Camp DeWitt Information

Camp DeWitt, was located between Alton and Wolfeboro on Rt 28 in Robert's Cove (and Brickyard Cove within) and although was located in Alton, was closer to Wolfeboro. Therefore it associated with Wolfeboro in every way. Telephone service was from Wolfeboro as was mail service. Higgins Hospital and the town's doctors and Catholic Church were very much part of camp. Baileys and the Dockside were an attraction to the staff on days off.

The camp itself as well as campers and parents visiting supported Wolfeboro's economy, even though the town seems to have forgotton that detail when it came to providing information in their local history book for sale in Black's. I found the book while at Black's this past summer and almost bought it, except that Camp DeWitt was mentioned in a one liner as not being part of Wolfeboro.

Camp DeWitt was a special camp. The facilities were second to none and the staff and directors were excellent. Their program schedule was structured and full. Activities included Swimming, Tennis, Crafts, Riflery, Archery, Sailing, Canoeing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Basketball, Tumbling, Trampoline, Life Saving, Diving, Scuba Diving, Boxing, Track, Wrestling, Reading, and Hiking and Canoeing Trips. Swimming lessons and Tennis lessons were manditory. Many alternate activities could be selected during an assigned period.

All campers were divided into the Blues and Greys. Campers were also assigned by age group into Cubs, Junior A's, B's, C's, Intermediates, and Seniors for assigned activities and were expected to be at one of the activities for that group.

A bugel recording on a record played reville, first call, assembly, and other calls throughout the day over a PA system to signal different periods. The night ended with taps in the Junior Circle and later in the Senior Circle. Seniors with earned privileges could stay up a little later in the lodge supervised. A rest hour after lunch till 3PM gave rest time also used for reading and letter writing. Evenings had some different activities, all optional including canoeing, boat rides, tennis, and informal games.

Campers earned badges in activies for accomplishments and this also earned points for their Blue or Grey team. There were also special occassions where Blues played the Greys or, on the Forth of July, the Capture the Flag game with the Blues against the Greys.

Campers kept their beds and living area in the many wood cabins clean and neat. After breakfast, a cleanup and inspection of each cabin and bed could give "points off" against a cabin. Assembly followed inspection where everyone sang and then got the announcements. Trips were announced. There were day trips to many mountains in the area including Belknap, Major, and others. There was a 3 day trip to and up Mt Washington on foot toward the end of each season. This was a highlight for qualified seniors. There were multi-day trips to Connecticut River and the Crooked River and Lake Sebago. One favorite of mine was the Pemigewasset River trip hiking in the White Mountains.

There were evening trips into the town of Wolfeboro where we got to see real movies on the big screen. The theatre used to be over a Borough Hall and store complex, but later, Paul Hatch built a movie theatre in town behind it. Paul Hatch, by the way, was also a Ham Radio operator. I personally got to know him and we even communicated a few times from home here in the Phila area to Paul in Wolfeboro via the Ham Radio. I recently found Paul passed away and the theater sold. What I also learned was that he owned the local radio station.

The camp was quite large, over ? acres. There was a beautiful beach in Brickyard Cove. It was large, real sandy, and relatively shallow. You had to see it to believe how a camp could have such a beautiful beach. There was a second swimming area called the dock. Actually 2 docks with swimming lanes and a diving tower just outside and around the corner from the beach and cove. There were 2 baseball fields, 2 groups of tennis courts, 2 basketball courts, and a tennis wall court. The riflery range was behind the beach and the archery range was the first activity seen when entering the camp. The shop was up in the woods, but in the mid-60's, moved closer in the area where the nature house was. The nature house was moved from the lower tennis court area back to where the shop was. A photography shack was converted to a ham radio shack which first started out behind the senior circle.

The living quarters for campers included the junior circle cabins 1 to 9, in one part of the camp, while the senior circle included cabins A to H in another area. There was another isolated group of cabins for the married staff. The cook's cabin were close to the main lodge behind junior cabin 9.

Don Boyer bought the camp about 1962 from Clinton DeWitt Park, its founder. Several parents helped him forming a corporation. In this process, Don had to fire many of the key department heads. Fred Allen, Mel King, Bill McClellan, Dale Lash and others had been there so long that their saleries would have made it impossible to pay for the camp. Fred Allen and his sons (Ted & Bert) were personal friends. I lost touch with them. Fred and Ted obtained ham licenses while there. By the way, I formed a ham radio club during my years there and it was very popular. Many campers received their ham licenses. The station was able to communicate all over the country. Both CD Park and Don Boyer supported the ham radio program.

One of my favorite trips was the Pemigewassett River trip, hiking along the old abondoned railroad tracks, setting up camp, the side trips up Mt Bond and to the rapids and "shoots".

Yes, I too, was drawn back to Wolfeboro and the beautiful Lake and White Mountains this past summer (1997). I was at Camp DeWitt for 11 years as camper and councillor from 1954 to 1964. I visited Wolfeboro each year after that up till 1972 for my vacation. In the summer of 1972, I built a large roller skating rink in Kimberton, Pa. In 1973, Maria and I went back to Wolfeboro for our honeymoon, staying at the Brook and Briddle. We made our next visit to Wolfeboro in about 1982.

I plan to update this story as time permits and as the spirit moves me, so keep checking back. I also noted activity on the message board about Camp Kehonka, down the road from Camp DeWitt. I found 3 Kehonka campers trying to get together and seek others from their camp. Since my sister went to Camp Kehonka, I will stay turned and maybe try to help that effort.

I had a chance to visit another camp at the Center Harbor end, can't think of the name, but it had no structure for activities. Campers could do anything at any time with little to no limits.




Gene Mitchell, Web Master

Last updated Oct 16, 1997 also October 2012