Excerpts from the writings of Clinton Hendrickson, trustee and
|Mr. and Mrs. Johnson dedicate Camp Johnson October, 1948 with Cub Scout Steve
Knowing how much Boy Scouts liked to camp on their land Mr. and Mrs.
Edward A. Johnson offered it to the Manchester District of Charter Oak
Council, BSA when they learned that a group of Manchester Scout leaders were
searching for a place that local Boy Scouts could camp. Legal details were
taken care of on May 10, 1948 when Judge Charles House witnessed the
Johnson's signatures on the final documents of transfer. Three trustees were
given responsibility for the 65 acres: Edward A. Johnson, Harry J. Miller
and Ernest Panciera.
A proper latrine was promptly installed. Well #1, complete with hand pump
was donated by the Kiwanis Club of Manchester. The Rotary Club of Manchester
presented the camp with a flagpole. These features were included in the
formal dedication of Camp Johnson which took place at the site of the
present gate on October 3, 1948.
Initially, Camp Johnson was suited only for hiking and casual tent
camping. More was needed to make the place useful for district programs.
A district finance drive paid for the cabin built on May 21, 1950 and was
dedicated to Boy Scouts of the district who gave their lives in World War
Another district fundraiser helped pay for the strong dam built across
the ravine east of the cabin. This raised the brook water level about ten
feet, creating a great place for swimming and for skating.
During the 1950's swimming facilities were very limited in Manchester.
So, a diving board was installed on the pond face of the dam. Later, an
energetic group of volunteers built a large raft also equipped with a good
Land west of the cabin was being increasingly used so well #2 was
installed at the end of a woodland trail going west from the cabin. It was
complete with a hand pump and concrete platform.
Many people found it difficult to drive up to the cabin so the causeway
was rebuilt and the road oiled by Tomasso Construction Company which also
opened up a fire road to well #2.
The cabin was a great gathering place but very cramped if cooking was
attempted. A kitchen wing was added in the spring of 1959.
An assembly area west of the cabin was created. A better parking area
around the circle oak has been developed along with removal of some
obstructive glacial erratic rock near the cabin. The bit of sandy beach at
ponds edge had to be built from imported sand.
With the passage of time it was discovered that silt had to be dredged
from the pond bottom, much too frequently. So, a weir was built across the
south end of the pond to create a settling basin.