Campfire's Camp Takahano

By Willis, Sep 15, 2016 | |
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  1. Willis
    By Willis, Sep 15, 2016 | |
    Campfire Inc.'s Camp Takahano

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    The logo of Campfire Inc., the organization formerly known as The Campfire Girls operated Camp Takahano situate in Jefferson County WV. It's our understanding that the group utilizing the facilities was "Camp Fire 4-260" of the Potomac Area Council(now the Patuxent Area Council). This album is meant small step toward what is hoped to be a more extensive show sometime in the future. The Photos were captured from the website of Alice Beard, the camp's last director, and from visits to the now abandoned site by members of The Friends of Shannondale Springs. Ms. Beard's website offered a touching and informative history of Campfire 4-260. The site has since been discontinued. She has graciously allowed us to us the photos and helped correct some errors in our explanations.

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    A little orientation might be in order with the help of Google Earth. The southern tip of Lake Shannondale can be seen at the top of the image. The lake for which Lake Forest Estates is eponymously named is in the center at the bottom.

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    A closer view reveals the infield of the ball diamond at Mt. Mission Park along Mission Road. For former campers, landmarks in both images have changed over the years. The park to which we refer is directly across from The entry road to Camp T. Unfortunately, the sign is no longer there.

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    The bulletin that board sits neglected in 2006 and bare of activity schedules was built in the late 1970s early 1980s and showed the program of events during camp operation. The property is now in the hands of the WV Department of Natural Resources and operated as a Wildlife Management Area. Entropy is slowly returning evidence of Camp Takahano to a memory. The bulletin board was at the Farm House where the Camp Director stayed during program weeks. It was destroyed by fire, but before it burnt it was pretty much stripped by


    persons unknown of the wood burning stoves and other items. This farm house was built when the area was logged and was used to cook meals for the loggers who would enter through one door, pick up their food, and exit by another door. Camp Fire added a large deck on the front and a smaller one on the back.

    We sure would like to see photos of the building in "action". We are shamelessly entreating the viewers to send us any images of Takahano in its heyday.

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    In March of 2006 the picnic area is slowly being reclaimed by the forest (if only this could happen to the strip malls of the world,[​IMG]). The knob atop Buzzards' Rocks crowns the mountain in the background. It's easy to see the attraction the camp must have afforded kids from the 'burbs.

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    This pond was constructed in the 1970's. Features such as this remain virtually unchanged in 2006 as seen in the 2 following frames.

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    No kids, no table, but the pond remains doing pond-like things in 2006.

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    Our Photographer asks: "can you find the two frogs?" We Only can see one.

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    Campers and counselors gather 'round the table to have breakfast. Who are the folks in the photo. We'd love to hear their stories about Takahano and our mountain area.

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    This climb was dubbed the "Goat Trail". An apt designation indeed. This scene was from a Campfire hike on the C&O Canal according to correspondence from Josh D. in February of 2010.


    I was in Campfire 4-260, I’m in several of your photos of Camp Takahano...One of your photo captions asks for additional information from anyone in the group. I can say two of your photos, the mud hike and the goat hike, were definitely not taken at Takahano but were taken on or around the C&O canal in Montgomery County, MD. Aside from that no interior photos of either the bunkhouse or the farmhouse were ever taken by my recollection.

    Thanks so much, Josh, for your input.

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    The "Mud Hike" appears to be a case of "you had to be there to understand". Any of you campers pictured want to enlighten the viewers? One thing for sure: those faces express sheer pleasure. (See Josh's note in quotes above)


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    We are told


    ...The picture looks like this could be the spring house...If this was located near the stream by the farm house then this is the old spring house used before Camp Fire owned the property. The stream ran through the house & over the food stuffs which kept them cold. This area was always off limits for campers because the building was falling down.

    We suspect this hasn't changed much over the years. Those old logs look hand hewn. And, hey, do we see a snake skin?

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    We'll wager that this feature was the ultimate kick! Our Camp Fire expert adds:


    The tree house was in another part of camp - near what was called Inspiration Hill. Also near Inspiration Hill there was another building called the Bunk House which I believe was also destroyed by vandals. There was a pump at the Bunk house that may still be there. Also near the Bunk house was an outdoor stage. I don't know if it is still there.

    Geez, former campers, want to help us search for the remains?

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    Golly Ned, we're having fun putting together this collection of memories. Not nearly as much fun as the campers traversing the "monkey bridge", tho! More from our narrator


    "On the trail to the Appalachian Trail there is a pavilion that still is there. Also there was a monkey bridge but it's no longer there...There were a couple of rope swings and a zip line plus many, many trails but I'm sure they no longer exist. Plus there were many latrines."

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    Those were some fancy picnic tables you guys were holding down. We wonder if there are any pix of the inside and outside of the bunkhouse? And what in the world is that logo on those shirts? It appears to be an ante-Internet Smiley

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    This is the Cadillac of privies. I ought to know since one of the Shannondale and Beyond users inspected the facilities in the early 80's. It's a precast 1000 gallon septic tank with two manholes upon which the privies risers are constructed. However fancy, though, it's probably more comfortable to go #2 in one of Sir Thomas Crapper's indoor plumbing models.

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    Taken in March (2006), this picture would look the same in any season. It is the handiwork of Ducks Unlimited and we'd like to know more about this wetland creation project. Was it there when Campfire was operating? Probably not.


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    From the air in April 2006 the wetland project looks foreboding. We thought it might be some type of toxic waste event. But after seeing the sign, we conclude that the water impounded behind the dam has caused the tree roots to go belly up. We suspect that the project was subsequent to Camp Fire's tenure. We have high (like that apropos term?) hopes of doing more fly-overs of our Mountain area in the future. We hope to include Takahano on the itinerary.

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    The Goldenrod announces that school is soon to start. I suppose that the campers, when seeing that noble herb, were filled with dismay. They weren't looking forward to teacher's dirty looks. The Department of Natural Resources occasionally mows some pathways. Several close calls with wildfires heightened awareness that more may have to be done to make our remote areas accessible to firefighting equipment in an effort to save residences which have encroached on this lovely place. It's one of the prices we pay for urban sprawl.

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    Campers on a field trip to Mt. Vernon. We wonder if they realized that George likely strode along the same ground upon which Camp Takahano was built. Do you think any of these "youngsters" will contact us? We sure hope so.


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    DITTO

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    Do YOU Have Any Information about Campfire's Camp Takahano?
    Contact us at Shannondale & Beyond.

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