Camp Michaux 

POW Camp Gurard Tower
Camp Pennant
Bunker Hill Farm
CCC Camp S-51
Company 329 
1933 – 1941
Pine Grove POW Camp
Church Camp Michaux
1947 - 1972



Camp Michaux is an official Pennsylvania historic and archaeological site.      The site is protected by state law.

To protect this special part of the Michaux State Forest, please do not deface structures or remove artifacts. 


The Camp Michaux Recognition and Development Project over the past 10 years has developed the trail system that exists today along with signage at the former camp. The Cumberland County Historical Society has a self-guided walking tour book that can be used to tour and understand the site.  

If you explore the site, please keep in mind that archaeology is a careful, precise process.  
We need your help to protect the history that is still in the ground at Camp Michaux, we can't learn about it if it's not there. 
A few discarded bottles or a broken spear point may not seem important but these artifacts tell the stories of past people who can no longer speak for themselves. Recovering this information is a careful process that archaeologists are trained to do. 
Disturbances such as digging, removing objects, and leaving graffiti are illegal and detrimental to the site.
We are all stewards of this important place; please respect it and help us protect it!
The Students of Dickinson College Archaeological Methods Class

Web page created and maintained by Lee Schaeffer
Web page online since 2001
Latest Update  - 4/16/2023

E-mail me for a free CD with all my full size pictures, maps and documents about the camp.
I can send you a "Jump Drive" if your computer does not have a CD drive.

E-mail Address: e-mail address

Many photographs we have found were published by the Post Exchange Studio Des Moines, Iowa.
Apparently they sent photographers around the country with large format cameras to document the CCC camps.
If you have any information about this studio and their photo collection, we would like to hear from you!

CCC Camp Postcards   -  CCC Camp Photos  -  POW Paintings   -   Church Camp Photos  - Camp Maps

Read e-mail feedback from readers of this page.

Remains of secret WWII P.O.W. interrogation camp still lie deep in Cumberland County forest
Local Fox news report on Camp Pine Grove. 6/3/2021

Vince Montano Found this film from the church camp, only a minute long but interesting.

On Sun, Apr 16, 2023 David Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

    Thanks to Andre and Diane Weltman, Vince Montano, Kathryn Sterner and new volunteer Denise Bryington for their work yesterday.
    We accomplished a lot with our small group for two hours until there was a serious thunderstorm that brought our work to a halt.  
    Things eased up for the afternoon walking tour.  Ten hikers showed up for that.  

    We repaired the trail between stops 14 and 15 with gravel and wood chips.  
    The major fallen tree near the mess hall was removed and the fallen trees and brush at the star were removed.  
    Most of the brush at the recreation hall was removed and the POW flagpole base was cleared.  

    Several of you mentioned being able to come to the camp after the workday, so here is a list that could be worked on:
    1.  Complete the work at the recreation hall -, clearing brush.
    2.  Upper gate base at stop 11 could be cleared.
    3.  Clear undergrowth in the area around the water tanks -, Stop 30.
    4.  Remove downed tree at the seepage bed - Stop 27
    5.  Remove standing dead trees at the CCC Education Building - Stop 25
    6.  Remove some undergrowth at the mess hall - Stop 21.  This could include the CCC Officer's Mess just west of the main mess hall.
    7.  Clear alternate trail to the Tom's Run bypass and undergrowth in the former beach area at the lower dam.
    8.  Clear the area just south of the German Mess Hall - Stop 15 where an embankment marks the site of the roll call area for the prisoners.

    Several areas will need professional chainsaw work including the tree that is leaning across the entrance to the camp near Stop 7 
    and the partially fallen dead trees at Stop 17 that are preventing clearing of the latrine and bath house site.

This 1941 photo is from CCC Camp Riley Creek, Park Falls, Wisconsin.
Since we have no photos of the interior of the CCC officers mess at Pine Grove Furnace,
this is a great representation of how the officers likely enjoyed their meals.
Improved seating, window curtains, designer flatware, CCC issue table linen
 and their own orderly to attend them.
Vince - 1/13/2023
Volunteers from the Friends of Michaux State Forest, thanks to a grant from REI, 
designed and installed a new safe bridge at the Upper Dam on September 1, 2022. 
The previous narrow bridge -- parts of which had been out there almost two decades -- 
was repurposed to cross a shallow gully a few yards away.  
4/18/2022 A new inscription found is from the WWII era. 
It is located just off the upper service road (near the remains of a recent campfire) and north of the German barracks.
The writing reads "P.A.S. 1943". Can we see if there are any prisoners in the database with these initials?  

Vince Montano

A fascinating new film of Camp Michaux has been found on YouTube! - Vince Montano

From what I can tell, it appears to have been made around the late 1940's /very early 1950's. 
That's a guess, there are a lot of cars in it so anyone with historic automobile knowledge may be able to better date this. 
I compared one of the license plates with the formats used in Maryland and it fits the 1947–51 style. 

There's a lot to see in this twenty-one minute long film! Guard towers are still up and the chapel hasn't been created yet.
 I thought the guard towers were down by 1950 so maybe this film could be late 1940's ?

Included in this homemade movie is a glimpse of Michaux Lodge, the camp drinking fountain, 
Japanese barracks (which look a little worse for wear), ball field and lower recreation areas, and the guard shack at Compound #1.

It also appears that the POW flag base may have once been widely covered with a slate or stone base. 

One of my favorites is the campers carrying ammunition cases out of a barrack and using them for seating. 
True to past accounts, Vesper Hill is also shown with ammunition cases laid on their sides for seating.

Group pictures of the Presbyterian PA Synod Youth Leadership Camp from 1968 to 1972. 
Thanks to Dennis Skalko







What I Learned at Church Camp - Sharon Watts
Whenever I think there may be no more surprises to learn about Camp Michaux, that's usually when poking into the past turns up something that you just don't expect. 
This article by a writer named Sharon Watts describes her 1964 stay at Camp Michaux as an 11-year-old girl.  
A photo shows the northern fire bell that stood near the volleyball court and bathhouse. I got a chuckle out of her description of the "lousy" food and ham (with FAT). 

What's most surprising, however, has to do with her big crush on a lifeguard named John Hostetter.
 John was from Hanover, PA and went on to become a Hollywood actor and artist with a long list of motion picture and television credits to his name. 
Turns out that for years we've been watching one of Camp Michaux's lifeguards in everything from "Dallas" and "The Golden Girls" to "Murphy Brown" and "Star Trek."  
 There is a link to his many career credits in the article.  He passed in 2016. 
You just can't make this stuff up!
Happy Holidays! 2020

Vince Montano

The CCAC recently obtained a set high quality photographs from the CCC era.  

YouTube Video with Dave Smith by Noah Shatzer

YouTube Update by Daved Smith

Exploring Camp Michaux
Brought to you by the students of Dickinson College Archaeological Methods
Camp Michaux Time Periods
Dickinson College Archeology Project

Exploring Camp Michaux's Historic Periods - - ArcGIS StoryMaps



Center for Research Libraries

Bunker Hill Bunk  CCC Company 329 News Papers 
A trove of camp newspapers - 1935-1941

Other CCC Company News Papers

Oct 1, 2019 - Vince Montano, Andre Weltman and Lee Schaeffer made a pilgrimage to Laurel Hill State Park to study the CCC buildings.    
The CCC boys built several camps both for themselves and to others to be used as recreational group camp sites.   
Each area has a mess hall, recreational hall, staff cabin and bunk houses all similar in design to those at Camp Pine Grove / Michaux. 
When the CCC left, the camps were turned over to the state park and have been maintained to this day.
State Park Map

One of Laurel Hill's Dining Halls

CCC at Laurel Hill 

CCC Statue History


A First Sergeant's Memories of Camp Michaux 
The Lost Collection of The Pine Grove Furnace Prisoner of War Camp
Vincent J. Montano

Ways to Hide in Winter by [St.Vincent, Sarah]
A Novel set in the Camp Michaux Area.

"Although we've never met, I've been drawing inspiration from your website about the Pine Grove Furnace POW camp for years while drafting a novel.  (I'm originally from Newville, PA, and have visited Pine Grove Furnace State Park throughout my life, even working at the park's general store for a summer at one point.)  I wanted to let you know that the book will be published on November and that I've thanked your website and its contributors in the acknowledgments."


The Bunker Hill Barn circa 1913

The Bunker Hill Farmhouse circa 1913

May 2020
Hi all,

During the past two to three weeks a few of us have been trying to get the trails and sites at the camp back in shape after a destructive winter.  In addition, last years royering project to remove the dead vegetation following the previous herbicide spraying left many of the trails unrecognizable on the east and north sides of the Camp.  Vince Montano, Andre Weltman and my wife and I plus an anonymous chain saw operator have made great strides in repairing the camp.  

The trails between Stop One and Four, and Stops Twenty-eight and Thirty have been cleared.  Several downed trees at the mess hall and the interrogation building have been cut up as well as some along trails on the west side of the camp.  In addition, Andre has repaired the walkway between Stops 19 and 21.  Vince has re-cleared the German Mess Hall site at Stop 15 and uncovered the base of the gate structure at Stop 10.  He also located the foundation of the small officers mess at the northwest corner of the main mess hall and uncovered a macadam walkway to the swimming pool. Brush at Stop 9 (recreation hall) and Stop 16 has been cut.  Area still could be raked.  Dead grass has been removed from the steps to nowhere.  New trail to Youtz bridge behind the Recreation Building has been opened.  

One unfortunate problem has been cleared.  Someone wrote their initials on the fountain.  Thanks to some Lestoil and some Clorox, that problem has been solved and hopefully will not occur again.  

If any volunteers are looking for something to do you can select from the  following list:

  • Stop 2 - just north of the farm house, a large spruce is blocking the trail.  I have detoured around it but would like to  return to  the original trail
  • Stop 29 to 30 - Large tree across the trail.  You can step over it, but would be good to remove a section of it.
  • Stop 27 - downed trees blocking trail to the seepage bed.
  • If some one is looking for a larger project, it would be good to clear the floors of the former shower and latrine buildings at Stop 17.  The officers mess floor that Vince located could also be cleared.

Stay safe and healthy.  Don't forget your mask if you come to work.  Anywhere from 5 to 7 cars are on the site anytime I have been there.



        April 16, 2018
Hi all,
Had a great work day on Saturday at Camp Michaux.  Seven volunteers came, three with chain saws.  In three hours we completed the bulk of the work I had hoped to accomplish.  In addition, the missing marker post #10 was located.  Because of the extensive work completed, there will not be a need to have a second work day next Saturday.  There are a few places that could use some additional brush clearing, but I don't think there is enough to warrant another day. 

The volunteers I made note of were John Kehrle, Vince Montano, and Art Herrold in addition to myself.  We had a new volunteer, Adin Otto, but he doesn't have an email.  I neglected to make note of two other volunteers.  If the two of you will let me know your names, I would like to make a record of it. 

Adin brought a photo post card c. 1913 that I had never seen before.  I scanned it and made enlargements of two sections of the card that show the farmhouse and the barn. 


           March 18, 2018
I did my Spring walk-through at Camp Michaux today.  Although some of the camp is in good shape following the herbicidal spraying that was done last year, the winter has been hard on the camp and there is more work to do this year than there has been in the past couple of years.  


Camp Sign
The sign to the camp was at the intersection of Pine Grove Road and Michaux Road.
It survived in the Carlisle Presbytery office and now resides at the Historical Society in Carlisle.

Directions for finding the camp.

Caution:  Several species of ticks live in this part of Pennsylvania.   Details  
They are most active in the late spring to early fall. The tiny deer tick can transmit Lyme Disease and other illnesses, so you should try to avoid brushy areas or leaf litter where these ticks may be abundant. Wear long pants and sleeves and check your skin and clothes frequently for ticks. Use an appropriate insect repellent containing DEET. Shower soon after being outdoors, which helps wash off unattached ticks and is a good opportunity to check for attached ticks. 
If bitten, immediately remove carefully with "fine-tipped tweezers" or "tick removal tool".
See:  CDC is not telling the correct story about  Lyme Disease

There is also lots of Poison Ivy in the area. 
I recommend washing hands and tolls with
  Zanfel® Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash

"Recently cleaning out my basement I found one of my old Camp Michaux tee shirts from more than 50 years ago."  
Charles W. Bostian

"Michaux 79"
Vince Montano received these slides from David Smith, they were donated by Dan Sheaffer.
They were taken about six years after the church camp was bulldozed and overgrown.

       Barn             =            Dinning Hall
            Drainage Pipes             =            Sewage Treatment Basin 
   Old Swimming Pool and Pump House             =            Pump House and Old Swimming Pool        
                      Spruce Avenue             =            Steps to Nowhere and Pavilion 

Iron Industry and Deforestation

A talk presented at Dickinson College by Andre Weltman, 
chairman at the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park - 4/18/2019

From Andre Weltman, Chairman, Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park 

Two photos taken  9/26/2017 of work is in progress to remove the swimming hole’s concrete channels and bypass the lower dam. As you can see, a DCNR contractor is using rather large equipment. The green hoses visible in one photo are attached to pumps -- it appears the intent is to keep the newly created streambed (passing next to the dam) dry until work is completed, by dumping the water back into Toms Run just below the work area. They are running dump trucks in and out of the area via the lower service road which has very large gravel added in places to support the equipment.
Restoration Project


Hi all, - 9/18/2017

Spent a little over an hour at Camp Michaux this afternoon prompted by an email from Andre Weltman regarding heavy equipment at the entrance to the lower service road.  Work has started on the lower dam project.  It is currently focused on removing trees, I assume so they can get access to the concrete structures along Toms Run.

While I was there I walked the camp to examine the results of herbicide treatment over most of the area west of Michaux Road.  What a difference to see the camp with the barberry and some of the other invasive plants all dead. (Vince will be happy to know that Yountz Bridge is now visible.) The shrubs and stalks are still there but no greenery.  The herbicide did not kill the yuccas, in fact you can see many more of them with the other shrubbery gone.  It also did not kill several other woody plants including bittersweet.  Seeing the camp with so many dead plants is a little disconcerting, although this will make maintenance of the site much easier.  It also reveals more of the foundations and other remains of the old camp buildings.  I am fairly certain the footprint of the barracks building farthest to the northwest is now visible. 

Andre and I will keep you posted as work progresses on the site of the lower dam.


From David Smith - 2/14/2017
Hi All,

I did my annual walk through Camp Michaux this week.  I noted several areas that need attention and am proposing that those who are available assemble at the camp on April 22 at 8:30.  Most of the work involves brush removal at some of the sites that have overgrown since last year.  Tools needed will include loppers, trimmers, saws and chainsaws.  Hope to see you then.  For any of you who would like to go up on your own the following areas need attention:

  • Stop 7 - former interrogation building
  • Stop 9 - former recreation building
  • Stop 14 - former camp commander's office and residence
  • Stop 15 - former German mess hall
  • Stop 16 - former barracks
  • Not a stop, but the gas tanks near the main parking area has almost completely overgrown
  • Several other projects: 
    Use external varnish to seal the tops of the marker posts.
    Open the old trail near stop 8 down to the CCC education building.  
    We opened the left side of the triangular area a couple of years ago -  chainsaws required.
  • Open trail to Youtz Bridge near Stop 24. 

Walking Tour Map

Other Updates From Dave Smith  


Old Barn Wall Collapses
Early February 2016

Details & Pictures As a PDF File
Newspaper Coverage

Probably best to leave the sad remnants where they are (two still-standing "columns" and rubble on the ground)
as a case study in the loss of another little piece of our shared local heritage. 

Frankly, I think we probably couldn't have done anything in recent years to save it 
-- the wall was leaning & bending outward so badly that even touching it might have provoked collapse. 
Once they begin to fail a little, masonry structures are famous for totally collapsing "with no warning." 
At least a fence was in place so that if this had occurred while people were around, no one would be killed!
Our recent heavy snow followed by repeated freeze-thaw cycles no doubt was the immediate killer. 
I guess there's not much else to say at this point... it's down. Gravity always wins. 

 Andre Weltman, chairman, Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park


3/28/2016 Vincent J. Montano

 The double fence erected in 1945 for the Japanese prisoner compound has been discovered southeast of the church camp swimming pool. This fence ran south to north directly to the new guard tower added at that time. I was searching this area for possible post-hole plates at the entrance gates to the Japanese compound similar to the ones at the German entrance. Photos show the Japanese gates were a different design and I found no evidence of plates. The area has overgrowth and fallen trees, so if there is anything there, it would take clearing work to look further.

Map Showing the Fence Location. 
There's a 4' by 4' spring-head box south of the Steps to Nowhere and just east of the swimming pool (there's an orange flag placed by archaeology students). Walk south from this spring-head box to see the ground lines from the Japanese fence addition. Follow the fence lines to the other side of the fallen tree to see a man-made... something, centered at the fence lines. It is a short column of concrete and stone which doesn't seem to serve a purpose, but I have a theory about what it could be. A 1945 photo shows a very large steel pole rising above the fence where the new fence joins the existing one.
View full sized map of the entire camp.


South side of Toms Run Bridge

On 3/28/2016, Vince Montano wrote:
The inscription on Tom's Run bridge becomes more unreadable with each passing year. 
And yet there is no record of what it says in it's entirety.  
Last week I studied and photographed the inscription with a similar method used in the past, fortunately with success. We now have a complete description of these fading lines from history.
  25.5.  | Prisoner of War Germans
  1945.  | 31 g 2508205
         | Lt. Momberg  Prolg  Ovenecol 35
         |                (Kassel, Altenritt b.56)

            Altenritter is a suburb of Kassel in the Northern Hesse region of central Germany. Kassel was the location of the Wehrkreis IX Military Headquarters and was one of the most heavily bombed cities during WWII. 

In April 1945, just weeks before the Tom's Run bridge date of May 25th, General Patton's Third U.S. Army won the Battle of Kassel and many Germans surrendered. 

According to the German Military Abbreviations Handbook issued 1943 by the Military Intelligence Service, 
"Lt." Momberg is a 2nd Lieutenant. The abbreviation for 1st Lieutenant is "Oberlt". 

I can find nothing on "Prolg" or their military unit name "Ovenecol 35". 
I have contacted the Historical Society of German Military History and several other groups in an attempt to learn more. 
One group has already put me in touch with a German military historian living near Kassel. 
The two parts of the "g" in Prolg are disconnected, just as they are in Momberg's name at the Steps to Nowhere. He sometimes wrote his g's this way. 

On 3/29/2016, Vince Montano updated the above:

We have a correction and exciting update on the Tom's Run inscription.
 The words that appear as "Prolg" and "Ovenecol" are actually "Prag" and "Oveneca" and we know what they mean.   They are an address in Prague, Czech Republic. 

Prag is used as the German name for Prague. Oveneca is today spelled Ovenecka however the original spelling is sometimes still used.   Oveneca 35 is a street address in Prague's 7th Municipal District. 

Could this have been Lt. Momberg's home or original military post prior to Kassel?  
The German History Museum has provided contacts for the German Federal and State Archives that may be able to help reveal more about Wilhelm Momberg. 

Much thanks to the German History Museum in Berlin and Andre Weltman for help and confirmation in solving another wonderful Camp Michaux mystery.  

December 2017

Holiday Greetings everyone,

I have reviewed 4 hours of interviews with Fort Hunt interrogator William Hess who traveled to
Pine Grove Furnace on several occasions to complete interrogations. Mr. Hess talks about PGF and mentions a couple of items that I thought I'd pass along, I have never heard these statements before about the camp, and it may be new info for us. 

My understanding of the use of horses at PGF is that they were stabled to search for escaped prisoners and used by officers for recreational riding. However, Hess states that upon his arrival "the M.P.'s all had horses" and he and the other interrogators visiting from Fort Hunt were offered horses for themselves if they were needed. It appears from his statements that horses were being used as a regular means of moving around the camp. Two German prisoners at the stables helped him learn to ride. One was a Major or Colonel from the German army. The other was an SS Colonel. No names mentioned, could one of them be Willie Schurig?  I did find a horseshoe in front of the German POW mess hall a few years ago.

During a visit in June 1945, Hess states that "they didn't feed the prisoners very well" and they wanted to work in the American kitchen because they would eat better. The food in the American mess hall was excellent because they had professional cooks among the prisoners. 

Hess's statements may help answer a question I've had about PGF for some time. When the Holocaust came to light, many Americans were angry about the way German POW's were eating and being treated so well. One of those Americans was Eleanor Roosevelt. She had food rations drastically reduced for German prisoners in POW camps across America. I've always wondered if that reduction affected PGF. June 1945 would place Hess there right at the time that such food rationing would have occurred. In a letter to Diane Reed from former prisoner Paul Gross written in the 1980's, he talks about how they had to eat margarine sandwiches. 

So, just a couple notes to possibly reveal new details about Pine Grove Furnace.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,



The Best Discovery of Camp Michaux
As PDF File
A Civilian Conservation Corps Boy Remembers Pine Grove Furnace
by Vincent J. Montano

Just published by the Cumberland County Historical Society in the 2015 Historical Journal.
(It contains an added paragraph that we couldn't fit into the printed version.)

