Camp Herrick Revisited, 2005

On July 12, 2005

by William F. Nisbet
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See Peter Kitchener's Comments


Last Update July 26, 2005

Gang of Four
l. to r. Paul Weinberg, Bill Nisbet,
Bill Shay, Scott Woodman
Paul Weinberg photo
by Vic Jones

Mess Hall Pillars
P. Weinberg Photo

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Cook Shack
P. Weinberg Photo

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Ladies Cabin
P. Weinberg Photo

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Officers 1
P. Weinberg Photo

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Scott & Flagpole
P. Weinberg Photo

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Ladies Lat
P. Weinberg Photo

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Gove Hall
P. Weinberg Photo

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Council Ring
P. Weinberg Photo

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Chapel
P. Weinberg Photo

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The current entrance to the site is where the footpath used to be. Back then there was a crude footbridge crossing the stream. Further to the east, upstream, is where the auto road crossed the stream. Now it consists of a slab of concrete. Nobody could remember for sure what the bridge looked like before, but we know the current one is more recent than our time at Camp Herrick. I think the bridge as we knew it, was made from heavy planks and fairly crude handrails, but I am not positive on this. According to Paul, "I don't remember handrails and they certainly would have made it more difficult to lift out the milk cans. And in those pre-OSHA days, who would have worried about hand rails anyway? You couldn't fall very far and if you fell you fell, you'd get wet." [Consensus says no handrails]. That road is now closed in and unused.

We kept our milk cold by placing the cans in the stream right at that bridge. On the downstream side you can still see where it is quite deep, compared to the average depth. That is where the milk cans were placed. This is apparently an error; see next paragraph.

Peter Kitchener says, "The original car bridge was thick wooden planks, with no railings. The milk cans were from Weeks Dairy, usually 2 or 3 cans located upstream from the bridge. The wooden [part] was replaced with the current cement bridge as a gift from the Parents Assoc (late 50's). Some of the best brook trout ("brookies") I caught downstream from that bridge." See Peter's complete comments.

Someone is clearing the old parade field, so it looked a lot more like the old Camp Herrick than it did two years ago when Scott was up there by himself. Pictures of that previous trip are on the Camp Herrick website. (See Description of Scott Woodman's 2003 visit here). According to Vic Jones, a clerk at the Owl's Nest, (formerly the Wise Owl), it is the current owners of the Camp Herrick grounds who are improving the property. We believe they have cleaned up the debris from the old mess hall, too, leaving the concrete pillars it was standing on. We were surprised how small that building must have been. Of course, when we were using it we were half the size we are now, and in a couple of cases, only one third.

Officers 2
P. Weinberg Photo

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Cabin 1 & 2
P. Weinberg Photo

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Cabin 3
P. Weinberg Photo

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Cabin 4
P. Weinberg Photo

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Cabin 5
P. Weinberg Photo

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Cabin 6
P. Weinberg Photo

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There is a low, three sided cement-walled pit where the water was heated, placed more or less between the mess hall and the cook shack, but set closer to the woods. Later we noticed the pipe from the old well is still in place. What as a surprise was how swampy the ground is between the mess hall/cook shack area and the well. Based on my experience, I'd say the extra swampiness is a result of construction further up the hill.

Looking up hill from the new clearing, first on the left, is the cook shack chimney. Next are the remains of the "Ladies' Cabin" with remnants of the screens still attached, set back from the line formed by the other buildings. The Adult Leaders' Cabin, where Hank, Charlie Kitchener, and the other male adults would stay, usually called Officers 1, is still standing, but with a caved in roof. Next is the Senior Officers Cabin still in surprisingly good shape; this was usually called Officers 2. The only trace remaining of the Juniors Officers cabin (Officers 3), is some cement-filled sono tubes sticking out of the ground a bit.

Scott Woodman says, "I had always referred to the cabins across the top of the hill, from left to right looking up, as ladies, officer's one, two and three. But that's a fifty year old memory and subject to all that comes with stuff that age. Officer's two and three were also referred to as senior and junior officer's cabins respectivly. I stayed in each during the last two years I was a camp.

"For the record and from a shorter term memory location, when we were there other other day, standing were the ladies cabin, officer's one and two. Officers three was gone except for the sono tube foundation....as if it had been taken down and the materials removed," Scott adds.

Amazingly, the flagpole is still there, straight, and still in good shape. That is a result of the fact it was painted. The graffiti on the cabin walls would have, for the most part, been written after the camp shut down. Hank Carr, our scoutmaster, was strict on that. There is some question exactly when Camp Herrick was shut down; we think it would have been either the late sixties or early seventies.

Heading toward the east past the mess hall pillars and the concrete lined fire pit, with some difficulty due to the swampy ground in this area, one next comes to the "Ladies Latrine." That has a light fixture still hanging off the front. The men's latrine was the one further toward the lake, called "Gove Hall" after the Beverly Massachusetts lumber company that donated the lumber for it.

The next landmark is the well. Yes, for those squeamish ones there is plenty of distance between the last landmark and this one. The well is definitely uphill quite a ways, too. Most of the swampy ground in this area appears to originate here. The galvanized iron pipe that carried water to (where? Not sure here) the vicinity of the cook shack is still in place.

Indications of the old trail can be seen, here and there. Next, after the well, one comes to the Council Fire Ring, still in place. That is the almost circular ring of boulders, and where we had those large, traditional campfires. Further on is the chapel. That is the place where a big boulder rises up out of the ground, about eight feet tall. There used to be crude benches to sit on.

Back to the clearing, looking westward, is the first of the "regular" cabins. They were numbered Cabin 1 through Cabin 6. The first five are in the same row, facing east toward the cook shack. Cabin 6 is turned ninety degrees, set over a bit to the east facing up the hill. The path to the beach started between Cabin 5 and Cabin 6.

One of us found the old basketball hoop, crumpled up and lying on the ground near Cabin 6. I thought this was amazing! We left it there, as boy scouts, we were trained to leave things as we found them. Anyway, it illustrates how relatively undisturbed the site really is, considering the 35 years or so since it was in use.

The bottom of the hill, more or less in line with Cabin 6, is where the older scouts pitched their tents and parked their cars. Occasionally the family of an adult advisor would stay there also, I imagine on occasion when the "ladies cabin" was full.

The "glory hole" was down the hill, toward the stream, from the mess hall. That is what would nowadays be called a land fill. I doubt if any interesting old glass bottles and the like could be found there. Everyone was eating out of cans, and booze was not allowed on site.

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