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Summer Camp Memories - A Project of Interest?

Paul “Sunshine” Shogren ‘51 writes:

It all began when I tried to remember how we got from Marienville, PA, to Blue Jay Camp in the summer of 1949.  So I wrote to the Allegheny National Forest and, after a while, received a lot of historical information, a 1939 photo (shown here), and maps.

Then, while researching geared railroad logging engines (Shay, Climax, Heisler), I discovered there was a Blue Jay Lumber Company that logged off the area around Blue Jay Camp, moved to Somerset County, PA,  did some logging in Garrett County, MD, and ended up in at Blue Jay, WV, a village near Beaver, WV.

Information on Blue Jay Lumber Company is contained in three books by Benjamin Kline who published a complete history, The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania, a 13-volume work. 

Henry Gerhold’s book, A Century of Forest Resources Education at Penn State, has dates and pictures of Blue Jay Camp as do some of our early yearbooks.  According to Gerhold, “Blue Jay Camp near Marienville was the site of summer camps from 1939 to 1960, except for the World War II years.”

Other forestry classes experienced summer camp in different areas.  Again, according to Gerhold, “Summer camps with tents for housing have been held at various locations in Pennsylvania including Foxburg, Lamar, Stone Valley, Ralston, Ludlow, and Endeavor.”

My thinking is to stir up some memories, stories, and photos of Blue Jay Camp and other summer camps from the campers themselves.   If there is considerable interest, then perhaps we can compile a collection of these stories and photos, and for a modest fee, distribute it among those who responded plus others interested in the same.  I am willing to write some history, help with editing, and recruit others.

Let’s see if we can stir up some interest in this project among our alumni who went to summer camp and among forest historians in general!

Please send your stories to Ellen Manno, 114 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802;  exr2@psu.edu;  814-863-0362.