Mr. Stasky's story provides us with a wonderful personal view of life at the Pine Grove Furnace CCC camp, 
not only for us but for future generations that will learn about Camp Michaux.
Best Regards,   Vince Montano

In Memory of
Rev. Dr. Richard Eyster Sigler

Rev. Dick Sigler
1926 - September 2013
More about  Dick Sigler

Obituary for Dr. Richard Sigler



Camp Walk 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009  1 p.m.  walk
David Smith, former CCHS librarian, leads his popular rain or shine walking tours starting at the iron furnace at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

To register for the next walking tour contact the Society at 717-249-7610.  
Sturdy shoes should be worn, long pants are recommended and only those capable of walking for 2 hours over rough terrain should attend.
Cost: $8.00 for CCHS members and $12.00 for non-members.
Fees may be paid on the day of the tour which will be held rain or shine.
Walkers should meet at Pine Grove Furnace State Park at the Furnace Stack
 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the walk.
Call (717) 249-7610 for latest information about future walks. 

Michaux Historical Display at CCHS

News Updates From Dave Smith  

Dave Smith's History of the Camp

Karl Smith's Poster of the camp

Archeological work at Camp Pine Grove


POW Inscriptions found by Vince Montano 
Sunday, April 12, 2015
I found three new inscriptions on the "Steps to Nowhere.
They are along the side edges of each of the three top steps, left side as you walk up from the bottom. 

   Almost everything was unrecognizable except for "KASSEL" at the top step, so I decided to try something I've done in the past that works well... fine dirt, a little water, and a gentle brush to bring out the impressions.     It worked like magic. There is no longer any question the repairs are POW made.   One additional discovery today - the concrete front step to the boys dorm (Calvin) directly behind the POW Marker. 
Vince Montano

The 3rd step reads "Hpt. Schencke 31g 2508230"
According to German rank, Hpt. is short for Hauptmann, or English word, Captain.

The 2nd step reads "Lt. Momberg 31g 2508205" 
The same Lieutenant Momberg on Tom's Run bridge. 
It's also interesting these two men's prisoner serial numbers are only 25 digits apart.

The 1st step at the top reads "ALTENRITTR 56. b KASSEL"  
Again the same company name and number inscribed on the Tom's Run bridge. 
In my opinion this refers to Kassel, Germany and not to a PW.
Interesting to note, Alten Ritter literally means "Old Knight".

"Osnubu" refers to an inscription (or what's left of it) across from the other three on the Steps. 
Andre Weltman found information on a German town named Osnaburg (also called Osnuburg), 
and since we now know the repair work was done by POW's, it's likely a prisoner wrote it. 
There is no prisoner in the registry by that name.
Unfortunately most of the concrete repair at that step is broken away.

New Inscription Found on Upper Dam



Historical Marker
On Saturday,
July 16, 2011 the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission together with Cumberland County Historical Society and Michaux State Forest dedicated an official State Historical Marker commemorating the 
Pine Grove Furnace Prisoner of War Interrogation Camp, 1943 – 1945.

Dave Smith    John Bland
 Dave Smith             --            John Bland
Marker Dedication



The area around the Old Stone Barn had been cleared for trees and brush which has regrown as shown below.
4/4/2011  FYI: Folks from the PA DCNR and even PHMC have taken a more active interest in the crumbling barn wall. They have installed a simple split-rail fence as a passive safety barrier around the structure and added a new parking lot.   Further action to try to prevent the stone wall from collapse is under discussion, but may be rather costly. As a first step toward possible work towards saving the structure from the ravages of gravity and time -- the 3 pine trees in front are now gone, as is much of the brush and smaller trees around the rear/interior of the barn.         -- Andre Weltman   
See more detailed photos of barn by Andre Weltman
October 2012 Showing regrowth around barn wall. -

Work day at Camp Michaux - Pictures and Text     Zion Arendtsville United Church of Christ           


Link to other finds by Vince Montano

A New Bridge to Nowhere Found

 Youtz-Bridge-1   Youtz-Bridge-1

Vince Montano  April, 2013

Saturday after camp cleanup day I wandered peacefully through the camp and made a new discovery. At least it is for me. I have never heard it mentioned before.    Hidden in the trees under pine needles and leaves is a concrete footbridge with the name Youtz-Bridge embedded along the top with stones.

In "The History of Camp Michaux", written circa 1964 by Helen Louise McAdoo, a student at Carlisle High School, she writes that,
 "German words and names are embedded in concrete steps and bridges that the war prisoners constructed throughout the camp."
I have always been intrigued by her plural use of the word bridges, since the only bridge we know about is the one over Tom's Run on Michaux Rd.

Some checking on the name Youtz reveals it to be an Americanized spelling of the name Jutz, of German origin. 
It might be a long-shot, but wouldn't it be something if that name appears in the registry of prisoners?

To find the footbridge, follow the trail behind the CCC Education Building and across the bathhouse. Step off the bathhouse, leave the trail and continue southwest toward Tom's Run. The footbridge is in the woods and is not over water. Clearing it off revealed no other names.

November 2011
Recently we found several items in the camp that I'm very excited about. . Around the church camp girl's dorm were a girl's hair clip and makeup compact case. Near a guard barrack we found a 1947 penny and 1945 silver nickel.

We found a retractable bakelite pencil with eraser compartment and perpetual calendar. An advertisement for Sigler's Poultry Farm in York, PA with "Ready-To-Cook Chickens And Turkeys" lists a 4-digit phone number. I'm still researching to try and place the time period. 4-digit phone numbers for York were used through the 1930's and 40's. Info on Sigler's has been non-existent and may require a trip to the York County Heritage Trust. Intriguing that a retractable pencil lay just outside the CCC Education Building where the men took classes.

Mechanical Pencil

We found a vintage Ipana toothpaste tube which reads "FOR CLEANING THE TEETH AND MASSAGING THE GUMS". When cleaned it revealed a bright red and yellow design. After researching vintage ads from the 30's through the 60's, I learned that Ipana's maker, Bristol Myers, modified the design every few years. What's neat about this piece is that the years that Bristol Myers design most closely matches ours is exactly 1943 through 1945. And we found it right outside the back doorstep of a guard barrack.

Lastly and coolest of all is a steel donut-hole button displaying two stars and "U.S. ARMY". After some checking it appears that during WWII this button was used on U.S. Army Chino Khaki Pants as well as on denim work cloths worn by prisoners. Two photos show our button and one in pristine condition.


From  David Smith: He has completed the prisoner database and now we have information on Lt. Momberg whose name ins inscribed on the Tom's Run bridge, and Erich John whose name is on the Deer Lodge farm house
See more details.

Lt. Wilhelm Momberg,
     Classified as a Nazi with the same PW # as he inscribed on the bridge left PGF on 7?/13/1945
     to travel to Camp Dermott POW camp - this is the camp most PW officers were sent when they left Pine Grove Forest.

Prisoner's writing
East side of Michaux Road bridge over Tom's Run just before camp entrance .
25. 5.   Prisoner of war ?????
1945      31 G 25 ? 205         
Lt. Momberg???????

Erich John
     PW# 31G-242097 left PGF on 7/19/1945 for Ft. Meade POW Internment Camp. 
     This is the location most of the NCOs were sent if they were classified as a Nazi which John was.


Film footage from Pennsylvania CCC camps that includes the Pine Grove Furnace Camp S-51-PA is now available online at the 
Pennsylvania State Archives website or PA Archives Film About CCC Camp Life. - YouTube Video
     Select CCC #1 (Civilian Conservation Corps) circa 1935, Running time of 8:40.
    Pine Grove Furnace appears at runtime 2:42 with Company 329 building a road and CCC officers smoking pipes. 
   At 6:34 telephone poles are being built in the same location.
    Interesting to note, at runtime 3:23 is a Pennsylvania keystone displayed in another camp like the one recently discovered at Pine Grove. 


                 Vince & Keystone      Keystone Details
July 16, 2011   It was a great day and dedication at the camp.  I was doing some snooping around some of the newly cleared foundations, and I can't believe what I found!  At the west entrance to the CCC Education (#17) Building, there seemed to be an odd-shaped concrete step under the debris with recessed squares similar to those on the POW Marker.  When we cleared everything off it took shape and we realized it was the Pennsylvania Keystone symbol!  We took a picture with one of us in it so you can compare size... it's actually quite large.  My guess is this was most likely placed there by the CCC.   Wow! What a cool way to end the day!

    I followed a hunch I've had since November about a floor in the Non-Comm Officers cabin.  We discovered the floor in great shape, obviously the bathroom with toilet on the east side, bathtub on the other and sink drain.  In a forest setting that's almost completely monotone brown, it's really quite a sight to see the bright colors of red, white, light blue, and yellow jumping out at you.  A vivid reminder of the life that was here.   Any ideas from anyone on how old (or how new) the floor might be?   It looks 50's or 60's to me, but that's only a guess.
    According to one home improvement website, "Vinyl floor tiles were developed after World War II. Laminate flooring, also called linoleum, was available in large sheets before that time. There was a need for an easier method than lying down and gluing large vinyl flooring sheets and so small square tiles were invented."
Perhaps one confirmation that the tiles were placed during church camp.
   Vince Montano

     I know what you guys are thinking...what did I dig up?  I never touched the ground for this one. Once last year I was looking at the POW marker with the light low in the sky during sunset, and noticed that the casting shadow allowed you to see everything much more clearly. So late yesterday I tried something and discovered that one of the best ways to view the marker may be in the dark! Using a flashlight cast at low angles revealed something I never noticed before.
     At the very top-center above the word "SERVICE" is The Great Seal of The United States. The eagle's wings, ribbon in it's mouth, the circle above it that would contain the 13 stars, and arrows & olive branch in it's talons become visible. It isn't perfect, but if you look at the back of a one dollar bill you get the idea. Have any of you noticed this before? It never became visible at all to me until last evening.
Vince Montano

Old Barn
Vince Montano & John Bland by Old Barn Wall on cleanup day.

Interesting Links and Finds

The Book About Camp Michaux

The Pine Grove Furnace Prisoner of War Interrogation Camp

by John Paul Bland
Great book that has some of my pictures!
Order from CCHS

John Bland - the author of The Secret War at Home... has moved to Texas.  Before leaving, he turned all his files over to the Historical Society.  Dave Smith is continuing a project begun by John Bland to create a database of all the prisoners who passed through Pine Grove Furnace POW Interrogation Camp between May of 1943 and the end of 1945.  At present, effective July 15, 1945,  the list contains 7,400 German names.  I suspect that by the time the list is completed with the remaining German names and the additional Japanese prisoners that came in that fall, there will be over 8000 names in the database.

11/23/2011 - Dave Smith
The POW database is completed.  Following a careful review of the database requiring the combining of more that 300 entries that were partial records of the same prisoner, the results are as follows: 

    7313 Germans
    161 Japanese
        1  Italian    
  7475 Total


AUTHORS NOTES about the history of this Web page:
     Many  places and events of minor historical importance that pre-date the World Wide Web are not on-line!   
The exceptions to this rule are those pages created as labors of love such as this and my other page for another little known place - Jackson Falls

     In 2001, while creating the church camp links on the Beulah Presbyterian Church Web site, I added Pine Springs Camp.  It was here that I began my church camping experience in 1951 and attended every year till 1959 when I was a counselor.   I was surprised to find pictures of both my father and myself on their 1954 Memory Lane page!  I'm the dorky kid with glasses on the right edge of this picture and my father is third from the right in the back row.   I then began a fruitless Web search for information about another special place of my youth - Camp Michaux.  Finding nothing online in 2001 was the inspiration for creating this page.

     I first saw this region of Pennsylvania in the 1950s as a grade schooler attending Wilson College for women in Chambersburg.  Not as their first male student but as a preacher's kid at a summer church conferences with my parents.  It was there that I taught myself the art of canoeing while they were attending classes.  

In 1959 and 1960, I was a delegate from Blairsville Presbyterian Church to the Synod of the Trinity's  Youth Leadership Conference held at Camp Michaux.   In 1961, during a brief interlude between high school, my first job and college, I was invited to return again as an ex-officio delegate with no responsibilities other than to make friends and take pictures. 

     Color prints were expensive so I was saving money by shooting color slide film.  Very few people were into slides back then, so mine may be some of the few that exist.  I used some cheep ANSCO film and it has faded but the KODAK slides still look good. 

    If you would like to see all my old slides as full screen images, I would be delighted to send them on a CD along with the current pictures from the camp walks and other documents about the camp.   Send me your address and I'll drop you one in the mail.

     Then as now, the Appalachian Trail (AT) passes through the camp and it was here that I first hiked on it in 1959.  After graduating from Monmouth College in 1965, I began my career teaching the Physics at Churchill High School (now Woodland Hills after a merger.)  Before I was married, I was the leader of the Explorer Scout Post at Beulah Presbyterian Church.   In the summer of 1966, we were driven to Caledonia State Park and from their hiked the AT north.  I made a short detour to revisit Camp Michaux on our way to the Camp Grounds at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

     "The Ash Grove" is everyone's favorite camp but its meaning only becomes clear with age.   I still recall fond memories of these mountains and the friendships they once nurtured.  So, forty years later in 2001, I made an attempt to go back to the past in spite of Thomas Wolfe's admonition that "You Can't Go Home Again." After all those years, I was still able to find this place.  We exchanged e-mail addresses with a hiker on the AT near the camp and she contacted a friend who sent me a copy of the ACHS article about the POW camp.

    In May of 2002, I returned to the camp for a Cumberland Co. Historical Walking Tour of the camp.  Much of this page is based on the information gathered on that walk.     While I was at the park office, I obtained a copy of “A History of Camp Michaux” by M.S. Reifsnyder. (View in HTML format or download as Microsoft Word Rich Text with other information.)   I have converted a Site Survey Summery Sheet from a hazardous waste site clean up document that gives a detailed history of the POW camp.  I received another “A History of Camp Michaux” buy Helen Louise McAdoo. (see note from her brother) As with any research project, you find more questions than answers so I need to go back in the winter when the leaves are off the trees and make some accurate measurements! 

   I just could not stay away and returned again for the 2003 walk.  It rained the day before and by the end of the walk we were all cold and wet!  But I did get a lot of detailed pictures with my new digital camera which I will be glad to share with you on a CD.   Because of the weather,  I didn't fulfill my prime objectives to hike up to "Vesper Hill" and back the lower service road to see the remains of the camp buildings.  Perhaps next year... 

    In June, 2003, my wife and I traveled to Europe.   While on our cruse of the Rhine River, we met a German gentleman who's U-boat crew was captured off France and he was interred at a camp near Tampa Bay.  His captain was also interned in the US but he did not know where...

   On our way to a short vacation in the Poconos in July, we planed our route to visit the UCC Hartman Conference Center in Milroy, PA.  In the living room of the Michaux Lodge are four POW paintings from Camp Michaux. The camp director, Rev. Bruce Druckenmiller, assisted me in taking digital photographs of the paintings which are displayed below.  We returned on the picturesque US Route 6 to see the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, in Potter County we visited the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.  At the visitors center, they have an extensive display celebrating the history of the CCC camps in Pennsylvania.

    In June of 2004, I attended the first "reunion" of former staff and campers and was able to make copies of their extensive collection of photographs which are available on my CD.  We also met with Lisa John, a park ranger, who has an interesting collection of pictures and is planning a brochure and interpretive walking trail if the forest service will give her permission.

November 2006 was cool and damp but when the leaves have fallen is the best time to see the camp so I had to go back for yet another camp walk and finally found the remains of Vesper Hill!  I've put that information on another page - 2006 Camp Walking Tour Pictures

While researching the camp, I ran across several references to Kings Gap.   I had briefly looked at their Web site but did not study it in depth until I was contacted by their new archivist.  The place seemed like an interesting place to visit and there is speculation that several of the highest priority POWs from Camp Pine Grove might have been housed there but no evidence to support the claim.   It appears that it was still in private hands during the war.     In July of 2007, my wife and I visited the Kings Gap Environmental Education and Training Center.  The front porch of the mansion offers a spectacular view of the Cumberland Valley.

 For some strange reason, I drove four hours in the rain to attend the 2009 camp walk.   The rain stopped as we entered the camp ground and the sun came out for the afternoon walk.  It seemed as though every walker had a different interest in the camp.  Several complained that it took too much ink to print out this page before they came!  :-)

     If your Web wanderings have lead you here, please add your memories via e-mail !  
Let me know if I can publish your name and e-mail address. 
With around 200 hits/month from all over the world, I should be getting more mail!

Thanks to all the people who have found this page and have e-mailed me pictures and information from their collections.  If you have e-mailed me and changed your address, please let me know. 
--- Lee Schaeffer -  Home Page -   E-mail e-mail address

     P.S.  I also spent many weeks at BSA Camp Seph Mack from 54-62 as a camper and as staff teaching Pioneering,  Map Reading rowing (which later saved my life) and Morse Code.   I also attended the National Jamborees in 1957 at Valley Forge, PA and 1960 at Silver Springs, CO - but that's all for another page!   As an Explorer Post leader, I brought a group of scouts through the camp in 1966 while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Maybe Wolfe was right!



Authors Note: 
On July 30, 2001, my wife and I spent the afternoon locating the remnants of the camp off Michaux Road about two miles south of Pine Grove Furnace State Park on SR 233.   It took quite a while since I had not been there since 1961

    On the maps,  you can see all the mountain roads and the camp's location relative to Pine Grove Furnace.   The camp is located in Cooke Township in  Michaux State Forest

Topo Map

     The white clearing on the 2002 NGS topo map is the site of the camp.  Michaux Road is the main road running N/S.  The Upper, Main and Lower Service roads are have gates off Michaux Road and are easy to find.  The red dashed line is the Appalachian Trail. 
     The clearing to the right of Michaux Road is "Vesper Hill."  The "swimming pool" is the original dam on Toms Run.  Bunkerhill  Road is not shown on this map but runs along about the 1200' contour line.  Above "Sanitary Filter" is where the AT  passes the old barn now hidden behind a stand of trees.

                                     Old Map
    Detail from an older topographic map that shows the camp buildings at the  end of the POW era.  The four barracks in the upper left of the compound were apparently were built by the military to supplement the CCC barracks.  The lower two were removed by the church camp to make room for the swimming pool.  The church camp Pavilion and the "Steps to Nowhere" are off the top service road between the two sets of barracks.  "Camp Michaux" was the church camp name so the map must have been drawn after the Army left and before the removal of the barracks.


GPS Coordinates to locations within the camp

Barn Wall N  40 02.278  W  77 20.302
Fountain N  40 02.241 W  77 20.419
Arrow/Flagpole N  40 02.258 W  77 20.415
Mess Hall N  40 02.237 W  77 20.471
Diving Board N  40 02.237 W  77 20.530
Swimming Pool N  40 02.275 W  77 20.523
Steps to Nowhere N  40 02.318 W  77 20.494
Dam #2 N  40 02.232 W  77 20.623
Thanks to The Propers


MAPS, GPS  and Arial Views

The older aerial images show the area  before it was totally overgrown.   Google Earth is the best source for these maps.  
Download here:
In the search box, enter:  " 40.0379   -77.3404"   

On the menu bar at the top of the Google Earth Map, select the very small CLOCK icon to see the older maps by date.   The 3/31/2007 map was taken in winter and shows the best contrast between the trees planted by the CCC and Army and 25 years of overgrowth since 1972.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) follows Michaux Road cuts across to Bunker Hill Road passing the old barn wall.

 Directions from Pine Grove State Park:

1)  Drive south about 2 miles on Rt. 233
2)  At the PA historical marker, turn right onto Michaux road.
3)  The road will level off to cross the Tom's Run bridge.
4)  Baker Road is then on the right with a place to park. 
5)  Across from Bunkerhill Road is the gate to the Main Camp Road . 

Landmarks on Michaux Road

Historical Marker
Historical Marker on Rt. 233 at Michaux Road

Bunkerhill Road
Across the road from the gate below - park here

     Main gate to camp site.
       Log gate on Michaux Road leading to the Main Camp Road

  Where the paved portion of Michaux Road ends about 100 yd. past Bunkerhill Road and the old stone barn parking lot, you will find a yellow metal gate on the left which is the entrance to the "Upper Service road."    The yellow gate south of the Toms Run bridge is the "Lower Service Road."


Historical Resources and Links

PA Bucket Tour of the Camp

CCHS POW Pictures


 Secret Interrogation Camp
This American Life

Historical Society of German Military History

  Karl Smith's Poster about the camp
Dickinson College Archeology Project
Assistant Professor of Archaeology Maria Bruno


Histories by Dave Smith
(Leader of the camp walks)
and the Pine Grove State Park Office

History of the camp and furnace
by M.S. Reifsnyder  -  RTF Format
Interesting but some historical inaccuracies.

“A History of Camp Michaux”
buy Helen Louise McAdoo.
(see note from her brother below)

  The Military History of Camp Michaux

1960 Camp Michaux Youth Fellowship
Camp History

Military POW Camp Buildings - 2007

Wartime Memories Project

German POWs in the U.S.

Detailed history of the camp as of 1966

POW Interrogation
U-Boat Archives

Detailed description and photographs.
Information on MEMOVOX Machine used to secretly record POWs

POW Camps near Gettysburg

POW Trains

Camp Crossville
“To Win Our War with Butter and Beefsteaks”: Camp Crossville and the Treatment of Axis Prisoners of War  by Gregory Kupsky

Pennsylvania CCC Archive

News Paper Articles - Google News

PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources
Company 329 Archive

Special thanks to Mr. David Smith for his  "Camp Walks"  and other information from the archives of the The Cumberland County Historical Society
21 North Pitt Street
P.O. Box 626
Carlisle, PA 17013

Photos By Others

                                  A Short History
First there was Pine Grove Furnace which became an extensive manufacturing complex.  To feed all the workers, Bunker Hill Farm was one of several in the area contracted to supply produce.  The AT follows Bunker Hill Road from the Furnace to where the barn wall still stands.
     The need for charcoal to fuel the furnace resulted in the total deforestation of South Mountain.  The iron ore pit eventually flooded to form the park's lake and the furnace closed.
     Early in the 20th Century, the land was an ecological disaster and during the depression became an ideal location for a CCC Camp to reclaim the land.   The first crews lived in railway cars near the furnace.  They hiked in to build the first log cabins and Michaux Road.  Eventually they constructed the barracks and other camp buildings.

