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Excerpts from the writings of Clinton Hendrickson, trustee and forester

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson dedicate Camp Johnson October, 1948 with Cub Scout Steve Hendrickson

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 II.

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 diving board.

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.

 

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