following of Camp Asquam:

The camp was situated on sloping ground well up from the shores of Squam Lake near Holderness, N.H., and commanded a beautiful view of that picturesque lake with its islands and the surrounding mountains.

There were four buildings; a combination dining hall and cook shack, the director's cabin and two dormitories. These latter held some twenty bunks lined up against the two side walls, while at one end there was a large fieldstone fireplace.

Down on the shore of the lake was a boathouse which held some five or six rowboats of the Adirondack type, as canoes were considered too dangerous for boys in those days.

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