  If you are in the area, visit Kings Gap State Park north of Camp Michaux.  It has a wonderful view of the area from the summit of South Mountain.  It was another area devoted to the manufacture of charcoal. "The camp at Huntsdale Pennsylvania, USA was on what is now the C H Masland estate - Kings Gap. The camps existence was kept relatively secret during the war, and there was little know about it by the locals. It was located in proximity to Camp Michaux, but was not a part of that base. The camp was primarily used to house high ranking prisoners in relative comfort, in order get information from them."   Wikipedia

   See: A short History of the CCC
     At the beginning of W.W.II, the military needed a site close to Washington to interrogate German officers.  The first were from captured U-boats and later from north Africa.  The camp was so secret that even the local residents did not know of it's existence.  Major Laurence C. Thomas was the camp commandant.  POW History

     After the war in 1946, the Presbyterian, UCC and E&R churches converted the area into a summer camp.  They removed some of the buildings, barracks, stockade and eventually added a swimming pool and pavilion.

          What remains of the camp
  From the main entrance gate down the main camp road about 150'  you can find the Third Service Corps marker on your right and further on the CCC Fountain and the foundations for the administrative buildings of the camp and mess hall.  

                                      Dinning Hall
  The loading dock for the camp kitchen/dinning hall is at the end of the main camp road.   Across the road to the south are the remains of the loading ramp from the incinerator and the Old Swimming Pool.
                            wpe7B.jpg (32950 bytes)
                       Ye Old Swimming Hole and Dam
                            Photo - Chris Champion taken on 2010 Camp Walk
  South of the main road past the dinning hall, you can find the remains of the pump house and the large pond that was the "new" swimming hole on Tom's Run before the last pool was constructed in 1954. 

North of the dining hall are the remains of the final swimming pool built in 1954.  Above the pool, you can still find the paved floor of the "pavilion" and north west of that, under some bushes are "The Steps to Nowhere" and the upper parking lot which is now a bird banding sanctuary.  Watch the poison ivy patch!  It may be easier to find these from the upper service road.       

     On your visit, try to locate the following:
             See Map Below
     Map Keys used on this page
  1. CCC Sign off of Michaux Road
  2. Old Barn on AT (Appalachian Trail)
  3. Old Farm House on AT east of Barn.
  4. Vesper Hill with one remaining bench
  5. POW's name on bridge over Tom's Run
  6. Sewage Treatment Plant
  7. Base of guard tower on Michaux Road by AT
  8. Main Camp Road
  9. Michaux Lodge at entrance
  10. Third Service Corps Marker on camp road
  11. Calvin and Zwingli Barracks
  12. CCC Fountain
  13. Lower Guard Tower next to Fountain.
  14. Recreation Hall, Office, Basketball Court.
  15. Dinning Hall loading Dock
  16. The Incinerator Ramp
  17. Old Swimming Hole and Pump House
  18. "New" Swimming Pool  -  Check out the pump room under the pool
  19. Upper Dam on Toms Run
  20. POW date the on south wall by Upper Dam
  21. Lower Service Road & Building Remains
  22. Upper Service Road at yellow gate
  23. Log Cabin at entrance to USR (Upper Service Road)
  24. Log Cabin on USR
  25. Guard Tower off USR
  26. POW dinning Hall
  27. Pavilion Floor
  28. "Steps To Nowhere"
  29. CCC Arrow Flagpole Base north of Fountain
  30. "Star" Emblem on central lawn
  31. Two latches for POW stockade gate
  32. Church camp Flag Pole NW of the Star
  33. Three Barracks
  34. Infirmary
  35. Drinking Fountain off Main Camp Road

     A few feet further up Michaux Road on the right, there is the "white blaze" where the AT cuts off from Michaux Road and cuts across to join Bunkerhill Road past the parking area.  The foundations for one of the guard towers can be seen at this corner.   


     Between the upper and lower gates and set back off the camp side of Michaux road is a commemorative marker for the first CCC Camp S-51 329 Co. in Pennsylvania.  "S" designates the camp is in a state forest.   
     By the early 1900's the demand for charcoal for the Pine Grove Furnace had virtually cleared the mountains of trees.   The CCC reforested and restored the area.

  CCC Cabin and POW Tower
           Winter Photo of POW Watchtower and Guard House - CCHS
One of the two original CCC cabins and the NE watchtower south of the upper service road.  

 Remains of the Cabins

    Many of the buildings were sold for their lumber when the church camp closed. The Infirmary was moved to another camp in the area.  Cross the bridge, at the dam pictured below, to the Lower Service Road.   Follow the LSR a few hundred yards to the right (west) to locate the piles of lumber that are the remains of the camp buildings.      Turning turn left (east) on the LSD takes you to the Old Swimming Pool, Dam and Raceway    You can also access the Lower Service Road  at the yellow gate off Michaux Road south of the main camp entrance.

        Dam on Tom's Run
    Upper Dam on Tom's Run
    (Dave Smith leads a CCHS "Camp Walk")
This was the source of the camps drinking water supply.     
There is a trail from the end of the road at the remains of the mess hall loading dock.   If you continue down the trail to its end, you will come to the camp's water supply dam on Toms Run built by the CCC.  On the top of the south wall about 20' from the dam (foreground 

Guard Tower
    You can still find the foundation blocks of the a guard tower near the upper service road.  The others are on Michaux road across from the upper service road gate south of the AT and the third is near the CCC Fountain.   

Prisoner's writing
Above is a date and name of a POW who must have done some repairs to the Michaux Road bridge over Toms Run..  

         Sewage Treatment Plant
The camp had an extensive water and sewage systems.  The "Sanitary Filter" was the sewage treatment plant and can still be located south of Bunkerhill Road north of the bridge over Toms Run about 200' east of the road.   I believe that these facilities were installed when the church camp opened.   It is not show on any of the CCC or Army maps.                 



Camp Pine Grove - CCC Camp
329 Co. Camp No. 51
First in Pennsylvania

5 / 6 / 1933 - 1941

CCC Camp Sign - Picture from CCHS Display

Very Early Pictures of the CCC Camp - 1933

The location of the flagpole is not where it is today.
The dining hall appears to be the first major building.

"Add another flagpole location to the camp's history" - Vince Montano.   
Note: Only tents for the CCC Boys

Four postcard images found on eBay.   They appear to be printed on photographic paper rather than half-tone images.


Finished CCC Camp in 1939

Camp Work Projects



CCC boys from the Pine Grove Furnace Camp constructing a road.  See Kenneth Pyles Below


Latest CCC Camp Photos

The CCAC recently obtained a set high quality photographs from the CCC era.  Many are close-ups of the CCC boys.  
The pictures below were selected to show details of the buildings and the layout of the camp.
Note the buildings in the background.   Reduced in size about 50%









CCC Road Crew
CCC Picture found by Vince Montano 2015

Picture from OSU Collection

CCC Officer's Quarters - Church camp "Hutch"

CCC Head Quarters - Church camp "Honeymoon"

Pictures copied from the CCC news paper "Happy Days" - Sat., Jan 11, 1936
"Arrow" Flag pole base can still be seen north of CCC Fountain.   Notice there are no trees around the fountain.

PA State Archives - Vince Montano 2010
See entire
picture set & text article

Film footage from Pennsylvania CCC camps that includes the Pine Grove Furnace Camp S-51-PA is now available online at the
Pennsylvania State Archives website
     Select CCC #1 (Civilian Conservation Corps) circa 1935, Running time of 8:40.
    Pine Grove Furnace appears at runtime 2:42 with Company 329 building a road and CCC officers smoking pipes.
At 6:34 telephone poles are being built in the same location.       
Interesting to note, at runtime 3:23 is a PA Keystone displayed in another camp like the one discovered at Pine Grove. 


CCC Camp Photographs
See More

View From South Mountain looking SE to Little Rocky Ridge
Capt. Charles Elcock was the commanding officer at the time 
8/22/1933 to 10/24/1934
Photo published by the Post Exchange Studio Des Moines, Iowa
Apparently the PES sent photographers around the country with large format cameras to document the CCC camps.
Does anyone have any information about this studio and their collection?

    I ran across this photo on your website while searching for "Charles Elcock" and recognized my great-uncle, Charles Borromeo Elcock.  He is the officer in the middle of this photo. 

    Uncle Charlie grew up in Philadelphia, served on the U.S./ Mexico border just before WWI, the 103rd Pennsylvania Engineers in France, was a Supervising Engineer on the construction of the Delaware River Bridge (now the Ben Franklin Bridge), construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the CCC Camps during the 1930s.   He continued his engineering in various capacities and retired in the late 1950s.  Uncle Charlie died in Philadelphia in 1966. 

    I thought would appreciate the biographical background on my dear great-uncle.     Best,  G.M - San Francisco 5/14/2019
an Francisco

I purchased a small set of original photos relating to the CCC and Camp Michaux, from the Bedford Street antique mall in Carlisle. 
The images pertain to the Pine Grove Furnace CCC Camp S-51, Company 329 (labeled on the above photo): 
mostly it's group shots with no names, snaps of the interior of the mess hall, cook crew, and camp administrators.
 --  Andre Weltman  -  January  2005

Aerial Photograph 1938


Pictures of CCC Camp by Kenneth Pyles
 From Judy Hoffman Huntingdon, PA   Feb 2, 2012 
"My dad was Kenneth Pyles who was a resident of Shade Gap, PA, at the time he joined the camp."



Kenneth Pyles is on the left in thes  pictures above

On 11/9/2017 11:27 AM, Vince Montano wrote:
a new set of photos from Judy Hoffman that belonged to her father Kenneth Pyles. Several of them we already have, however these are higher resolution.



To the right of the Mess Hall there's a small piece of the CCC Officers Mess visible, 
this was also a log structure and it's foundation is still there northwest of the Mess Hall.

The front and side entrance ways were added later as shown in POW era pictures.
In the foreground, there appears to be a fire fighting ladder but no triangular alarm bell.

With the better resolution you can see the "White Flash Plus" gasoline pump. 
There are also several fire buckets around the site as rmbered by Frank Stasky. 

From the looks of the ivy, the camp had been open for a few years.
Was the CCC Hospital was up the hill from the Mess Hall?


                                                                                                 The Fountain and base of Flag Pole still remain.   

 Kenneth Pyles sitting on a stone wall.
It looks like there may have been a small picnic pavilion or something 
of that nature behind the Mess Hall at one time.



PA Archives Film About CCC Camp Life. - YouTube Video

Photographs of CCC Camp scanned from negatives at the PGF Park Office in June, 2004.


   The "Pump House (#20 ) down the road from the Dinning Hall looking south.
) taken from Dinning Hall looking south?

Last Days of POW Camp / Early Church Camp?
Taken from Recreation Hall
Camp Headquarters, Dining Hall, Flagpole and Dinner "Bell"


Last Days of POW Camp / Early Church Camp?
Showing the Third Service Corps Marker at right behind the sign post



Gettysburg Newspaper - July 8, 1933
Clipping found by Vince Montano

Transition form CCC Camp to POW Camp

     Later CCC Camp
     CCC Camp from Big Hill looking north
Later view of the CCC camp.  The center of the camp was a large flag pole just north of the "fountain." - Details
The painting below was done by the POW artist from approximately the same point.

       Note that the "X" and flag pole in the CCC photo are not the same location as the "X" of trees in the POW camp.

POW Painting of the Camp
Barracks  Steps?  Showers     Barracks         POW Mess     Tower      Fountain         Infirmary   CCC Cabins     Stone Barn
                  Latrine       Dinning Hall       Rec. Hall                   Lower Camp              Michaux Rd       Gate     Motor Pool
    Center detail of the 20" X 30" of Camp Pine Grove done by a Heinrich Backhaus.    
   At the far left are five barracks and lower two in the center group that were apparently removed by the church camp.  
The log cabins in the upper right were the first ones built for the CCC camp as administrative offices and were the staff lodgings for the church camp.      
The original painting and other photographs are now housed at the local historical society in Gettysburg.


Camp Pine Grove - POW Camp
1942 - 1945

    7313 Germans
    161 Japanese
        1  Italian    
  7475 Total

Camp Overview 1944-1945 by POW Heinrich Backhaus

Some POWs became a more permanent workforce for the camp.  
Austrian native "Harry" Backhaus was one, an "officer orderly" who was deemed cooperative and anti-Nazi.
Accompanied by a guard, he climbed 450' up "Big Hill" and sketched the view.  Upon returning to the camp he painted the picture on a sheet of Masonite.
He painted several framed oils while at camp and became a professional artist after the war.
  CCHS Display  -  Compare the two slightly different paintings.

POW buildings over current arial photo
Aerial image of the camp today with an overlay of the POW camp map before more barracks were added.
The "swimming hole" is at the lower left.  The new pool is the tree covered rectangle on the far left.
See Map Key Below   - -   View High Resolution Image
Link to Detailed Army Map - Used for the overlay above.
Dave Smith's detailed Army Map with key to buildings
Army's Completion Report from Spring, 1943.  This part is the main camp area.  
 Lt. Col. Victor H. Meseke, the Area Army Engineer based in Chambersburg, was responsible for the camp's conversion from
CCC Camp S-51-PA into the POW Interrogation Camp. He used William S. Lozier of Rochester, NY as architect.  
The Completion Report is found in Box 77, Record Group 77, National Archives, College Park, MD. 
The Army quickly realized that it needed to expand the camp--it added seven more POW Barracks, giving the camp a capacity of 500 prisoners.   -  John Bland.


1945 DCNR Map showing the barracks added for the Japenese prisoners
View full sized map file showing all the detail.


Full Screen Version of this map
Defense Environmental Restoration Program Site Map 1996 (Relabeled)
This map does not show the Upper and Lower Service Roads or all the barracks.
The "Hospital" became the church camp's caretaker's house where the Hockleys lived. 


Camp Pine Grove Map

  Detailed Army Map with key to buildings
by Dave Smith

    Map of POW Camp Pine Grove by Rex F. Waite from Salt Lake City drawn from memory many years later which has a lot of inaccuracies.
 and reproduced from the Shippensburg, PA, News Chronicle, June 28, 1993.
Larger view of complete map.

     WAITE REX F.  B. 6/15/1917    D. 7/29/1986   (Syracuse)

The above contains a detailed history of the POW camp condensed from a DEFRpdf file

3rd Service
Third Service Cops Patch
"....On 1 April 1945 a detachment of the 475th Military Police Escort Guard Company was sent to a Military Intelligence camp at Pine Grove Furnace, PA. This was a camp that reportedly escaped inspection visits from the International Red Cross. It was a “side” camp of Carlisle Barracks."   

Military History of Camp Michaux


POW Camp photographs scanned from pictures and negatives at the PGF Park Office in June, 2004.

Note the Third Service Corp emblem on the floor by the door.

CCC path to Log Cabin (#24. Honeymoon) which was not used by the Army.

Entrance to POW camp with CCC Fountain
POW Camp Showing gate to compound,
  CCC Fountain and guard tower behind trees.

Photo - Chris Champion copied on 2010 Camp Walk


Staff / Michaux Dinning Hall
Take from south east guard tower
Judging from the guard tower, photo was taken after the addition 
of barracks for Japanese POWs.
Note the triangular fire gong.  It was not used for meal calls.


PiFrom Photos from Pat Waybright
 Sent to Vince Montano 


L/R:  David Michele, Pop Valter, Feneult, Webler, Dallas Bartram, Otes Cole
                                         Thomson - kneeling 
   Pearlmutter - peeping out


POW Paintings

Four of the paintings done by POWs on the barrack walls still survive in the new Michaux Lodge at the 
UCC Hartman Conference Center in Milroy, PA.  Stop in and see them!

POW Painting
Auf da Alm da gibt's Koa Sind, ( weil koa Teifi aufimmt )
"There exists no sin on the high mountain meadow, ( because no devil comes up here )."

Ladygirl,  Huntingdon,  PA  -   2007
In 2004, a friend and I were hiking the Appalachian Trail. We read in our hiking guide we would be passing Camp Michaux.  It was so fascinating I didn't want to leave.  
We then visited the U.C.C. Conference Center where we saw the paintings.  No one at the Center knew the meaning of  "Auf da Alm da gibt's Koa Sind, (weil koa Teifi aufimmt)."  I contacted
Professor Klaus Jaeger at Juniata College who translated it from the Upper-Bavarian dialect.

Or: "There is no sin up on the alp Because even a devil will not climb up to it"

  Retouched Castle    Retouched Barrics.     Retouced Boat.
The Yucca plants in the center photo can still be seen around the camp!

This Painting on wood is in the Michaux State Forest Office
The CCHS has acquired several more of the wall board paintings.



Two Backhaus paintings views of the same area of the camp

Vince Schiavoni
President - Duraloy Technologies, Inc  -   724-887-5100 x

My Father was a camp guard 1944/45 at this camp.   Our family has in its possession 3 paintings by Heinrich Backhaus done for my Father in gratitude for cigarettes, chocolate and other kindnesses shown to this prisoner during his internment.     

My Father and Mother have an interesting tale to tell concerning my Dad’s time at the Camp.    My Dad was wounded in Italy serving with Patton’s army and sent home to recover.    At the tail end of that recovery, he was transferred to Camp Pine Grove.     My Mom says he told her at the time that he was stationed at the Carlisle Barracks which I understand was a common “cover story” for these men.    My Mom and Dad’s relationship flourished and they were “secretly” married in March of 1945, telling no one in either family or the Army.    That secret wasn’t revealed until after my Dad’s discharge at the end of the War in Europe and until he found employment in what would become their hometown of Waynesboro, PA.     

My Dad never told my Mom the true story of his Army situation at Pine Grove until after his discharge.    He was a Staff Sergeant at the camp and I believe the ranking NCO there at the time.

 Dec. 2017:   A few months back while looking through some old photos, we found one of my Dad sitting under a tree with a dog next to him.   Mom that he adopted that old stray while a guard at the camp and she was pretty sure the photo was taken at the camp.   I'll dig it out and if you like I can send it to you.   Not sure there's anything that can definitively put it at the camp but I'll see.

That got Mom talking a bit more about Dad's duties there.   She remembers that he told her he drove the bus that would go to the pick-up points to get prisoners and then drive them to the Camp.   He said the buses were fitted with blinds on the windows and a barricade behind the driver so that the prisoners couldn't see where they were going.    She said Dad told her they would drive different routes and go out of their way on roads so that the prisoners wouldn't be able to figure out direction or distance to the camp.    They wanted the prisoners to feel that they were deep in the woods, far away from any civilization so as to minimize their thoughts of trying to escape.    He said they almost always traveled at night.   I can only imagine what those prisoners must have thought when they stepped out of that bus into the Camp.

I’m trying to gather as much information about these items and putting it together for my children to have a better understanding of a piece of their Grandfather’s military history. 


December 1, 2015 Vince Schiavoni wrote:
     After talking with my Mom, she said she remembers my Dad relating that he asked Harry if he would paint something 
other than a camp picture for him.  Harry told my Dad he fondly remembered places he visited before the war and 
would see if he could paint one of those from memory.
     It was  a rural scene  with a road, more like a cart path, fields, some trees and single structure which I believe
was a windmill.  I  don't recall that my Dad  ever knew, or told me if he did  know, exactly where this
scene was taken from.    I do  recall that he said this was a small way for Harry to stay in touch with home.   
I guessed from the picture that  it was a Dutch landscape.
     Harry's camp paintings never showed the barbed wire fences, and when I look at the soft touch in which he painted
these pictures, I  can imagine a Man who wanted to put the present reality of war-time in the past and just reflect
upon the more pleasant aspects of both his present surroundings and those he remembered.  

 December 3, 2015 Vince Montano wrote:
As soon as I saw the painting of the countryside I recognized something right away. In 1988 I bicycle toured Europe extensively for 4.5 months and immediately what stood out to me is the thatched roof. These are very prevalent in Denmark and suggest to me that Harry may have visited there. 

      I know exactly where the camp paintings were done. The guard tower in the first camp photo was added in 1945 when the Japanese section was added to the compound. The German barracks are to the left. The Japanese barracks are to the right and out of view as Harry looks south with the dining hall at the bottom. The second camp painting is of the same scene as the first and yet one of them shows the guard tower and one does not. Interesting how Harry had a selective eye. The smallest structure is the latrine. 

Photo Archives at CCHS


 Paintings Displayed in the Recreation Hall of Camp Michaux Church Camp - (1961 Lee Schaeffer slide)
     Here on the walls were displayed the best examples of the POW artwork.
They were originally painted on the fiber board walls of the barracks and were later removed and framed. 
Many were landscapes from Germany but some were of American subjects such as the Statue of Liberty.
The CCHS has acquired five of these painting and four are displayed in Michaux Lodge at the UCC Harman Center


Camp Michaux - Church Camp

1947 - 1972


Church Camp in 1954
The final swimming pool had just been built.

Arial Photo
Arial Photograph of the abandoned camp with landmarks

     The 1994 USGA Arial photograph shows the camp abandoned but recognizable before it was totally overgrown. 

