Alice and I spent the better part of the past ten days cleaning our our basement. Dusting, scrubbing, painting and tossing junk. We really went to town. One of the many upsides to this operation was the unveiling of so many ancient Kingswood treasures. More on these finds as time passes. But, one old album we found featured photos taken in October 1984 — BEFORE we actually signed the papers to buy the camp. Some interesting history follows. Feel free to prod me for more details on these enlightenments next time we bond over the council fire.
The first building seen upon coming onto the grounds was this ancient log cabin, which was located approximately where the CIT Barn now stands. We would have loved to save it for historical purposes, but it was way too rotten. We used it to store junk for a year or two before giving up the ghost!
Right behind the log cabin was the camp picnic area. This photo was taken where the near-side goal on the soccer field now stands. The idea for picnics was to drive all the food, etc., up the hill in the pick-up truck. Terrible logistics were involved. One forgotten item, say napkins, meant disaster. Not to mention the mosquitos who oftentimes had better meals than we did!
I love this view of Roadside Cabin on the left and Smith Hall on the right. Note the heavy forest where Pines Field now stands (deep background). Today, this photo spot marks not only the 4th tee of the infamous Kingswood Frisbee Golf Course, but the open views to Tarleton are starting to look majestic even from this distance to the water.
Ah, Old Smith Hall! Take a close look at the angles of the windows down the left side and you will begin to understand why so many people hesitated before stepping inside this colossus. I often got dizzy just standing in there. Finally, we decided it had to come down. Guess what? It was a bear to knock over and probably could have withstood a bombardment. But, Pines Field really is a substantial improvement, most would agree.
The original rifle range is located on the exact grounds as the current Guides Lodge. Again, take a look at that deep background to appreciate how wooded the entire area was back in those days.
Indeed there was a small clearing above Mem Field, where the soccer field is today. But, that is because the previous owners had ordered a machete attack on the dense shrubs that dominated the terrain up there. In 1987, we built the soccer field for real. Oh, and that pine tree in deep right field. I, and one other person, was on the grounds early one spring day in the 1990’s when, at 6:30 in the morning a screeching lightning bolt awoke us. A bit later, we discovered that this tree had been hit and we found debris everywhere. One person, however, had his sweet revenge: Kevin Kennedy. Seems that he had hit his first career home run one day on Mem Field. But the ball caromed off the tree and Kevin was lucky to make it to first base!
What history here. At left are the menacing branches of that thick spruce tree that destroyed so many an accurate frisbee toss down the hill towards hole #7. Boys indeed loved the swing set, but it was hard to get them to come off the swings once we were ready for council fire meetings. And, in background, that Cabin #14 was haunted beyond words. While it looks nice from this photo, it truly was uninhabitable. I made the mistake of declaring the area “off grounds to all campers,” who naturally were drawn to explore it due to my orders!