The clearing in the center marks the locations of the barracks and main lawn.  
Clearly visible are the lines of tall pines lining the path from the fountain to the NE corner of the camp.   
(AT) is the Appalachian Trail

Church campers will remember a large building to the NE of the chapel with a large screened porch that was used for meetings.
This was the POW mess hall  within the barbed wire fence.  What was the church camp dinning hall was the military staff dinning hall .

Microsoft Maps - Maps with high resolution images of the camp today.


Definitive Church Camp Map

       1. Barn Wall/Sheds  -  2. Trail Lodge  -  3. Deer Lodge (Old Farm House)  -   4. Garages
       5. Shop/Shed   -   6. Michaux Lodge  -  7. Calvin  -  7a. Third Service Corp Marker  
       8. Calvin Annex  -  9. Fountain  -   10. Secretary’s Office/Shed  -  11. Mess Hall  - 12. Zwingli
      13. Bath/Shower House  - 14. Roe Hall/Camp Store   -  15. Basketball/Tennis Court
      16. Admin/Supply Building  -  17. Pavilion  -  18. Office/Nurse Building - 19. Incinerator
      20. Pump House  -  21. Pond/Old Pool  -   22. Caretaker’s/Hockley Home/Hospital  -  23. Cabin (Hutch)
      24. Cabin (Honeymoon)  -  25. Upper Rec. Hall  -  25a. Supply/Manager’s Building
      26. Crafts Building   -   27. Witherspoon  -  28. Knox  - 29. Chapel  -  30. Pavilion
      31. Volley Ball Pit/Court   -   32. Bath House - 33. "Steps To Nowhere"   -   34. Building 52
      35. Building 51   -   36. Swimming Pool

Thanks to Gunner (Mike Gross) and Raymond Hockley for permission to use their church camp map.


Church Camp Photos

Detail of left side of panoramic view below Aug. 7-19, 1949
Note the lower guard tower supports, the generator shack and buildings in the background.
The picture was donated by the camper in the lower left corner.

"I found your site after talking to Bruce Druckenmiller at the Hartman Center. I believe you have seen the
picture I donated to The Center of the E&R junior camp of 1949.  I camped there every year through
1955 when I served as a counselor in junior camp for 1 week.  In 1956 I served for 3 weeks.  I served
for 5 weeks in 1957.  This ended my association with Camp Michaux until years later when I
stopped by to find the camp destroyed.  I really enjoyed seeing the pictures on your site that
brought many memories.
"  -  Don  July 2003
1949 Panoramic Picture

Over 100 camp picture from 1949 to 1972 are available on a CD. E-mail your address for a copy: e-mail address

Church Camp Postcards


1954 photo paper postcard showing the back side of the CCC Fountain


     Postcard Envelope
Postcard from 1948 or 1949 contained in a fold out set of 10 cards in an envelope.

These old postcard images were found on eBay or I bought them at the camp store.
If you out bid me on eBay, please send me a scan of your cards.
They show important details about the early days of the camp.

 PostCard1a - Ebay.  PostCard2a - Ebay.

Vesper Hill Post Card 

Vesper Hill 1952

                Early Postcards of main Vesper Hill                   (This may be above the "Steps to Nowhere")

  eBay Postcard  Postcard
 These are a later set of cards.  Card sets can be identifies by the styles of the captions.
The trees in front of the chapel are twice as high as those in the first set above.

Dining Hall 
   Taken from the same spot on the lawn as the one of the chapel above.
Note the tar paper covering attached with wood strips on the buildings.   


The following cards are from a third set with a different style of captioning.
Post Card Set   Old Postcard Set   
            Note POW Paintings in Rec Hall              Top: Swimming hole Bottom: Dam.
Middle Right:  "Upper Campus Cabin at Camp Michaux, Gardners, Pa"
This is one of the CCC log cabins #24 on the
Map Legend above.
Note the diagonal path way with its white stone edging.

Better resolution scan of one of the above postcards.
The small pump house was for the CCC camp's fire fighting system and took water from the "Swimming Hole"
The larger pump house took water from the dam further up stream and pumped it up the hill to the storage tanks by Michaux Road.

Early Postcard
This series must have been taken very early in the history of the church camp.
Note the size of the trees, the POW camp's white stones, flag pole and the guard tower. 
but the picture was taken from the dinning hall looking east to the entrance.

Early Mess Hall
Early card looking west from Rec Hall showing 
the Dinning Hall, flag pole and triangular "bell" next to it . 
1958 Mess Hall
1958 color slide by John Diering 
Compare the tree growth between these two pictures   


Vesper Hill 
Note the black sky and white trees.  Was this taken with either Infra Red Film or a very deep red filter? 

Upper Camp
The Upper Camp
             Chapel - Knox - Witherspoon - Crafts Building - Flag Pole and the "White House" circa 1959-61
The "Star" would be in the patch of grass by the girls left hand.
Knox, Calvin, and Calvin Annex were the Lower Camp barracks.

The "Steps to Nowhere" by the "Pavilion
"Steps to Nowhere" and the Pavilion


Compare the  early 1950s  postcards and with the 1963 color cards for details about the history of the camp.
 At the far right in these photos can be seen a drinking fountain built by the CCC.

Main Camp Road in front of CALVIN looking west to the Mess Hall.    The "drinking fountain" can just be seen.
Another postcard found on eBay Aug. 2016

Blowup from one of my slides - Showing the "Drinking Fountain" on right across the Main Road from the  "Rec Hall" 


The remains of the drinking fountain base with drain (above) can be found on the north side of the Main Camp Road

CCC Drinking Fountain on main road             
         Vince Montano found this clipping of a fountain at Laurel Lake.        Colton Point PA State Park                       Camp Penn - CCC camp still in use.    

                                   Old Forge Park                                                            Laurel Hill State Park   2019                       
It appears the CCC used this basic design at several camps. 


     Post Card Chapel    Post Card - Chapel
         Post cards of the Chapel 1952 to circa 1960  t                                               Note the change to the entrance and the size of the pine trees.  

Vesper Hill

Vesper Hill Postcard
You can see the top of The Old Barn above the speaker's head and "Big Hill" beyond.
See the remains of Vesper Hill

This Black & White photo looks like it was taken at the same time as the postcard photo below!

Vesper Hill Today
Enlargement of Vesper Hill postcard with a hand written note on back from 1968
Story of the Card

     Years ago when this page was young, I did an Google search for
"Camp Michaux."  It pointed me to eBay, where I won the above card for $2 since there were no other bidders.   
I copied the image and sent it to Rev. Richard Sigler, who is noted below.  It turns out that the girl sending the card and the recipients were members of his church!
  I sent the card to him and he gave it to the archive committee of the church.    
In February of 2007, I received an e-mail from another member of the same church now living in North Carolina. Small world!

The Other Vesper Hill

During most camping sessions, there was a Junior Camp and a Senior Camp.  
The "lower camp" used the barracks on either side of the Main Camp Road the Vesper Hill area past the Old Stone Barn.  
The " upper camp" used the barricks above the Chaple and had a vesper and camp fire area above the Upper Service Road.

Vesper Hill

Vesper Hill

Behind the barracks and across the Upper Service Road 
was the Vesper area for the Upper Camp.
Craft Hall, Bath House, Pavilion, Steps and Upper Camp Fire Circle


Pioneer Camp1970
Pioneer Camp 1970 - One of the last postcards.
Where exactly was the Pioneer Camp?
Several people agree it was down the road past Vesper Hill.



  "Ye Old Swimming Hole at Camp Michaux R. D. Gardners PA"
Early postcard, looking east, shows the Pump House on far right, small shed and original dam.
Appears to be the same vintage as the one of the entrance above.
There were two pump houses located by this dam behind the mess hall.  The larger one on the right is shown on early CCC maps as being fed by a pipe line from the dam further up Tom's Run.  The CCC camp emphasized sanitation and they would not have located the drinking water source downhill from the camp or from a swimming area.  The water was pumped to two water tanks above the camp to maintain pressure. The main concrete tank is marked "Water" on the topographic map at the top of is Web page.  A second steel tank was located somewhere up hill from the church camp pavilion.   The smaller pump house by the dam provided water for the fire hydrants.  It used a gasoline engine that was problematic in starting.    In the picture below, you can see the pipe from the pond to the pump house.    The camp fire truck is pictured below.
  Does anyone know when the sewage treatment plant was built ?
The "Army" map still shows just "leaching ponds. There are references that the church camp had to build it to meet state health codes.

Old Swimming Hole Dam Photo
    Details of dam for "Ye Old Swimming Hole"
The photograph, looking west, was taken by a councilor and copied at the 2004 Reunion..
"I can say for sure that in 1948 we swam in the old swimming hole. I believe the same was true in '49.
It was nothing more then the dammed up stream. Lots of mud and you did not put your feet down! 
It was located down the "road" past the dinning hall on the left side.  
There was a "pump" shed there. Most times we hiked to Laurel and Fuller Lakes to swim." - E. Smith, NCC


"Swimming Hole" south of the mess hall after it was enlarged and a concrete edge installed.
The small PUMP HOUSE" on the left pumped water for fire fighting system.
For some reason, it does not seem as big as the "New Swimming Pool" pictured below.

 Found on eBay,  Aug, 2016

PostCard6 - Ebay
Postcard of  "The New Swimming Pool" on Toms Run looking north towards the Dinning Hall .
Note the life guards chair in both pictures.

Swimming Hole Post Card Photo
The "New Swimming Pool" looking west taken from the edge of the dam on Tom's Run

   The church camp enlarged the "Old Swimming Hole" into the "New Swimming Pool", put  in a sand bottom and sluiceways to channel Toms Run around the pool. 
The concrete walls and a diving board were added sometime in the very early 1950's. 

The sluiceways formed a "Y" with Tom's Run about 100 yards upstream from the pool.  One channeled Toms Run and so it emptied into the stream bed below the spillway of the dam. 
The other sluiceway entered the swimming pool at the opposite end from the dam.   You can see the walkway over this sluice in the bottom photo
There were slots in the walls of the base of the "Y" so boards could be put in to control how much water went up each arm ."
 - Dave Robinson (See letters below.)    

This expensive project was only used for three or four years until the final modern pool (below) was built in 1954.

Postcard-Pool-FirstOpened  PostCard4 - eBbay.jpg
Postcards of the "New Pool" opened in June of 1954.        Later with a fence and grass replacing the sand.       
Pool cost of $40,000 and was built to comply with newer state health regulations.  
See News Clipping

Pool in 1961 from authors color slide.



Old Pool Panorama
                   Spillway                                           Dam  Today                               Beach    Pump House
"New  Swimming Pool" - 2006 Camp Walk looking west
To find it, follow the Main Camp Road slightly past the Dinning Hall and look for a trail on your right.
You will pass the foundations for the drinking water pump house.  
The drinking water did not come from the swimming area but by pipe from the dam further up on Tom's Run.
The remains of the incinerator ramp is to the north east of the pump house directly behind the dinning hall.



 Upper Camp
The Upper Camp
             Chapel - Knox - Witherspoon - Crafts Building - Flag Pole and the "White House" circa 1959-61
The "Star" would be in the patch of grass by the girls left hand.
Zwingli, Witherspoon, Knox, Calvin, and Calvin Annex were the names of the church camp barracks.
See Dave Robinson's description of the camp below

Michaux Lodge
Michaux Lodge at the entrance to the camp.
This was the interrogation center for the POW camp.
Prisoners would be brought into the garage in a blacked out van so they had no idea where they were.
This is the only photograph of the Lodge that I have seen.  See about the fire that destroyed it below.

"The staff would store all the bed mattresses upstairs for the winter.   In the spring, before the "camps" showed up, we would park the old white bread truck (see photos below) at the base of those outside wooden stairs and throw the matrices off the landing, and load up the truck.  Then take those matrices around to the barracks.   Of course, at the end of the summer the staff would store those mattresses upstairs of Michaux Lodge."   --    Gary Fisher "staff 1968-1969"

Newspaper report:    Built in 1933.  After a weekend retreat, on Monday, March 2, 1970,  an oil valve stuck open on the heater in Michaux Lodge. (The POW interrogation building just inside the current gate on the main camp road.)   The oil flooded the floor which caught fire and destroyed the lodge.   The lodge was the only heated building where winter programs could take place.  The church people wanted to rebuild the lodge but they did not want to put any money into it unless the State Forest people would renew the lease.   For some reason, the State Forest people wanted the camp out of the forest so they would not renew the lease. The church groups owned a tract of land on the west side of the forest that they offered to exchange for the camp land but the forest service would not except the offer.   The camp was officially closed after the 1972 season but people seem to remember groups still using it until the building were bulldozed.

Calvin for the boys was on the north side of the main camp road.

Zwingly for the girls
Zwingly for the girls was on the south side of the main camp road.
The above three slides were taken between 1955 and 1958 by John Diering of MD.

The Last Days
Fondations of Chapel
Chapel in 1970
Looking east to the "White House" (now painted brown) and the flag pole in the background.
    The Chapel was in poor shape and was torn down and the foundation blocks removed in 1970.  This means that the southern most foundation blocks remaining are from "Knox".  At the time of this picture, the "White House" storage building was painted brown.  A picture from the same series shows that the Administrative Building between the Mess Hall and the Rec Hall had been also removed previously and was just a patch of grass before the camp closed.

Historic Dates

CCC Camp      1933 - 1941
POW camp established      Dec.   1942
Operational 20 May   1943
Declared surplus 20 Nov.   1945
POW Lease Terminated 14 Jan.    1946
Leased to UP/UCC Churches   1 July    1947
Lease terminated 31  Dec.  1972

Etchings from the Past
Bridge and Dam
- From Frank Hartman

Bridge over Toms Run Prisoner's writing
Michaux Road bridge over Tom's Run just before camp entrance has writing by a prisoner and guard.
25. 5.   Prisoner of war ?????
1945      31 G 25 ? 205         
Lt. Momberg???????

    I sent you a copy of my rubbing of the inscription on the Tom's Run - Michaux Road bridge, last spring.   I have just made a rubbing of the numbers on the left side . They record a date in the European format, 25.5.1945. The inscribed date on the Drinking Water Dam is in the same format, PW 22.5.45.   They are three days apart.

    I have some information on the inscription: my first informant, Sfc. (ret.) Eugene Johnson (Past Commander of VFW Post) tells me that the P.H. abbreviation (Purple Heart), although common on grave monuments, is not otherwise used as it would be by English military. I suggest that because the war in Europe had been over a month and both prisoners and guards knew they would soon be departing, they both wished to record their names. Lieutenant Momenem would not wish to be thought a career domestic military policeman like his commandant, Captain Thomas, and used P.H. to indicate that he was one of the returning combat veterans, reassigned to POW guard duty.

    My second informant, Sfc. (ret.) Riccardo Vargas, (on special assignment to ROTC, Scotland School), tells me that A.H. and B.H.C. designate the A and B sections of the Headquarters Company and that this abbreviation is standard.     Also, Prisoner of War Miraremaus' number should begin 31G and not 31S because 31G is the Pine Grove code number.

Camp water source on Toms Run
The dated inscription is on the wall in the foreground

POW  inscription
"PW  22.   5.   45"   (May 22 1945)

Photo - Chris Champion taken on 2010 Camp Walk
Water Supply Dam
Water Supply Dam on Toms Run viewed from the other direction
The person in blue at the top behind the tree is standing by the inscription

A Bridge to Nowhere

Youtz-Bridge-1     Youtz-Bridge-1

Vince Montano  April, 2013

Saturday after camp cleanup day I wandered peacefully through the camp and made a new discovery. At least it is for me. I have never heard it mentioned before. Hidden in the trees under pine needles and leaves is a concrete footbridge with the name Youtz-Bridge embedded along the top with stones.

In "The History of Camp Michaux", written circa 1964 by Helen Louise McAdoo, a student at Carlisle High School, she writes that "German words and names are embedded in concrete steps and bridges that the war prisoners constructed throughout the camp."
I have always been intrigued by her plural use of the word bridges, since the only bridge we know about is the one over Tom's Run on Michaux Rd.

Some checking on the name Youtz reveals it to be an americanized spelling of the name Jutz, of german origin. It might be a long-shot, but wouldn't it be something if that name appears in the registry of prisoners?

To find the footbridge, follow the trail behind the CCC Education Building and across the bathhouse. Step off the bathhouse, leave the trail and continue southwest toward Tom's Run. The footbridge is in the woods and is not over water. Clearing it off revealed no other names.

Enjoy the find!
Vince Montano


The Old Farm House - Deer Lodge
Farm House - Deer Lodge

From: Vince Montano -  Nov 2009
    The Old Gardner Farm House is located north of where the AT meets the parking lot - #3 on the map key above. The story is that the surviving concrete structure is an POW camp porch addition to the original farmhouse. A man named Clark Eckenrode lived in what was called Deer Lodge during the church camp years and worked for Bill Hockley maintaining the grounds.  Another picture.

    There are names on the far left and the far right columns. Unfortunately the top of the left column is crumbled away and you can see only the last few letters of two end with "che" and "rlin".


On the right column we found an intact, full German name! "Erich John Berlin"! As far as I know, this is the only full German name that's ever been found intact in the camp. It's possible that the "rlin" on the left column may also belong to Erich. The letter "r" is certainly written in a similar way.

March 2010
This weekend Rich Beistline and I located and uncovered the steel and concrete center gate post fixture to the inner gate entrance of Compound #1. It's exciting to think that thousands of German POWs walked over this fixture, marking their final step into captivity at the camp.

Secong Gate Latch

To find the fixture, walk 42 feet north from the first post fixture and the find is in front of a pine tree. It's aligned perfectly with it's twin at the first gate. The steel fixture is chipped and the concrete cracked. Someone, assumingly from the church camp, wanted this out of the ground, realized the futility of trying and covered it with stones, some in our photo.

We also discovered a fascinating mystery: the concrete to which the fixture is attached forms an immense underground wall 20 inches thick and 9 and 1/2 feet long. It extends out beyond the right of the photo where I am kneeling. We marked the spot. When we examined the concrete at the first post fixture, it appears to be similarly designed. My opinion is that these may have been placed to prevent prisoners from tunneling under the gates.

Secong Gate Latch Location

I'd welcome and appreciate any insights and input   on the military purpose of such immense and hidden structures. Who would have guessed this was under there. Certainly interesting.

Army & Early Church Camp Flag Pole
Base of the Army Church Camp Flag Pole

Uncovered in May, 2009 by Vince Montano and Rich Beistline
It is just off the Main Camp Road south west of the CCC fountain.  
It will shortly be recovered with water and mud.

It was a muddy mess... with all the rain we've had, the ground was saturated and water kept filling the dig. You can see the remains of the flagpole, which was actually a tree trunk, as seen in POW-era photographs."

4/2/2011  I followed a hunch I've had since November about a floor in the Non-Comm Officers cabin.  We discovered the floor in great shape, obviously the bathroom with toilet on the east side, bathtub on the other and sink drain.  In a forest setting that's almost completely monotone brown, it's really quite a sight to see the bright colors of red, white, light blue, and yellow jumping out at you. A vivid reminder of the life that was here.   Any ideas from anyone on how old (or how new) the floor might be? It looks 50's or 60's to me, but that's only a guess.

Historic pictures below are from my faded 1959-61 slides.  
Not many people were using slide film back then but it was cheaper than color prints.  
Even so, color was expensive for a high school student so I used some cheep ANSCO film which has faded.  
Scanned to digital images 2001 / 2002.   
    I have about 60 full screen images of my slides plus many other pictures on a CD.
          I would be glad to send at no charge to anyone who is interested.

          Third Service Corps Marker in 1961.
Anne Lee Bain

     Located on the north side of the main camp road about 150' from the entrance gate.  It seems to have been constructed at the end of the POW era since it lists the date the POW camp was closed and contains the emblem of "The Third Service Corps" which ran the camp.  The squares may have been just decoration or once contained other emblems that have been removed. 

  POW Marker Today
The Third Service Corps Marker in 2002

   The marker is now one of the few identifiable remnants.    Note that the shrubs are now trees and the marker has sunken into the ground!  In a few years it to will probably be totally overgrown. 
  Map Key 7a

  Inside of the Chapel

   Showing construction details of the barracks.  Choir practice was held here and the director taught us to sing "Let Us Break Bread Together" as 'When I fall on my face with my knees to the rising sun' - which is impossible to unlearn!  Due to decay, the Chapel was torn down about 1970 and their are no remains.

1960 Postcard of Chapel

   Looking south towards dinning hall.  The Chapel was one of the CCC and POW barracks but had new siding and entrance added.   The height of the trees can help establish the relative dates of pictures of Chapel pictures.

    Swimming Pool
The Swimming pool in 2003

    The diving board mounts at the end of the swimming pool that is now a swampy pond.  It is one of the largest remaining features but the hardest to find!  The remains of the pump and filters can be found under the pool deck.

Looking NE to the bath house and  cabins in 1961

     The "Pavilion" and "The Steps to Nowhere" are out of the picture to the left.  The chapel is the building in the right background.  Pool was completed in 1954.

  Michaux Pool 2002
     Visitors on the 2002 CCHS Historical Walk standing on the pool deck showing the diving board mounts on the left.

Vesper Hill 1960
   Vesper Hill looking south. 
   It is up the hill from the barn. 
See the remains of Vesper Hill

CCC Fountain

CCC Fountain
The CCC Fountain is remarkably preserved.
What looks like lumps of blue glass is slag from the Pine Grove Iron Furnace.

   From the upper service road at the site of the first CCC cabin looking towards the Fountain.  The rows of trees planted by the Army can be clearly seen in the aerial photograph above.    
The CCC paths were relocated by the Army.

           CCC Flag pole
     In the center of the path, directly above the fountain you can find the concrete 'arrow' pointing north that was the base for the CCC flag pole with a lightning arrester wire still visible. 

    A 2009 "walker" says that he checked the direction and it is dead on to true north.  Magnetic compasses have a 10 deg. declination at the camp.
   Follow the path between the trees and you can find the stones that once lined it.   These stones were at one time painted white and the trees were just seedlings. 
    To the east of the fountain you can find the "L" shaped foundations of the infirmary.
   The church camp bell tower was located just west of the fountain.     This photo from

      Star on Parade Ground

   If you stand at the fountain and walk up into the clearing to the NW (see picture above), you can still find the "star" down the hill from the flag poll.   There is a small hole in the center of the star but not big enough for a flag pole.  No one know what it was for.  Walk to the west to find the footers for the upper barracks.  Past the barracks, the pool is down the hill.  Up the hill is the "Pavilion" floor, the "Steps to Nowhere" and the Upper Service road.

Building Remains
   All that is left of the buildings are the cement support posts and the bathroom floors and pipes.   

Looking north-west from main road.   You can still locate the remains of three guard towers which will be four concrete blocks about 8' apart.  One is located near the fountain and the other further up the hill near the service road.

Fountain in CCC Camp
Looking south from CCC flag pole to the Fountain during the CCC period of the camp.  The wall around the fountain looks much smaller than in later pictures.

Steps to No Where
"Steps to Nowhere"

   The steps where the group photos were taken can be found between the Pavilion floor and the Upper Service Road.   They are so overgrown that they are easy to miss.    The are just below the sign for the sign for the NWRF nursery north of the upper service road..

          Old Stone Barn in 1961 looking NE - My color slide.

     The wall still stands but was completely hidden by massive pine trees for many years!  The area was cleared by the PA DCNR in the spring of 2011   It is located just north of the AT as it cuts across from Michaux Road to Bunkerhill Road.

Old Barn 2002
Barn wall in 2001 hidden under the trees.

In 2009 the scrub has been cleared out and the trees trimmed but the wall is cracking and in danger of collapse.   The cleared area is rapidly being overgrown again. 

     Main camp road in front of Recreation Hall
Looking east from dinning hall.

     The chimney is connected to the old metal stove shown in the foreground of the adjacent picture.   Remains of the concrete basketball court can be found behind the Recreation Center.  




 The Recreation Hall
  The snack bar is at the far end.
"Pot bellied stove" in foreground connects to the chimney shown in left photo.

     Here on the walls were displayed the best examples of the POW artwork.  They were originally painted on the fiber board walls of the barracks and were removed and framed.  Many were landscapes from Germany but some were of American subjects.    The CCHS has acquired five of these paintings.   

Do you have any pictures?
They say it takes a minute to find a special person,
An hour to appreciate them, 
a day to love them,
and then an entire life to forget them.
Group Photo
Presbyterian State Wide Youth Leadership Conference 1961 Aug 2-27?
(Wrong dates since it was only a one week camp.)
This is my camp picture the last year I was there.  
I'll be glad to e-mail you a CD with all the group pictures I have collected.
If you have any group shots, please scan them and send them to me.

Steps to Nowhere 2003
"Steps to Nowhere"
Traditional site for taking camp pictures.
How they appeared in 2003 looking down from the Upper Service Road

1935 HahnFire Drill
"The 1935 Hahn served Camp Michaux until it was sold to a private collector and restored.
Today it resides in the Pennsylvania Fire Museum in Harrisburg,
still with the Union Fire Company name on the apparatus."

There was a pump house to the left of the "new" pool as you faced it from the dining hall.  It was between the pool and the incinerator and the new office building.  It had an inlet in the pool and was used only for pumping water through the fire fighting system. The building housed a pump with a 6 cylinder car motor that I can remember Bill Hockley firing up when we did fire drills.  We accused him of goosing the pressure up on the pump to see how many of us crew members he could knock over as we held the fire hose. We used to enjoy those fire drills as it gave us a chance to take the old fire engine out for a spin.  Sometimes we got halfway to Caledonia since we wanted to make sure the battery got a good charge. And of course we had to make sure the siren still worked.
  Dave Robinson

             Former Pastor Thomas Darr of the Angel of Joy Lutheran Church 
                           Transfiguration Sunday March 2, 2003  Title: "My Chosen, Listen to Him!"
     "When I was a teenager, I was a camp counselor at Camp Michaux in Gardners, Pa. To this very day, when I think of the camp’s name, I get wonderful thoughts about my experiences there. For Michaux was the place where many of us had “mountain top experiences,” just like Moses, Elijah and the disciples in our Gospel lesson for today.
     Mountain top experiences are so real that you can almost see God, you can almost touch him. They are special, out of the ordinary experiences with the Creator of the universe that will transform and transfigure you. They are the kind of experiences you take with you down into the valley of life. Such wonderful moments that show us where we’ve been , who we are, and where we are going. Listen to Him!...

 Rev. Dick Sigler
1926 - September 2013
Rev. Dick Sigler debates with Youth Leadership Conference campers in 1961

     One of the most admired leaders at the Synod of the Trinity's Youth Leadership Conference in 1961 was Rev. Richard E. (Dick) Sigler.    One night at dinner in the mess hall he announced that, "The United States is without a president!"  Then to dead silence, he continued, "President Eisenhower has just left for a conference in Europe."  I think that was the last time he tried that bit of humor.
     He was at the Carlisle Presbyterian Church when the camp closed.  His recollection is that the state had only leased the camp land and would not sell it or exchange it for other forest lands.  Apparently, they did not want the camp in the state forest so they would not renew the lease.  I had dinner with him occasionally until he moved back to the Harrisburg area.  His wife had also been a camp counselor at Michaux and they recently took a return visit.
    I knew Rev. Silger since I was six or seven in the late 1940s. He did his ministerial internship under my father, Rev. L. E. Schaeffer, at the Homewood Presbyterian church in Pittsburgh and was a frequent guest at our house.
    Another conference leader was Dr. William Orr. He was a good friend of my father and had been his favorite seminary professor of Greek and New Testament Theology at Western Theological Seminary. 

     One of Dr. Orr's favorite stories about himself was that after conducting a service one Sunday, a lady met him at the church door and exclaimed, "That was a lovely reading of the New Testament scripture, what translation were you using?"   To which Dr. replied, "Madam, that was my translation!   I was reading from the original Greek!"

    My favorite story about Dr. Orr was told by Mrs. Orr.  As a prank, his seminary students signed him up for a visit by the Seventh Day Adventists.  They knocked at his door one Sunday afternoon and he graciously invited them in.  For two hours he listened intently to their spiel and asked such wonderful questions that they were sure they had a new convert.  When they concluded and excused themselves to leave, he said, "Wait! Now it's my turn!" and for the next two hours he refuted every point of their presentation with Biblical references while his wife was in tears restraining her laughter in the kitchen.  

Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers
Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers  --  1928 - 2003
My picture of his first out-of-studio remote production that I helped arrange at Churchill High School.
See the video from the show

      Dr. William Orr was one of my father's favorite teachers at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a generation later the favorite teacher of Fred Rogers.   Fred asked Dr. Orr, ‘What is that one little word that will fell the prince of darkness, the word that will strike down evil?’ After a few quiet seconds, Dr. Orr replied: ‘One little word: forgive - Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’ He went on, "You know, Fred, there is only one thing evil cannot stand, and that is forgiveness."   

      My uncle, Rev. G. Mason Cochran,  was Mr. Rodgers homiletics professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  One day he called Fred into his office and told him, "Fred, no Presbyterian congregation will ever give you a call!"   He convinced Fred that his ordination should be to minister to children through the medium of television.    

    Another favorite leader of mine was Rev. A. Vanlier Hunter who became a theologian at The Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies.  They have posted his essay on-line  'The dead in Christ will rise first for there's no one deader than a Presbyterian!." 

    Rev. Bill Southerland, currently the Parish Associate at Beulah Presbyterian Church, remembers that in the late 60's every time there was a storm, the electricity would fail and the camp emergence generator would stumble to life for a few minutes before dying.

Lee Schaeffer - Web Master

1954 Schedule
Camp Michaux




One mile off State Highway 233 between Caledonia and Pine Grove Furnace, Cumberland County. From Carlisle take Route 34 and turn right at Hunters Run on 233.

In the heart of beautiful Michaux State Forest on the Appalachian and Sunset Trails. 30 minutes drive from Gettysburg, Chambersburg or Carlisle. See map below.



The whole property is conservatively valued at a half million dollars. During the past five years $80,000 has been invested in Camp Michaux to make it an effective place for a church camping program. Much has been accomplished in the care, maintenance, and improvement of Camp Michaux through a share the work program in Work Camps. Young people and adults have been doing manual work as a Christian service. A limited number of adults may vacation in Camp Michaux during the regular camping period by exchanging specified work for food and shelter. Ministers and laymen serve voluntarily on the Board of Directors without compensation. This is the Michaux plan for less than cost budgeting. Camp Michaux is available for the use of responsible groups by the day or overnight from April 15 to June 1 and from September 13 to November 15. Anyone interested in reservations must write Hugh Castles, 290 East Pomfret Street, Carlisle, Pa. (Telephone 1654).

R. D. No. 2
Gardners, Pa.
Phone: Mt. Holly Springs 904-R-5

Please do not throw me away
Give me to a friend
I want him for a friend too

Camp Michaux
Flag Pole


Thirty-five acres of beautifully landscaped forest land. Evergreen trees border the paths connecting the buildings which consist of staff lodges, campers lodges, (sleeping quarters for five hundred persons), recreation halls, chapel, headquarters and office, infirmary, camp store, craft shop, toilets and bath houses (with hot and cold running water). All buildings are equipped with electric lights and heating facilities. Out doors are found vesper hall (outdoor chapel), beautiful swimming pool, athletic field, hiking trails, camp fire sites, picnic grounds (with fireplaces), volleyball and badminton. A private reservoir (with extra pumps for fire fighting purposes), and a sanitary sewage disposal plant provide for the safety and sanitation of the camp. There is also fine drinking water.

For the health and safety of campers a new concrete swimming pool is under construction and will be ready for use by June I. It has been designed by competent engineers and will be under Red Cross Life Saving supervision.

Vesper Hill


Because young people living together in this beautiful mountain retreat far from the usual distractions of ordinary everyday life, are rediscovering God and learning anew his teachings. Because trained ministers and teachers with a definite planned program are giving young people a real taste of Christian living, sharing, learning. cooperating and playing. No young person can be exposed to the atmosphere of Camp Michaux without feeling that he or she is a better boy or girl for having been there. 


Through the vision and untiring efforts of a few ministers and laymen who were faced with the great need for Christian youth training. These men worked to acquire and equip the camp grounds which they have called Michaux.

Through the cooperation and work of many young people who enthusiastically accepted Michaux as their camp and conference ground.

Through the interest, approval and giving of Christian people in the churches and through the foresight of the denominational bodies concerned, Camp Michaux is today a living reality.

CampMichaux-2 )
Dining Hall and Flag Pole
(Note how small the trees are.)

Through the organization of a board of directors of Michaux, this camp is set up for continued and permanent operation. They have acquired a ten year lease from the State, and employ an all year round caretaker. An efficient management system has been set up and operates on a budget of approximately $20,000 annually.



The Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church share equally in the maintenance and the use of Michaux. It is a nonprofit corporation operated jointly by the two denominations. The cost of operation is therefore lower than any other camp or conference in Pennsylvania having the same facilities.

Camp No. 1 July 4-10 Junior
Camp No. 2 July 11-17 Junior
Camp No. 3 July 18-24 Junior
Camp No. 4 July 25-31 Junior
Camp No. 5 August 1-7 Junior
Camp No. 6 July 4-10 Senior High
Camp No. 7 July 11-17 Junior High
Camp No. 8 July 18-31 Junior High
Camp No. 9 August 1-7 Junior High
Camp No. 10 September 3-6 Labor Day Weekend Workshop
Evangelical and Reformed registration cards to be sent to the Director of Camping: Rev. Albert C. Robinson 511 Pacific Avenue, York, Penna.

Camp I Carlisle Senior High
June 14-20
Registrar: Miss Miriam McMiIlen. 1911 North Second Street. Harrisburg. Pa.

Camp II Carlisle Junior High
June 21-27
Registrar: Miss Miriam McMiIlen. 1911 North Second Street,Harrisburg, Pa.

Camp Ill Northumberland Junior High June 21-27
Registrar: Rev. Thomas Wood, 603 Main St.. Watsontown, Pa.

Camp IV Chester Senior High Conference
June 28-July 4
Registrar: Mrs. William Turner, R. D., Embreeville, Pa.

Camp V Donegal Senior High Conference
June 28-July
4 Registrar: Rev. Francis Scott, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Pa.

Camp VI Chester Junior High
June 28-July 4
(Includes Juniors from Synod of Baltimore) Registrar: Mrs. William Turner. R. D., Embreeville, Pa. Baltimore Registrar: Rev. Robert McKibben. 808 Park Avenue. Baltimore I, Md.

Camp VII Carlisle (And Area) Junior August 9.15
Registrar: Miss Miriam McMillen, 1911 North Second Street. Harrisburg, Pa.

Camp VIII Carlisle Junior High August 16-22
Registrar: Miss Miriam McMillen, 1911 North Second Street, Harrisburg, Pa.

Camp IX Donegal Junior High August 16-22
Registrar: Rev. Francis Scott, First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Pa.

Camp X Synod and Presbytery W. F. Officers August 22-28 Registrar: Miss Elizabeth Atticks, 202 Payne-Shoemaker Building. Harrisburg, Pa,

The brochure was reproduced from a copy that was sent to me by J. G. - Oct 2003

 Rejoice And Sing   Rejoice And Sing Index
My copy!
Published by Cooperative Recreation Service
which is now World Around Songs   --  History

Camp Michaux Reunion
Saturday June 19, 2004.

Hosted by: Gary Fisher (Squirrel)  [email protected]
Former Staff at the Reunion
1960-1970 Camp Staff at the Reunion
Russ Weer - Garry Fisher- Donna (Cohick) Weer - David Schoonover - Dave & Sue Robinson - Cheryl (Schoonover) Tritt

Also present was Lisa John, who at the time was a state park ranger working on a brochure and walking trail of the camp.  
The park office had a great collection of photographs from the CCC and POW eras but I believe they have been transferred to the PA State Archives. 

CCC Flag Pole CCC Flag Pole Fountain

We were able to locate the base of the CCC flag pole which is an "arrow" pointing true north with a lightning rod grounding cable still visible.  It can be found directly above the fountain in the middle of the parallel row of pine trees.  The shadow of the CCC flagpole in the center photo marks it's location.  Note the path that runs to the log cabin that would later become the POW guard house.  The paths were all rerouted for the POW camp.  The path was relocated to run to the other log cabin by the upper gate off Michaux Road.  This is were the trail of pine trees now stands.  Study the pictures of the CCC and POW camp above to see the differences.

The photo of the fountain was taken from the CCC flag pole looking south.
The photo of the CCC flag pole was taken from the fountain looking north.

The fountain in this picture seems to have a lower wall that it does today.  It must have be rebuilt at some later date..
I have the entire collection of these and many personal photos provided by the people at the reunion available on a CD. Just send me your name and address!

Remain of Cabins
Remains of the Buildings
The weather was dry enough to locate several piles of lumber at the end of the lower service road near where the path crosses Tom's Run on the south west corner of the camp grounds.  Just past this area is a clearing that is believed to be one of the "frontier camp" tent camping areas.

2006 Camp Michaux Walk
November 18, 2006
Lee Schaeffer
John Bland's 2006 Walk Dave Smith's 2006 Walk
John Paul Bland's Morning Group              Dave Smith's Afternoon Group               

After a weeks of rain, today’s weather forecast looked favorable enough to risk the 350 mile round trip for another Camp Michaux Walk sponsored by the Cumberland County Historical Society.  This year in addition to Dave Smith we had the pleasure of having John Paul Bland as a leader.

John is the author of the new book "Secret War at Home."   The book was officially introduced this past Wednesday to a large crowd at the CCHS in Carisle. I’ve only had a short time to skim the contents but it looks like a fascinating read. The footnotes and bibliography indicate that he has done a tremendous amount of research. While devoted primarily to the POW era, the book will be of interest to the church campers because it shows how the camp evolved from the CCC and POW occupations into the church camp.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the book contained seven slides from 1959 to 1961 and two paintings that I copied at the UCC Hartman Center camp. The pictures lost something in the conversion to black and white half-tones.  However, you can see them in color on the my Web pages or in high resolution on my CD of camp photographs.
If you order a copy of the book, my pictures can be found on the following pages: 

  • 13BR - Old Barn 1961
  • 48L    - Painting Taken At Hartman Center
  • 75T    - Camp Sign 1961     
  • 75B    - Cars as campers left camp in 1961
  • 76BL - Swimming pool 1961
  • 77T    - Rec Hall 1961
  • 77C    - Volleyball Court 59/60    
  • 76BL - Vesper Hill 59/60
  • 80L    - Painting Hartman Center

The Walks were divided into two groups with Dave and John as the leaders. I arrived just in time for the 10 AM walk and joined Dave to get his perspective primarily on the POW era. After a quick lunch, I joined Dave for his 1 PM walk. I would guess there were over 50 people in attendance for the two walks.

Every year, Dave has more material and a deeper understanding of the history. One myth dispelled this year was that near the end of the war the Japanese prisoners were held in the small compound between Michaux Road and the Old Barn. The army constructed a fence through the middle of the camp from approximately the Steps To Nowhere down to the Staff Mess Hall. Several barracks were constructed on the western side of the prisoner’s compound. The two barracks by the Pavilion were retained by the church camp. The buildings in the are of the New Swimming Pool were probably in poor shape and torn down before the church camp opened.

Gate Latch 2006
One recent discovery was the concrete block and an iron post hole that secured the gate to the prisoners compound. It can bee seen to the left of the CCC Fountain.

Post Card from Late 50s    Chapel Pines
Pine trees in front of the chapel in 1957? post card.   The pine tree in 2006.                  

POW Painting    Yacca Plants 2006
Yucca Plants in POW Painting and in fall of 2006

It is interesting to note that two of the most obvious remains are the sewage treatment plant and the ramp to the incinerator just south of the Mess Hall. The origins of the Star by the CCC Fountain is still a mystery but because it uses the same blue slag as the Fountain leads one to believe that it was from the CCC days.

We have been led to believe that the official closure of the church camp was in 1972 when the lease was terminated. However there were two former campers on the walk who were positive that they were at UCC camps in 1974 and 1975. As usual each visit to the camp raises more questions to be researched.

Every time I have revisited visited the camp I have had a "quest" to fulfill. One the first visit, the goal was just to locate the camp! The last visit’s goal was to explore the Lower Camp Road and locate the remains of the buildings and the area where the Pioneer Camp tents were erected.   By this visit my list had narrowed to a few final items:

Pool Deck 2006 Pump and Filter Room
One adventure was crawling under the pool deck to inspect the remains of the "filter and pump room".
I was inspired to do this by pictures in the photo album at  www.ThePropers.coms.
The drain pipe from the pump room must still be functioning or it would be filled with water!  

Under Loading Dock
Lumber under the Dinning Hall Loading Dock at the end of the main camp road.

Another was to explore under the Mess Hall loading dock. On the side away from the Main Camp Road and you can see a cache of the hall’s building materials. 

I also finally found the Michaux Nostalgia GeoCash created by 'Possum'.  My Garmin GPS had me looking under the wrong rock on previous visits!

After the afternoon walk concluded, I went on my final longstanding quest to locate the remains of Vesper Hill.  The path the campers took between the Old Barn and the 'Lone Pine' is heavily overgrown but this was a perfect fall day to search for a better route.

Gardner House
Porch of the Gardner Farm House north of where the parking lot meets the Appalachian trail.
There are names written on top of the cement columns.

Past the parking area on Bunker Hill Road is the intersection with the Appalachian Trail.  Map key #3.   Just past the "blaze" mark for the trail, there is a path up the hill to the porch foundations of the Gardner Farm House. Walk around the foundation, past a large pine tree and climb a little to the right..

  Vesper Hll 1960     Vesper Hill 2006
                                                             Vesper Hill 1960                             Vesper Hill in 2006 showing The Old Barn hidden behind the trees   

A forest of tall trees stood above Vesper Hill. But today, it is difficult to tell the old growth trees from the new ones that have reclaimed the land. When you look to the south west, you can just make out the Old Barn.  Behind the biggest tree in the picture above.

Standing Bench Post
About 50 yards up the hill are log bench posts scattered in the underbrush...

Remaining Bench
...and finally the remains of one lone bench the bulldozer spared.

At the end of my quest, the sun was setting over "Big Hill" in the distance, my camera’s memory card was full and the batteries were dead.  A good time to go home…

My next quest is to find the remains of the two camp water tanks.  One is located in the area of the bird sanctuary and the other may be on the north side of Michaux Road above the camp.


Feedback to the Web Master

   "Just to let you know Lee I will soon be sending you a bunch of group pictures from when I was a camper in the 60's  and a staff person in '71 & '72. I absolutely love your site...thanks so much for keeping Camp Michaux alive!"
Ed Bricker Sept., 2009 
Ed sent me about 30 Meg of camper pictures, Thanks!


     I like many of the others, have stumbled across this site while researching the Appalachian Trail's route through the area. I attended the Dover United Church of Christ.  I don't know what caused me to do a search on Camp Michaux at this point in time, but I was looking at Calendonia State Park, then Michaux State Forest. I am so glad I did find you.

    I was a camper there in the middle Sixties, I am thinking 1965 or 66, staying in the barracks up the hill and then a two or three years later ( 67 or 68) in the "pioneer" area under canvas.  I don't remember a lot of details about the barracks, other than being fascinated by some of the names and such carved into the superstructure of the building, eating in the mess hall, with as some else mentioned, the "bottomless" milk dispensers. I also remember one craft in particular, where we embedded flowers in what I guess was an acrylic plastic of some sort in a paper tray.   I too remember the singing, vespers, and preparing small gathering areas in the woods, complete with rock lined walkways and dirt swept clean by tree branches. The Pioneer camping was different. I remember the names of two of the young adults that were our chaperones, Bill Metzger and girl named Connie. That year we dug a pit and roasted a whole suckling pig for the meal on Thursday, if memory serves me correctly. I also remember our band of campers walking through the woods one day and an individual stepped on a downed tree trunk instead of over it and stirred up a huge air force of hornets which promptly attacked everyone in our group. Then came the walk back to the infirmary with numerous stings, all of us "hurting puppies".

     It's a darn shame that the Churches let this site go. I've been to the Hartman Center and occasionally pass by there on trips to northern PA. It didn't have half the character that Michaux had. I will make it back to Michaux before I die just to see what I can recognize and remember. I do have a question. I remember a rectangular one story building, east of camp cover in tar paper with a couple of windows and a door next to a gravel road. That interesting thing was that someone had used a stencil of a "playboy" bunny head and painted a white "bunny" next to the door. Does anyone remember ever seeing such a thing in their travels around camp?

To answer this question, the barrack was named "Trail Lodge", it housed the male staff. It was located in front of the old barn wall along the AT. The life guards, and work crew stayed there. In the center of the barrack was the "common" room, with single crew quarters off both sides.   --    Gary Fisher, staff 68, 69
Jonathan P. Bigony  -  Bowie, MD   Sept 2009

Dear Lee,
Gary Fisher sent me your letter to him dated 11/22/06 regarding the old swimming hole and other features of Camp  Michaux He thought since I am considerably older than he that I might have some recollections. So here goes.

Your surmise about the picture of the "old swimming hole" is correct. As I recall, the churches enlarged the pool, put  in a sand bottom, sluiceways to channel in the water, concrete walls and a diving board sometime in the very early  1950's. The sluiceways formed a "Y" with Tom's Run about 100 yards upstream from the pool. One sluice channeled the Run and emptied back in to the stream bed below the spillway of the dam. The other sluice entered the pool at the side opposite the dam up toward the road. There were slots in the walls of the base of the "Y" so boards could be put in to control how much water went up each arm .You can see these sluices in the photo of the "new' pool.

I can remember going to Michaux with my Dad when he was director of camping for the Mercersburg Synod of the E & R church in the late 40's and early 50's. I seem to recall the old pool . By the time I was a camper in 1953, I believe we used the "new" pool. This is all from memory which is subject to failure as I get older but those are my impressions. There might be a way to check all this out. At the time, capital improvements to Michaux were not part of the operating budget for the camp and were paid for by the judicatories involved. If the records still exist, they might be found by contacting either the Carlisle Presbytery or Penn Central Conference of the UCC (at that time Mercersburg Synod of the Evangelical and Reformed Church) to see if they have any record of capital expenditures in that time period.

I don't recall the pump house in the location it appears in the postcard picture. There was a pump house to the left of the "new" pool as you faced it from the dining hall. It was between the pool and the incinerator and new office building. As far as I can remember, it had an inlet in the pool and was used only for pumping water through the fire fighting system. The building housed a pump with a 6 cylinder car motor that I can remember Bill Hockley firing up when we did fire drills. We accused him of goosing the pressure up on the pump to see how many of us crew members he could knock over as we held the fire hose. By the way, we used to enjoy those fire drills as it gave us a chance to take the old fire engine out for a spin. Sometimes we got halfway to Caledonia since we wanted to make sure the battery got a good charge. And of course we had to make sure the siren still worked.

About the water supply, you are correct about it being at the upper dam on Tom's Creek. When I was there, there was an intake structure on the left hand side of the creek as you face the dam about 30 or 40 feet upstream from the dam. As I recall it, it was just a square concrete box about 2 or 3 feet on a side with openings in it to let the water in. I don't know when it was built. As I said, I don't remember where the pump house was since I was not involved with that part of the operation of the camp but I do remember the intake. It is quite possible the water supply pump was in the building with the fire pump and I just didn't pay any attention to it. As far as the tanks go, at the time I was working there from 1958 to 1970 there was only one water tank that I know of. It was located on the uphill side of Michaux
Road about 20 or so feet above the road. On the aerial map of the camp on your Website, it was about where the "p" in camp is in the title of the map.

I still enjoy visiting your web site to see if there is anything newt. Thank you for taking on this labor of love.
  Dave Robinson    -  New Windsor, MD  November   2006


Hello Lee!
     My name is Cindy Hockley, and I am the daughter of Wilmer and Connie Hockley. My father was the Superintendent of Camp Michaux from approximately 1953 to 1973, when the lease was dropped. My family, including my older brother, Raymond, lived in a house on-site, year round. I spent the first six years of my life at Camp Michaux.

     Some memories are fuzzy, and some are quite vivid. We had a bell along the sidewalk leading to our front door, and my Mom would lift me up every day to ring it at noon, for my Dad to come in for lunch. Dad maintained the grounds and buildings, and worked from dawn to dusk. I can remember feeding birds right out of the palm of my hand, and I can still see the black snakes slithering up the trunks of the trees that lined our yard. Summertime was the best time, and I remember helping Dad around the pool, and meeting kids of all ages. The camp was alive with people in the summer. Winter was a different story, as it was just my family and a few folks living in cabins who stayed to endure the chill.

     This past weekend, I drove up Michaux Road and walked all over the place, trying to reconstruct from a child's memory the way it was so long ago. Luckily, we have pictures and slides still in the family that help to keep that part of our lives distinct. My brother is much better at remembering the layout and the buildings, as he grew into adulthood living at Camp Michaux.

     After spending about two hours reminiscing and stumbling upon broken concrete, exposed water lines, and traces of sidewalks amidst the thick overgrowth of weeds and brush, I found the foundation of what I believe was the dining hall. At that moment, I felt better, knowing that there had indeed been bustling life there at one time, and I could almost smell the smoke of the campfires, hear the faint laughter of kids splashing in the pool and the melodious sound of the piano from the chapel dancing on the breeze. (I have a faint memory of sitting outside the chapel, the sunlight shining on my face, listening to someone (my Mother, perhaps ?) playing a piano.

     I have been distracted now for over 24-hours, and decided to surf the web for anything to do with Michaux Forest. To my overwhelming disbelief and joy, I found your web page. After perusing through the e-mails and pictures, I felt compelled to send you this e-mail. Did you ever meet my family? Did you ever speak to my father? Unfortunately, my father passed away in December 1995, and therefore cannot bring my memories into focus for me anymore. But, I am certain his spirit permeates that mountain and the little clearing that once was Camp Michaux.

     The Hockley's date back to the late 1700's in Pine Grove Furnace, and my father was born in a house no longer standing near the Furnace Stack at Fuller Lake. He was 48 years old in 1973 when we moved away, after giving much blood, sweat, and tears in a labor of love as the groundskeeper for the little church camp that gave so many people like yourself fond memories of summertime youth.

     I apologize for the melancholy tone of my e-mail, but your pictures and web page have meant a great deal to me today, for they have re-affirmed a brief time in my childhood that I will always carry with me. I have always somehow felt cheated that I did not grow up there as my brother did, and as many of the campers did, spending summer after summer among friends. I go back as much as I can, but time and neglect are making the place nearly indistinguishable. Thank you for your memories. I have truly enjoyed the trip back in time.
   Sincerely, Cindy Hockley, Sept. 1, 2003


     I want to tell you that I've been visiting, and revisiting your site about Camp Michaux... very well done and a definitely worth a look by anyone who ever had anything to do with Camp Michaux.

     Allow me to tell you how Camp Michaux became a part of my life. I'm one of a few nephews to Wilmer (Bill) & Constance (Connie) Hockley.   See letter above. Of course, that makes me a cousin to their 2 children Raymond (Andy) and Cindy. Connie is my Mother's sister. Bill, as you know, was the Caretaker/Groundskeeper at the camp and as mentioned on the web site, he and his family lived there year round in what used to be the old Infirmary/Hospital. In our family, Bill was also called Mort, and growing up it was always Uncle Mort and Aunt Connie... but I'm not sure where that came from.

And now a wee bit about me... Camp Michaux was very near and dear to me for many reasons. Mainly, that place created wonderful childhood/young adulthood memories that we all have and cherish as we get older. I spent many days/weeks over a period of many years at the Camp starting in the late 50's through the entire decade of the 60's and into the early 70's. As I neared graduation (I graduated High School in 1971) I sadly must say I spent less and less time there. In hindsight, that wouldn't have happened, but... being a teenager, I was into other things and my visits became fewer and fewer and further in-between. After graduation, I worked for a year and then joined the United States Navy. We were still in Vietnam and had I not joined the Navy, I would have been drafted into the Army. I spent the next 8 years serving and most of that was overseas in the Orient. When I finally got out of the Navy in 1980, the Camp had long been closed and the Hockley's had moved "out in the valley" to Walnut Bottom.

Some of the best times of my youth was spent at Camp Michaux, and it's heartbreaking to think about what was there and what is there now. That place will forever hold very fond memories for me. In my minds eye, I can still see the Camp as it was in it's glory days, and I can easily echo the thoughts of others as we ALL  remember the smells and the sights. I'm equally certain that anyone who ever been at the Camp and spent any time there can easily conjure up many good and fond memories of that place. We had countless family get-togethers and picnics there and spent numerous holidays there as well. It sure was a wonderful place and great time in our lives. I'd love to be able to turn the clock back and live through a few weeks there like it was back in the 1950's-60's... wouldn't that be wonderful! I just wish life was as simple now as it was then.

I've been back there off and on over the years (it's been a long time since the last visit) just like others who have migrated back there. The place seems to draw one near, regardless when you were there last or if you have never been back. It's sad to have viewed it during the heyday's, since I can easily and vividly remember so very well what it was like away back when, and look at it after it was closed down. But at the same time, I also feel lucky that I did see it when things were in full swing and thriving.

Our families were together there often, but 4 of us kids spent much time there together (me, Andy, and 2 other cousin's - Charles & Ronald Kunkleman). The Kunkleman's were Judy's boys and Judy was another sister of my Mother and Connie. So, after seeing your web site, the memory floodgates opened wide and it got the juices flowing again. I contact my Cousin's and the 4 of us are going back this Spring (2006) and we are going to make a day of it. I figured we ALL hold memories and we can key off one another's memories and that will make it easier for our minds eye to paint the pictures we will surely be remembering. Each and everyone of us is looking forward to this trip. In general, I know it will be a bittersweet journey for me and the Kunkleman's, but in particular it will be bittersweet for Andy who spent his entire youth there. I think it will return all of us to a "kinder, gentler time" if only for a few hours. I'm well aware that nothing, absolutely nothing is ever the same. One thing that is constant is change, and when we visit anyplace, the next day it has changed just a wee bit. Of course, that snowballs as the years go by. The Camp is no different. I think it's nice if one can reach back and visit childhood places where so much fun was had.

I've been scanning and retouching old photo's that I got from Aunt Connie and I want to do "then 'n' now" comparisons in pictures of the Camp and surrounding areas. I know Aunt Connie has many pictures that the regular campers/staff don't have because they lived there year round. I have a bunch of winter pictures that I came across and the Camp was beautiful even under a few feet of snow! My main interest is in photos that had buildings and open areas because that way I have a points of reference to take the "now" pictures from.

This will take me awhile to get this all together, but I'm going to do it. With that said, feel free to publish this on your web site with the others that have left comments. I was impressed and moved by the article and comments that my Cousin Cindy Hockley wrote back in 2003. She was a real young girl away-back-then, but even then, Camp Michaux left it's mark on her too. And that is, without a doubt, what Camp Michaux did to anyone who ever went there... it left it's mark and found a permanent home in each of our memories.

Best regards... Gunner (Mike Gross)  Feb 2006
P.S. Thanks again for all the work you have done on the web site. I hope it continues to grow and grow.

We did get over to Camp Michaux on April 1, 2006. I went back myself on the 10th as there were a few other pictures I wanted to take after I had a chance to get home from the first visit and think about what I had just seen. Unfortunately for us, Andy did not make the trip as he was ill. It was a huge disappointment for the rest of us, as his memory from living there so long is much better than any of ours. He certainly wants to go back, so we are already working on a return trip that will include him. Andy is really key to the whole thing and he can definitely cross the T's and dot the I's on everything there.

However, even without Andy, we really did do pretty good. Between my 2 Cousin's and myself we pieced together most of the Camp as we remembered it and I have been working on those photo's for weeks. I did show some of them to Andy and, like I figured he would, he immediately filled in all the details that we couldn't.  Looking at the pictures really got him "charged-up" and as soon as he gets a decent day when he is feeling well we are going back again. Once you make the journey back there, it becomes a "moth to the flame" thing as it draws you back, even though that journey is a bittersweet one. I have been constantly looking at the photos (old and new) over the past few weeks and it really brings it home the sadness that we had viewing the place now, and remembering what it was like then. I really appreciate the disk you sent as it has been very helpful in me piecing many things together. One thing for sure, it will not be too many more years before the mountain will have completely reclaimed most if not all of the Camp. In fact, if anyone goes there that was never there, they would not have a clue what had been there.

Gunner (Mike Gross)  April 2006

"If you can read this, you can thank a teacher. . . but FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, if you live in the U.S. and are reading it in English, you really SHOULD make it a point to THANK a Vet."

    I spent many happy summers at this church camp in the early sixties to mid sixties. I even spent a summer there as a counselor for the children who came there in the summer of 1970. I remember working with a wonderful guy, Rick Smiley that summer of 1970 and always wonder how he turned out.

    I too have a tee shirt and the banner! I still even have the song book. Yes, I fondly remember singing "The Ash Grove", "Henry the 8th I am, I am", and "Them bones gonna rise again".   I remember morning vespers - sitting under the trees listening to the birds sing and reflecting. I remember singing after every meal, hiking on the blue trail, walking next to the stream "Toms Run", learning to swim in the pool, playing four square and volleyball, and buying candy in the camp store!   I remember skit night and somebody always getting drenched with a bucket of water.

    I have pix of me standing there with my bunk buddies at the pool and in the dining hall. I have the collection of camp pictures of the whole weekly groups taken on the stone steps in the upper camp!

    Thanks for the info and the memories! It's like seems like ages ago to this "35 years teaching special education students" going to retire soon lady!   Thanks again!   You brought back wonderful memories and yes, a few tears about its sad ending. I truly enjoyed the site and what people wrote.
Becky - 2009

Many fond memories of Camp Michaux.
     I was a camper there July 19-31, 1948;   July 18-30, 1949 and July1950. 
These were the Senior High Camps from the E&R churches.
     I have the camp photos of the campers who attended with many "autographs". 
The truth be told, I met my future wife there in 1949...and after putting up with me for over 51 years....we still talk about "Camp".
    If anyone is interested, I would be pleased to send these photos.
They are long, rolled up kind; 28"x 8" for two of them. The other is 7"x10".
     It would be interesting to find anyone who attended Camp Michaux at that time. Please feel free to publish this and put our email address out there.

Edward L. Smith & Eva Eissmann Smith
Thomasville, NC   -  November 2006

E-mail:    (Replace the "-at-" with an @)



     It was very nice to meet you at the Camp Michaux walk last Saturday. My sister and I enjoyed it very much, though it was quite sad to see that all of the buildings are gone, the entire camp is overgrown, and the pools are nothing like they were.  John Bland's presentation of the POW history was very interesting, too.

     If you recall, my sister went to Michaux for eight years from 1956 through 1963, and I attended for three years, 1960, 1962, and 1963. I don't know if you saw the song book that she had along or not. Since then we raided my mother's house and we found song books from the other seven years she was there and three with my name on them. She also
located pictures that were taken at the junior camps she attended of all of the campers, like the ones I showed you of two of the years I was there.

     I am attaching scans of all of those pictures (see above), scans of the postcards we had along on the 18th and also scans of the front and back of a Red Cross swimming card that she got while at Michaux. The rear of the card has some signatures of people who approved it.

Thanks for your wonderful web site.
We've really enjoyed the memories that it has brought back.
C. B  November 2007


    Just checked back on your Camp Michaux site and see that there are a couple new messages from folks whose memories you have stirred!  I hadn't checked back on the site for some months and was afraid it would be "gone". So glad you still have it up and running.  Your site is fabulous and it was nice to see lots of familiar names and even faces on the various pictures.

    I worked on the staff during the summer of 1961. Among the other workers were Sally McElwain, Alice Rippon, DeDe Albright, Sharon Stabnau, Kip Bollinger, Russ Weer, the assistant cooks Kendy and Laurie, the lifeguards Fran and Craig, our boss, Mr. Baker, his right-hand man, Mr. Miller (and their children), Mrs. Kopenhaver (the nurse I believe), and I'd try to remember more of them, but I'm afraid I'll miss someone's name!

     I have my scrapbook and picture album from that summer and they are treasured items even now.   If you recall, I sent for your CD of pictures and my heart broke at how so much of the camp has "disappeared". I've read that given long enough Mother Nature reclaims her own and it's proof that she does.

   Thanks again for stirring up all those fond memories. Obviously some of the crew enjoyed their work enough to return again after 1961 because I saw some familiar faces in other group photos.   I hadn't checked back on the site for some months and was afraid it would

   I would be very pleased if you would include part of my message and my e-mail, so that if any of the former staff reads it, maybe they would contact me. 
sandybeach61 -at-   (Replace the "-at-" with an @)
Once the gals married and moved around, I lost track of them -- all except Alice. She and I have kept in touch over the years.

    It was a great place and a summer full of memories for me.
    Great site --- keep up the good work.
    Sandy Thomas Fisher
    Waynesboro, PA    March 2006


     John Beck in Camp Photo

 1.)   I enjoyed the memories on your site. I was a camper in the early 1950s (Steelton, PA Presbyterian Church) (Rev. John and wife Ruth Talbot) for several summers and then came back in the late 50s as a camp counselor for two summers before heading off to college (Mansfield University) and then teaching and coaching for 40 years. I loved the experiences of Camp Michaux, the friends, etc.   I still have the camp pictures of my groups when I was a camper and also of the counselors when I was a counselor. I also have a camp newspaper that was published one of the weeks I was a camper there. It was called the "Bugler". Camp Michaux was one of the truly good and inspirational experiences of my life.

2.)   What a coincidence! Yesterday my wife and I drove up to Camp Michaux to explore. (because of your Website, of course). It was the first visit for me in 47 years. The weather was great and we had a really good time. I found my way around quite easily. One never forgets. When we got home I found your CD in the mail waiting for me loaded with more pictures and history. On top of that, I found 2 pictures of me in your collection. In the "\Reunion\" folder, image 4118 (above) and I'm' #5 in the group of counselors third from the left with the crewcut.  In the camp picture, image 4122, I'm in the last row middle with the same crewcut.  So, yesterday was a double treat. It was "Camp Michaux Day" all around. I was a history teacher for 39 years and was the local historian for my towns of Steelton and Highspire, as well as having been at Camp Michaux for 4 years (2 as a camper and 2 as a counselor) this is all right down my alley. Thank you so much for the CD!!!
    Yours in history  - John Beck  April 2005

"Hi from Oregon!  I stayed in both Zwingli and Calvin Annex, the girls' barracks. The boys were housed in Calvin. Zwingli in the barracks to the right of the rec hall on your map. Calvin is the building directly across the road from Zwingli, and Calvin Annex is the smaller building to the left of Calvin. " Regards, M. H.


   I have just been let in on your great Camp Michaux site and have just begun to read it. It is great. I would like to comment on your section describing the location of various landmarks. In it, you surmise that the upper dam on Tom's run was the water reservoir. This is correct. At one time the water intake for the camp was very visible.
     I have a long history with Michaux beginning as a camper in the late 1940's. In fact, my dad is the Albert C. Robinson listed as director of Camping for the UCC church. Beginning in 1959 I was on the permanent staff of the camp as a work crew member and later as crew leader. In 1966 or 67 I took over from Gil Williar as camp manager with responsibility for hiring staff and running the camp. I had a lot of good help from a lot of people, most notably Russ Weer who was the assistant manager. A lot of the people mentioned in your site were hired by Russ and me, including Gary Fisher, Andy Rebert and Cheryl Schoonover. I was succeeded in 1971 by Carl Henry
    As I find time, I'll try to see what I have in the way of memorabilia and will send it as I find it. Again, it's a great site and I am enjoying reading it.
     I just got to the section asking about identifying the barracks of the church camp. Here goes:
As you entered the camp from Route 233 on the Michaux Road, the first  building you came to was a guard building on the left. This was just  before you crossed over Tom's Run. As you entered the camp an turned left on the hard road, the buildings were as follows: on the right was Michaux Lodge (marked intelligence building in one of the maps) which was used by the directors and staff of the lower camp as housing and gathering area. This was the only winterized building in the camp and it burned down I think sometime in the 60's but I'm not sure when.
     To the south of this building was the Caretaker's house where Wilber Hockley and his family lived. The next building on the right of the main road was Calvin, a boys dorm. The POW marker alluded to was in front of this building Next was the boys bath house which was slightly set back from Calvin and then came Calvin Annex which was half the size of the other barracks and was used for both boys and girls depending on the need. Next was the fountain which was slightly set back from the road and then there was a small building we called the Secretaries shack because the camp secretary kept her stuff there. Behind the shack was the footers of a guard tower. Then there was an open area and then the dining hall you mention.
     Across from Calvin on the left of the road was Zwingli, a girls dorm. Next, and slightly set back was the girl's bath house with a small room on the right end as you faced it that at one time was the nurse's station. It ceased to be used as such when the new office was built across from the dining hall. The next building on the left was the lower rec. hall which also housed the camp store and behind this was the basketball court. The next building on the left was the old administration building and it was used as such until the new office was built. At some time after that it was torn down. After the old administration building was the new office, then the incinerator then the fire pumping station then the pond.  The above buildings comprised what was known as the lower camp.
     Returning to the intersection of Michaux Road, if you turned right you were in the maintenance area. On the left were the gas pump and several garages. On the right was the maintenance shop. This road went on out to Vesper Hill and became the Appalachian Trail.
     If you go up Michaux road to the upper service road, the building on the right in front of the stone barn wall was Trail Lodge where the male permanent staff lived and beyond that at the base of Vesper Hill was Deer Lodge which was mostly unused although for a while it was home for Clark Eckenrode who was an assistant caretaker.
     As you turn left on the upper service road, the first log cabin was Hutch and housed the kitchen girls and at one time the camp manager. The next log cabin was Honeymoon and was where the cooks lived. Next was the upper rec. hall (this is listed as the dining hall on one of the maps.) What at one time would have been the kitchen was turned into the manager's quarters and the screened porch was part of those quarters.
   Next there were 4 barrack going down the hill. The top one was the crafts building, the second was Witherspoon, the third one was Knox and the bottom on was the chapel. Knox and Witherspoon were girls dorms (depended on which camp was in session). Next (to the east) was the Pavilion with the Bath House below it. Then came the Steps To Nowhere and then two barracks, 52 and below that 51. The service road then turned left and circled around to meet the main road at the dining hall.
     Not all the building listed above were all there at the same time as some were torn down. They were there in the late 50's and early 60's. The usage I describe are as they were used by the church camp.

        Dave Robinson    -  New Windsor, MD  May, 2004

              Camp Staff 1954
Junior Camp Staff 1954 - J. G Burke, Dave Robinson & Janet Greentree Photo
Row 1 L to R: Bunny Curran, Teenie ?, Rev Alcorn, Lois Kopelman, Jane ?
Row 2: Mrs. Miller, ---, Marlene ?, Betty Jane ?
Row 3; Sissy Smith, Rev Roy Snyder, Rev. Smith, Craig Smith, ---
Row 4: Dick Peret (from my church), Rev. Kenneth Snyder, Little John Bucher, Chuck Stein,

Camp Staff 1959
Permanent staff (work crew) 1959
Back row: Mr. Dick Adams, manager, Dave Robinson, Bob McCullough, Dean Young,
Dick(Tiny) Moyer, Jerry Derr, Jeff Smelser, Woody Wiley, Elly Long, Betty Kearns, Mrs. Cesna
Middle row: Jean Uhl, Marlene Kisner, Judy Spenser,Bev McElwain, Gail Shell, Joan Caelo,
Sandy Adams, Gail Charles, Sue Oster (now Robinson), Sharon Young (now McCullough),Mary
Lou Wood, Mrs. Adams with Kay Kopenhaver behind, Jean Copenhaver
Front row: Davy Uhl, Mark Uhl, George Uhl, Sue Kopenhaver, Jo Ellen Kopenhaver

Staff 1963
Permanent (work) Staff 1963
Front Row, L to R: Andy Hockley, Kay Kopenhaver, Jo Ellen Kopenhaver, Sue Kopenhaver
Row 2: Mrs. Finkey, Jean Kopenhaver, Mrs. Baker, George Baker, Manager, ---,---
Row 3: Karen Albright, ___, Dee Dee Albright, ---, ---, Sally Mcelwain,---, Kathy Bange
Row 4: ---, Sue Oster,--- Ruth Weer, Russ Weer
Row 5: Dave Line, ---, Bert Baldwin, Bill Hockley, Charley Schaeffer, ---

Staff 1964
Permanent (work) Staff 1964
Front Row 1 L to R: Eddie Williar, Terri Williar, Mark Williar
Row 2: Helen Shullenberger, Helen McAdoo, Ruth Weer, Ann Roelke, Francine Stenger, Pat Williar
Row 3: Mrs. Finkey,Janet Compton, Donna Cohick (now Weer), Karen Albright, Sue Oster(Robinson), Dee Dee Albright
Row 4: Mrs. Keefer, Charley Schaeffer, Russ Weer, Dave Robinson
Row 5: Tom Johns, John Hosteter, Scott Evans
Row 6: Gil Williar, Manager

Staff 1965
Permanent (work) staff 1965
Front Row 1 L to R: Eddie Williar, Terri Williar, Mark Williar
Row 2: Helen Shullenberger, Donna Cohick (Weer), ---
Row 3: Paula Stenger, ---, Josie McCarter(Robinson), ---, Ruth Weer
Row 4: Pat Williar, Gil Williar, Manager, Sue Robinson, Francine Stenger
Row 5: Mrs. Keefer, Mrs. Finkey, Dave Robinson, ---
Row 6: John Hosteter, Scott Evans, Tom Johns, Bob Robinson, Russ Weer
Note two more of the couples on this picture were later married.  Mmy wife and I were married at this time.

Staff 1968
Permanent (work) Staff 1968
Front Row 1:---, Barb Thrush, Carla Thrush, Meredith Schoonover (deceased - cousin of David)
Row 2: Sue Robinson, David Schoonover, Barb Thrush, ---, Josie McCarter (Robinson)
Row 3: Dave Robinson, Manager, ---, Mrs. Thrush, ---, Jean Hoffheins, Bob Robinson
Row 4: Tom Robinson, ---, ---
Row 5: Caleb ?,
Row 6: Ken Cohick, Bill Hockley, Gary Fisher, Clark Eckenrode, Russ Weer, Assistant

Staff 1969.
1969 Staff and the "Valley Pride Bread Truck"
It was a retired "Valley Pride" bread truck.  "Valley Pride" was a bakery located in Shippensburg, PA.   They would donate a truck for use at the camp during the summer.  - G. Fisher

Staff 1970
1970 Staff

1971 Staff
1971 Staff and the "Valley Pride Bread Truck" - Ed Bricker Photo

1972 Staff
1972 Staff in the Pavilion -  Ed Brickner Photo


      After spending an evening reading through all the information on the Camp Michaux web page, I had to write you a note.
      I grew up in Carlisle & the camp was our Presbyterian Church camp. I am not certain about how many years that I went, but it would have been in the mid and late '50's. It is a special place to me still. In recent years when I come home from North Carolina to visit family in Carlisle, my mother will ask me, "well, when are you going to go?" What she knew is that I had to make a trip to visit the camp and Laural Lake to wander around.
     My family spent a lot of time in the Michaux State Forest in the summers when we were growing up. Many years ago my grandfather had built a small one-room, log cabin on the stream between Fuller and Laural Lakes. When summer came our family moved there to spend the summer, and my dad commuted to work from there. There was no electricity or running water at our cabin and all the food was cooked over an open fire. It is amazing to think about all the great family time we had there during the summers.
     What led me to your site is finding a link to the article written by Helen McAdoo. She was my sister. She wrote the essay for a contest while she was a student at Carlisle High School and won the contest that year. She was killed in a car accident in 1968.
     Helen, another sister, my brother, and I all went to the camp in the '50's and early '60's. I even spent part of one summer there in 1967 as a counselor. I had just graduated from West Point and had two months of summer leave before I reported to active duty. Going there seemed to be a good thing to do for part of that time.
     Thanks for gathering & sharing the information on the camp. As with everyone else, the place was very special to me. I was very disappointed when I returned one year and found that they had torn the buildings down.  The same thing happened to our family's cabin. In spite of the buildings being gone, I love to revisit both places and try to do it at least once a year.
     Best Regards,
     David McAdoo   Kernersville, NC  April 27, 2004

Platanthera gradiflora.

I do have one picture taken just west of the camp along Tom's Run. 
It happens to be one of the native orchids that I found there on some of my summer visits.

The flower is called the
"Purple Fringed Orchid."


     My brother sent me this Website on Camp Michaux. My sister Helen Louise McAdoo was the high school girl from Carlisle, PA who wrote the history of the camp for her senior class essay. 
     The summer after her senior year she went to the Synod camp for the Presbyterian church there and was elected moderator of the state of PA. It was there during that week that she met Rev James (Mike) Ferguson who came to Carlisle to be the senior pastor of our church for 35 years.
     Going to Camp Michaux was a highlight of our childhood. We made many friends from neighboring towns and would meet them at local football games, etc. I kept in touch with many of these people for years. I was on the  staff one summer ('65) and was a camp counselor another summer. Many, many fond memories.
B. McAdoo H.   April 28, 2004


     Hi there. I really enjoyed visiting your Camp Michaux Website. I found it late one night after the melody of "The Ash Grove" suddenly popped into my head and wouldn't leave. I had to dig out my old copy of the Camp Michaux "Rejoice and Sing" songbook with the "The Ash Grove" on the back cover.
     I was at the junior high camps from 1960-62 (from Mechanicsburg Presbyterian Church) and often wonder what happened to my camping buddies: Miriam "Peewee" Fairman, Elaine Coombs, and Lee Fenicle. Only a few camp snapshots survived my parents' empty nest clear-out and our own cross-country move to Oregon a few years ago.
     The last time I visited Michaux was in the spring of 1970, when I was saddened to find the director's house had apparently burned down and I could see no traces of Zwingli, Calvin, and Calvin Annex barracks or the rec hall, site of endless games of four-square. I had fantastic camp experiences at Michaux and I hate to see that it's gone.
    Thanks for keeping the memories fresh!
   Regards, M. H. -  Oregon


    I was a camper during the late 50's and early 60's. I served on staff at the end of summer in 1968 for the Synod Camp. Good Web site. I live about 20 minutes from the camp. I remember the old "Valley Pride" bread truck used for delivery of stuff to the campers. Sure would be nice to be able to contact the old staff members who formed pretty close bonds, but not close enough to keep in contact.
    My sister and others from the Presbyterian churches in Newville, Shippensburg and Carlisle worked there also. We had reunions until the lodge burned, but don't remember when that was. Russ Weer seems to think that the old rec hall photos ended up with the state museum commission, but details indicate otherwise. Raymond Hockley, caretakers son, went to Big Spring and probably graduated in 1967 or 1968, as he was ahead of me in school. It would be good to interview him for missing details.
D. S   April 14,  2004

Follow up to this letter:
     I noticed the other day that you had added some more e-mails on the Michaux site. The one above really caught my eye!  
      Russ Weer and Dave Robinson were two of my bosses while I was worked there, 68 and 69. I was able to stay for one reunion at the "lodge" before it burned. I remember, it was during Christmas holiday and was it ever cold. We all put ice skates on and skated up the "run" behind the old dam, threw the woods. I also remember the POW "face" on the stone wall in the dam. The water level would be right under the nose of the face. But its fallen long ago.
     If any of the old staff from 68,69,70 would like to get together and see old friends. Andy Rebert (life guard 69, 70) and Gary Fisher (staff 68, 69) will be at Camp Michaux, June 19, 2004. We will meet at the old CCC fountain in the middle of camp. (7:00pm).
Gary Fisher April 21, 2004


     My brother (D.S. above) forwarded your Michaux site to me - and I've had a ball just pulling out all those old memories from my brain. I'm afraid there is a lot that I've gotten - but Camp Michaux has always held a special place in my heart. I attended camp in the summer of '59 (I think) as an elementary student - then again in '65 as a Sr. High camper.
     The real fun came when I joined the permanent staff in '66 - with Gilman Williar as the camp manager. My first job was as a "lowly" kitchen girl - but in the next two summers I worked as an assistant cook. My brother emailed you previously and mentioned the Valley Pride bread truck. According to the cook of '66, it was the "Walley Pride" truck.
     We used that truck to take meals to campers who had hiked to Poles Steeple. The usual meal for that was barbecue and baked beans, and we had these big square roasting pans that held them both. The trick was to get the food up the trail without spilling it. In addition I still have some memory of the other evening menus:

  • Pork (which we carefully sliced ourselves), sauerkraut and mashed potatoes (instant)
  • Roast beef (which we sliced), gravy, mashed potatoes instant) and corn
  • Baked chicken, peas ...
  • Meat loaf
  • Ham, sweet potatoes (which everyone hated) and green beans.

     You've got to remember that we served those same meals, week in, week out, all summer long. Then there were the milk coolers (one on each side of the dining room) - where campers could have as much milk as they wanted. The guy assigned to kitchen staff had to lift those heavy milk cans up into the cooler for dispensing.
     The dining room was divided in half (with a swinging door between) - and there were generally two different groups in for a week of camp.
     We loved it best during Synod camp - when the door was propped open so that announcements and singing could be heard on both sides. Being a teenager myself at the time, it was neat to see all the cute guys who came to Synod Camp.
     The blessing offered at each meal was often: "Morning (noontime, evening) has come, the board is spread. Thanks be to God, who gives us bread. Thanks be to God." This is only a tiny bit of what I remember.

Morning is here, the board
is spread. Thanks be to God
who gives us bread.

For health and strength
and daily bread. We praise
thy name O Lord. Amen.

     I could probably write a book on some of our crazy escapades - moonlight swims, cabin raids, going to the Cumberland Drive-in Theater with the bread truck and the manager's pick-up truck, regular trips to Twirley Top for soft ice cream, etc.
     Besides all the memories of these events, I treasure the memories of Michaux's beauty and its interesting history. Michaux represents not only spiritual significance in my life - but three summers of having my first real job, living away from home and making lots of friends. Incidentally I work closely with Raymond Hockley's wife - so I may be able to get some more information from that source. Raymond is the son of the caretaker.
     I just learned about the reunion tonight - when my brother (who mentioned the Valley Pride bread truck) forwarded Gary's message to me.  It's on my calendar - and I'm already excited about seeing people I worked with back then. We used to have a winter reunion - using the Lodge. But I've really lost track of people - except the ones who are still connected to Newville (either living here or having family who is still here).
    Thanks for all your painstaking research - and for compiling such an enjoyable site.
Cheryl Tritt E-mail address   April 22, 2004 


    First I'd like to say that I love your web page.  I have many fond memories Camp Michaux.  I was a camper there in 63 and 64.  I'm one of the campers in the 1963 stairway photo. I found your site via my brother (Squirrel), he's in the photo as well.
     Those two weeks were some of best times of my youth. I would've stayed all summer if I could. The crafts and hikes. The pool and the old pool / pond. I loved the overnight campout at the end of the week. I'll always remember the last night when we would float those candle "rafts" we made in crafts during the week, in the pond. Singing and watching those candles drifting across the water. What memories these.
     Those endless games of four square. I loved that game so much that I taught the kids at my school. It was a hit there as well.  I loved the food too. Even the "rubber" pancakes. They would stretch if you pulled them. We would laugh and then gobble them down.
     All this fun in an old W.W.II German prisoner of war camp. My little imagination was full of movie like scenes of prisoners marching around and trying to escape.
     I've been there once since it closed but that was at least 20 years ago. My brother worked there in the late 60s and is one of the two guys putting together the reunion this June. I've put it on my calendar and plain to be there as well. I live in Cooperstown NY and it looks like about a four hour drive. It'll be special to see what's left of it now.

All of my old photos of the camp are long gone. I'd love to have the CD.   I'd sure like to see what it used to look like.
   C.  S.  Cooperstown NY  April 23, 2004


Vesper Hill Sign  
Lee Schaeffer Photo

I found your CD very interesting and even answered questions and helped identify some pictures.

We had a picture of my sisters standing with me next to a sign which read, "Be still and know that I am the Lord". We were not sure where it was if even at Michaux, then Poof and it appeared on the path to Vesper hill and in unison Barb and I said "wow, there's that sign".
     More and more pleasant memories keep popping up. Thanks again.
Bruce Dull  Baltimore, MD - May 2004


    When I went to the Synod of the Trinity page a familiar name jumped out at me! Camp Michaux! As a youth fellowship officer at the Bethel Park Presbyterian Church, I attended a conference there. I have vague memories of the buildings, but what I remember more are the young people whom I met. They are people whom I have come across throughout my life as an educator in the Presbyterian Church at various times!
     What a delight to look over all the information you have collected and to think again of some of the leadership roots that I have in the church that were nurtured at conferences like the one at Camp Michaux. I have a vision of a group of us standing outside a white frame building and singing to the playing of a guitar by a young man from Canonsburg.
     When I went to college at Wooster, I discovered Rosalie Carson who had been at Michaux, whose father was a Presbyterian minister in Pittsburgh, was also a student there. Then about 10 years ago, Rev. Bill Keeney was in our presbytery briefly to meet with a committee and he, too, was one of the folks who was at Michaux Westminster Fellowship Leadership conference with us! Roberta Barlow, from Bethel, went with me to the conference. This must have been in about 1957. What fun to wander down the path of memory to that place from so very long ago! Thanks for the site!
     M. L. F.
     Associate for Christian Education and Congregational Programming
     Redstone Presbytery


   Thank you for all of the wonderful information on Camp Michaux. Even though I was never a camper, my dad and I spent many happy hours on the Appalachian Trail in the Pine Grove State Park area. In the late 60's, we would park at the end of the Old Shippensburg Road, where I would sometimes fish, and then hike up the AT to the Tom's Run Shelter or beyond. One of our best trips was a day hike from Pine Grove down to Caledonia which ended with a dip in the pool. We would pass by the camp which always seemed to be a beehive of activity. You could hear singing and the noise from the pool area. Campers would greet us as we passed along the trail. After reading the various e-mails, I can assume that Camp Michaux must have been a very special place for many young people.
     My father knew some of the history of the CCC and POW camps from the Appalachian Trail manuals which he imparted to me. Some barbed wire was also still visible up where the AT turned toward Tom's Run. We tried to visualize the two camps while walking along the AT. My last year at Pine Grove was probably 1971 before entering high school, but then I would need to make money during the summers in preparation for college.  
    I didn't think much of Camp Michaux until I camped in the area with my family in 1994. By coincidence we stayed in some cabins owned by a gentleman named Mowry, who lived off of PA 233 about a mile north of Pine Grove. In talking to this man, we found out he was one of the men who helped cart away much of the wood and other parts from Camp Michaux. He told us that the lumber and other hardware were free to anyone who could remove them. He used some of this lumber to build the barn on his property and some of his own cabins, so I guess I was a camper after all. He stimulated our interest in the AT and Camp Michaux. We went up to the camp, but we could find little except for the CCC fountain and the Old Barn wall because we were losing the daylight. That place was a bit eerie in the dark!!!
     In 2002 we went back during the day and were able to find a number of other landmarks. We went down the roads to the pool, the old foundations, and the new wooden bridge. Other people had obviously been looking around the area. Unfortunately along with some great memories I also brought home a good case of poison ivy. I wish I had seen your Website before we went out to the camp. In the next year or so, my dad and I will try to explore the area with the benefit of your extremely helpful maps and information. Thank you for all of your efforts in keeping the memory of this magical place alive. God bless.
  B. G. West Palm Beach, Florida.   March 17, 2004


     This Web site is such a blessing. I spent 3 years at the camp, 64-66. Went to college in Shippensburg, PA., 78 graduate. Hiked countless miles on the AT over and over on South Mountain. My grandparents lived in Gardners. I know to this day I could find the steps where the pictures were taken, the old and new pools, and the place where the tent platforms were located on the road to the creek crossing at Tom's Run. As I recall these tent platforms were down the road to the right of  the old barn wall.  At the time, it was not part of the actual AT.  They were maybe 300 yards from the barn wall. This trail or road went downhill to where Tom's Run crossed the road.
    I recall, there were German POW names on the side of a stone arch bridge near the entrance to the camp. Anyone ever mention this before?

    You've brought back a part of my past.   Bless you.
   M. P.  Castle Rock, CO  March 17, 2004


  I'm so glad I found this page. My daughter sent me the link from somewhere. I'll have to find out how she came across it. She lives in Gettysburg.
     I grew up in Annapolis and Camp Michaux was our church camp for the St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Annapolis. I attended camp there in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades in the 50s. It was always so much fun, and I have such fond memories of the camp. I had been trying to find the camp for quite awhile and a friend and I found the remains of it a couple of years ago. So sad to see it all overgrown. We never did find Vesper Hill which I would really like to see again. The maps you have here are great. Next time I visit my daughter, we shall have to go back to Camp
Michaux and see if we can find Vesper Hill this time.
     My first time hiking was on the AT at Camp Michaux. My daughter also took me hiking last year at Laurel Lake (at Pine Grove Furnace State Park) where we used to go swimming. I remembered it as soon as I saw it.

Camp Staff 1954
Junior Camp Staff 1954
Row 1 L to R: Bunny Curran, Teenie ?, Rev Alcorn, Lois Kopelman, Jane ?
Row 2: Mrs. Miller, ---, Marlene ?, Betty Jane ?
Row 3; Sissy Smith, Rev Roy Snyder, Rev. Smith, Craig Smith, ---
Row 4: Dick Peret (from my church), Rev. Kenneth Snyder, Little John Bucher, Chuck Stein, ---

Here's the picture I have. I believe it is from 1954 because that is the year that most of the stuff I saved was from.That's all I wrote on the back.  It was taken on the steps but look how  much bigger the steps were then and what is left at the site now. I kind of remember a building behind the steps. The pictures on your site sure brought back memories.
   I have a 1954 Camp Schedule (see above), a welcoming letter from Albert C. Robinson, Director, and the Michaux Barker (a camp newspaper type thing) and it lists all the people who were there in 1954.
     Thanks for your site. I'll have to send it to my friends who attended with me.
J. G. - Burke, VA Sept 28, 2003

     Thank you so much for creating and maintaining the web pages describing  Camp Michaux. I've been searching through my memory for some details about  my past and any trigger is welcome. (I was there in the early 1960s with a  group from Saint Matthews UCC in Baltimore, MD.) I've been searching for information on the camp but had been misspelling the name as "Micheaux". Once I found the Michaux State Forest on a map and discovered my error, the rest was easy. I visited the remains of the camp in early July but wasn't able to get my bearings until late in the afternoon, so I'll be making a return trip in the late fall, hopefully.
     I am very much interested in the CD you mentioned containing the old slides  and your other pictures and documents. Please let me know how I can   receive one. As far as I know I have no old pictures of the camp but I did   take some while I was there in July. I'll try to upload them to a web  server soon and will send you the links.
     By the way, earlier this year I visited the Early Television Museum in  Hilliard, OH.  I see that you have an  interest in that subject as well and I was wondering if you have visited  that museum. They have a CD available with pictures of most of the items on display.
     Thanks again.
     Bob, Baltimore, MD  Aug 29, 2003


     Although I was the chairman of the Carlisle Presbytery Camping Committee in the last years of its existence I was not in the circle of powerful decision makers in the Presbytery. What I heard at camp committee meetings was that despite the plans that were drawn up to renovate the camp the presbytery was reluctant to put money into property they did not own. Indeed they scrimped on maintenance and got complaints from the state for letting the property run down. This made the presbytery feel that the state wanted them out of there, thus making them even more reluctant to put money into the camp.
     While we were at this impasse the church camps of central PA brought some experts in to study the camps of the region. As the result of this study the United Church of Christ decided to pull out of Camp Michaux and concentrate there camping at Hartman Center near Milroy, PA. Since they sent most of the campers to Michaux, it was really untenable for us continue on our own.  Because of my many years counseling and directing at Camp Michaux I let my heart rule my head and proposed that we keep the camp open and run it alone. My proposal was defeated and the camp closed. 
     We began to purchase services from Camp Krislund and later bought into Camp Krislund which is run now by Carlisle, Huntingdon and Northumberland Presbyteries. I also graduated from college with a B. S. in Physics, but as the result of my summers counseling at Camp Michaux became a minister instead.
Sincerely yours,
     W.W.  -  June 2003


I just heard about this site today at a Mercersburg Association meeting. My dad was a counselor at Michaux, I was a camper and later on "permanent" summer staff as a counselor. Wonderful place! Lots of incredible memories . . .
    Just looking at my old camp pictures (when we all sat on those stone steps) bring them tumbling back - vesper hill (both of them) the dining hall, singing songs, the camp sites, cooking out, sleeping out, pioneer camp (and rain - of course!) I could go on and on. Apparently you have great memories, too! thanks for bringing them back!
   I was on staff at Michaux summer 1970, I think . So your mention of the western PA goodies brought back more great memories. - Kennywood, KDKA, etc. I student taught at Hempfield and lived in So. Greensburg. My church affiliation is UCC - when Michaux was our church camp it was Presbyterian and Evangelical&Reformed (before the UCC merger).
    Now I am a UCC minister, serving two UCC Homes nursing homes in Carlisle. Somewhere around here I have my Dad's white and green Michaux hat - on my bookshelf with my Bibles!
    I also have (but this I will have to hunt for) that little red booklet that had the history of the camp in. Do you have one of those? When the ground was broken for Michaux Lodge at Hartman Center (now our church camp) I was there - as I was on staff working in CE at my home church. We had the confirmation class on retreat then. Now I take the resident's of the Homes on a retreat to Michaux Lodge! My how history "repeats" itself and is so inter-related!
   Once again, thanks for the memories. Best wishes!
      Anna -  May 2003


   A pleasure to find Camp Michaux on your site.
   I was a camper there, 60 and 61, and later worked on the staff 68, and 69. I have my old camper pictures and staff pictures from 69 and one from 70. Plus pictures that I took around camp, 68 or 69. I don't have a scanner, but I would send you copies to add to the site.    I would love to see your old slide pictures. So send me your CD.
Gary also sent me the copy of Helen Louise McAdoo's History of Camp Michaux

Staff 1969.
Staff 1969





Staff 1970
                               Staff 1970
Front: ---
First Row, L to R: Dan Robinson, Ester ?, Emily McLaughlin, Uncle Fred ?, Fran Rinehart, Judy ?, Teri ?
Row 2: Charlie ?, Pat Potter
Row 3: Ellen ?, Anna ?, John ?, Dan?, Alan Potter
Row 4: Ken ?, Gregg ?, Ellen Rinehart, Scott Evans, Sue ?
Row 5: Jane ?, Deb ?, Dorrie ?, Kenny ?
Row 6: Sue Newpher, Barb Thrush,Doc ?, Kim ?, Dave Robinson, Manager
Row 7: Tom Robinson, Marsha Imhoff, Allison Palmer, Andy Rebert, Carl Henry

Campers 1963.
1963 Campers & Staff

    Hey, that’s me in one of your camper photos from Camp Michaux! What a surprise and a delight to find it.  It’s the photo of the 1963 campers and staff.  I’m the girl in the white headband, second from the right in the second row (or maybe third row) next to a girl in a sleeveless shirt on the far right. The four girls in the front row on the right were also part of my bunkroom in Zwingli that year. I was 11, almost 12 when I was there that year.  We had a great time. I remember the entire camp walking down to the general store next to what is now the AT building after a rain one night. I think only the counselors had flashlights.  We went down for ice cream, and on the way back the road was filled with small, jumping frogs that were almost impossible not to step on. Can you imagine an entire group of kids walking down a dark public road these days?  I don’t remember many, if any, cars passing.

    Our Vesper Hill was the one you call the “other Vesper Hill.”  At the time it seemed like a long march up that hill to the tree line where we had vespers. The first time I went back to Michaux as an adult, I couldn’t believe what a short distance it was! I’ve been back and around Michaux many times since, often as a start or end point of a hike on the AT.  I was always sorry when the camp closed and was dismantled. It’s a shame that such a historic spot wasn’t maintained. 

Thanks again for your site!  I really enjoy looking at all the photos and remembering those good days.

Carolyn - April 2014


Hey Lee,
    I just received the CD of pictures today. Thank you so much. I'm still trying to figure out how to view all of the pictures. I'll get it. Anyway, the last "walk" picture, #800 of the prisoner's writing on east side of Tom's Run culvert. All the years that I have been coming up, I never knew the signatures were there. Have to check that out the next time I'm in camp.
     That picture reminded me of a story that happened to me. I think it was the summer of 68. It was my turn for "KP" duty in the kitchen/dinning hall. I had just finished dumping the GI cans and running the dish washer for lunch. I walked up the "grove of pines" and had just started to cross Michaux Rd. to Trail Lodge. I looked both ways, of course, and sitting down the road at that little bridge was this black object. At first I thought it was a camper. Then without a sound, this "thing" got up and walked across the road. On all fours! It was a black mountain cat, long tail and all. I looked around for a witness but of course no one was around. The cat proceeded to disappear into the "cover" and that was the last time I saw it. This happened mid-afternoon. I'll never forget that one.
       A lot of memories at Camp Michaux. Thanks again! Sincerely,
Gary   July 2003


     WOW! I cannot thank you enough for posting this Web site. Two years ago we took our scout troop through there on an overnight hike. I only wish I had found your Web site earlier. Our imaginations ran wild trying to figure out what stood on this foundation and along that path. Armed with your information, I'll take the troop back again before the vegetation grows too thick. Thanks again for all your hard work.
   D. B., Troop 149 BSA, York, PA   June 2003


   I was filled with joy and great memories to view the Web site of the history, etc of camp Michaux. Ken Sell gave the address to me during our recent Southern Conference. Historical trip to Trapp, PA celebrating the 265th anniversary of St Luke's E&R church there
     You will be glad to know that I have many photos, much data, camp newspapers, etc of my years as director, counselor, rec. director, etc at Camp Michaux.   I worked there with the UCC contingent while I was Director of Christian Education at St. Johns UCC in Richmond Va.  St. Johns sent busloads of campers to Michaux back in the 60's since the central Atlantic conference had no camp. I worked at Michaux in the 70's
      I remember fondly the pastor of the large PCUSA in Carlisle Bob.(Scottish name) who helped at Michaux.  Also Carl Henry, the director. Where is he now? also Frosty (rev Frost from York) Ivan Mohr, etc.
     We should make a list of those former associates and their whereabouts if they still are among the living Trudy Kleindinst was a fabulous counselor among others.
     Thank you for preparing and publishing such a great web page of the camp. It is an act of love. The many happy years at Michaux still enrich our lives.
     I understand that the murals painted by the German POWs in the barracks (Zwingli I think) are on display in a building at Pine Grove Furnace. Is that correct? (Only one.)
     My son and daughter-in-law met and began their courtship at Michaux and now are living near us.
     I have Presbyterian roots too, having gone to Davidson College and Austin Presbyterian Seminary in Texas.
     Below are some of the myriad of snapshots I have of camp Michaux activates in the late 60's and middle 70's  The old officer's club rec. room had a big stove and I remember someone had written on it 'GIMMIE SOME!
     These photos of course are from the UCC camps, at which I did my camping work. We had lots of Presbyterians in the camp makeup, but the camps were done as far as I remember by the UCC's
     Hope to hear from you soon These photos have been in storage for a long time and are somewhat shriveled up like we adults get when we age.
Shalom,    Wade Hampton Shuford   Oct 22, 2002

snap shot 1

snap shot 2.
The old officer's club rec. room

snap shot 4

snap shot 5

snap shot 3
My wife Joanne doing crafts in the craft hall

   1972 UCC Camp
    Summer 1972  -  July 16-22
Last Year the Camp was open

1972 Group Shuford


    It was a joy to discover your Web site on Camp Michaux. For some twenty years I have been gathering together graduates of old "Western Seminary, Pgh." - started out as class of '54, but as our class began to dwindle we have essentially made it the "Western Retreat". At this year's just ended - Dick Sigler told me about your site. What wonderful memories.
    I was active at Michaux very soon after our church leased the grounds.   I was part of the staff of several experimental "junior camps" - with "outdoor woods homes" etc - all rather common place relative to modern camping experiences. I was also very active in Westminster Fellowship (William Henry Vernon Smith!) and was involved in the planning of the Synod WF Annual Conferences at Michaux. Michaux holds an important place in my life, formative of many values and experience of many joys. Thank you for getting it up on the web page. I will check my photo and see if there aren't some interesting pictures of those years. Later, by the way, I became the national moderator of the National Council of Westminster Fellowship.
    Please advise as you add more.
          Thank you, Bob Curry Oct. 2002

   My sister and I just returned from a walk sponsored by the Cumberland County Historical Society through this beautiful area. We were both surprised to learn that the iron industry had once ruined this beautiful piece of property.
We were just as surprised to see that there was little left in the way of identifiable buildings and areas of our church  camp. My sisters and I attended the church camp (UCC) during the late 50's through late 60's. Today's walk was  just another reminder that nothing remains the same - except our sweet memories of youth. Thank you Cumberland   County Historical Society for taking us back to a time before our birth - through our youth - by walking these beautiful paths of today.
K. - May 2002

    This morning my son referred me to your Web site about Camp Michaux. This camp has a very special place in my heart. While a camper there in 1951 or 1952, I met a girl from Beech Creek, PA.   She came to visit me in Shamokin in 1952 and I in turn visited her in Beech Creek in 1953. On August 13, 1953, a young man came to visit her the day he was discharge from the Air Force. John Widmann and I were attracted to each other and in 1955 we married.  
     In 1972, while on a church exchange to Germany we sought to find my husband's family. We were able to find the German Widmann's through the aid of a receptionist in the Town Hall of Boeblingen, Germany. She arranged for a meeting with the Widmann relatives, and in the process we became friends.
     In 1973, Lore and Leo Groeger visited us in Chambersburg. Leo had been a prisoner of war in the US, having been captured with Rommel's Afrika Korps. We took him to the site of Camp Michaux, and he excitedly shouted "This is the place."   An article in the Chambersburg Public Opinion, December 26, 1986 relates this story, as well as contains a picture  of Camp Michaux as a prisoner of war camp.Leo is now dead, but we keep in touch with his widow (saw her last year when we were in Germany).
                                  Amo Box
"I had heard there was an entire building full of empty ammo boxes when the camp was first leased by the church. The ammo boxes is what campers used for seats at the camp sites in the woods for years until the supply was depleted". -   Lawrence M.  2009
    The area of the camp where the Vesper's were held was near the entrance. If you face the entrance (as if to leave  the camp), it was on the hillside to the left.
We sat on ammunition boxes as pew seats. When I was there there  was no chapel (at least not to my present memory). The pool was not there, we swam in what you picture as the swimming hole.
     One of the advisers was a seminary student. I believe his name was Edgar Dayton (I may be incorrect).
N.  W.  August 2002


   I stumbled onto your web page over the weekend and was most interested in your information on Camp Michaux. I, too, was a delegate to the Youth Leadership Conference and remember a wonderful week there in August, 1969. The name Dick Sigler seemed very familiar, though I don't remember a lot about him. Some things I do remember:   Sleeping in the old P.O.W. barracks.  Skits under the pavilion on Saturday night.  A girl from North Warren who played guitar and sang "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Volleyball games after supper pitting Presbytery against Presbytery.
               Volleyball game behind chapel
                        Looking NE showing upper Crafts Building and cabin.
                   The volleyball court was behind the chapel and up the hill from
                    the pool.

   I represented Second Presbyterian Church in Oil City and we didn't have a pastor at that time, so I knew virtually no one before going. I rode down with a pastor from Franklin Presbyterian Church named Claude Ponting. For some reason, he couldn't give me a ride home, so I came back with Jack Larson. (whom we kids called the "sinister minister") Jack was at the Cambridge Springs church and later went to Carlisle. I got to know him much better in the year to come through meetings of the Lake Erie Presbytery Youth Task Force.
   I got to know the girl who played guitar as well, and ended up taking her to my senior prom in May, 1970.  We both attended Clarion State College and after we graduated, we got together on occasion, she driving up to Williamsport, where I was teaching math, or I driving down to Carlisle where she got a job teaching German. On one of the Carlisle visits, we drove out to the camp, which I was surprised to find no longer existed. This was probably in 1976. Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane. 
   Sincerely, G. K.

   Great site! I was a camper in 1960 and 1962 at the age of 10 and 12. Back in 1995 I too went in search of the Camp and was thrilled to find the remnants (concrete support piers for the watchtower, the pool, the steps up to the pavilion, the overgrown depression that was the drainage ditch next to the road) yet saddened to see that the camp was no longer there. Fond memories is an understatement. I even had this vision of learning more about what had happened to the camp and working to re-open it.
    A couple years ago I searched the web for "Camp Michaux" and ultimately wound up in touch with a man at the Army facility in Carlisle.    Today, on a whim, I searched again and found your page. The one year I was there, we had counselors one of whom was Larry Kirby, a folk singer of some note in the Baltimore area, another called "Frog" and a woman named Bonnie. Also, my association with the camp was through the United Church of Christ. I'll collect what I have, see how it scans and send it on.
    Bill B.

Group picture from 1966

Group picture from 1968

     I am so thankful to have found your Web site on Camp Michaux. I was a camper there in 1966 and 1968. I have good memories. In 1994, I tried to find the camp, but couldn't, probably because there are only remnants. I still have both group pictures from those years.  I wonder if anyone out there was a camper in the picture and if they would just like to say "Hello" or post their memory. My email is [email protected]. Thanks.
   C. P.  Baltimore, Maryland  6/06/02

     Just a note to thank you for the page on Camp Michaux. It brought back many fond memories.  I was a member of the Market Square Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg in the late 50's and  early 60's and attended Camp Michaux three times during my youth. It was my favorite place to go in the summer! As for the POW artwork, I remember a painting in the dining hall that a German prisoner painted of the Statue of Liberty. The artist placed the shadow of Liberty's nose in such a way that it looked like Hitler's moustache !

Picture taken on "The Steps to Nowhere"
michaux- taff 1955
Photo of the camp staff taken during one of the years I was there.
Unfortunately, there is no date or names on the back of the photo.
Maybe you'll recognize some of them *.
(Check out the old Studebaker and the '55 Chevy in the background!)
    K. S.,   -  Safford, AZ  02/23/02

*Top Row: Joe Dahl (holding the cat), Fred Seltzer, Charlie Davis, Ted, Jerome VanNest,  Ken.
Second from Top Row:  Patricia Shoop (Aunt Pill),  Ruth,  Mary Douglas,   unknown.
Second from Bottom Row:  Jeannie Roberts,  Flora George,  unknown,   Peggy Terry.
Bottom Row: Walt Williams (eventually became a Presbyterian Minister - was at camp reunion), Colin Douglas,
Ruth Sensenig, Rev. John Sensenig (camp director).
Regards. (Uncle) Fred Seltzer with additional names by Walt Williams

      I found your web site because my 3 sisters and I are going to go on a hike through Michaux in May 2002. This is a Cumberland Co. Historical Walks tour. We all went to UCC camp in the 60's and 70's. I must have been one of the last camp groups. My last camping year was the summer of 1970 when I was 16 years old. Of course, I met my first serious boy friend at Church Camp (didn't we all?). We actually dated for 2 years (his parents doing all the driving until he got his license - they must have liked me).
       I was going to relate my favorite memory of Camp Michaux, but I can't think of just one -- so here is a quick list of fading memories. Cabin inspection (how are those hospital corners?), running to the outhouse cabin in the middle of the night and cutting my food (couldn't take the BIG hike that year), wonderful counselors, meditation time in the morning just before breakfast, my first taste of PB&J sandwiches, SINGING after every meal (my favorite part) especially "The Ash Grove" to which I learned to sing harmony, the group picture taken on the hill, trying to look sexy in my first two-piece swim suit, meeting counselors from a foreign land, vespers, the time the boys stuffed sheets in the bell so they couldn't wake us up in the morning and taking the doors off the administration building and putting them on the roof, trying to sneak across the road to the boys cabins, the boys trying to sneak across the road to ours, letters from home (always with a piece of chewing gum enclosed)
      I could go on and on. It's hard to believe just one week each year could leave such an impact on our lives. I probably went for about 4 or 5 years (I don't really remember, I'll have to get out my group photos and check the years).   Thanks for the web site. I'll be sure to tell all my sisters.
   T.Z.    Frederick, MD  2/22/02

    I just wanted to let you know your site was a great source of information to me. My husband told me about the camp, which I knew nothing about, and we just returned from a walk in the area. We found a wall from I believe the old stone barn that is still intact and in good condition considering its age. I am looking forward to going back and exploring more of the area. Maybe we will find the fountain or other remnants of the camp that I found out about on your site. I find it sad that the camp was not maintained by the state or some government agency as I believe it to be a important piece of history. I also look forward to returning to this site for more information as it becomes available. Thank you for the great service you have provided!!! You have done a wonderful job in providing information about a important piece of history.
   H. F.

   I am a UCC minister who was a counselor at Michaux in 1948. Spent 3 weeks there. I was told there were 2000 Germans and 1000 Japanese, which seems to have been an "enhanced" figure.  Also we were told three Germans escaped and only 2 where ever found. Interesting tales.

   We sat on ammo cases for just about everything we did. The barb wire had been taken down by some of our counselors  who had been there in '47. The paintings I remember were alpine scenes on the walls of either the rec. hall or the dinning hall. They were painted on the wall board. While I was there 6 rattlesnakes in the center of the camp where "dispatched" by the caretaker who was good with a 22. Since this is going back a good bit I don't remember too much more. I suppose I have some pictures somewhere but finding them would be a job.
   N. W. 1st. UCC, Winston-Salem, NC          01/28/02--------------------

   I just discovered your wonderful material on Camp Michaux. Thanks for a great piece of work. I am writing my memoirs and was searching for information on the camp and you had it all there.
   I served as a counselor at a Presbyterian camp in 1954. I was living in New Bloomfield at the time and I guess Dick Sigler talked me into it. I also served in a couple of E. & R. camps in 1955-56.
   Thanks again for your work. I told a couple of my friends who also served there about your Web site.
   K. S.           01/28/02


Other Information About the Camp

Ellen McDaniel-Weissler [email protected]
She informed me that she is working on a book about the POW era history of the camp.  I'll post any information about her project as it becomes available. 

E-mail from GLZ at Michaux State Forest office:

In 1972 the church proposed to make major renovations to the camp and even had detailed drawings of their proposal. For some reason, unknown to me, the entire project "fell through" and the church gave up it's lease to the facility.  In 1973 the buildings were put up for competitive bid to individuals who wished to buy and remove them.  I and a fellow employee of the Michaux State Forest purchased a building and removed it during the winter of 1973. It was a garage located on the east side of the Michaux Road. We divided the lumber we removed.  In addition I salvaged an old piano that was scheduled for destruction in the camp. It still sits in my living room and my wife plays it almost daily.  A considerable amount of money has been spent on it to restore it.  Too many years in the unheated camp took it's toll on the sound board. It is a beautiful upright piano that dates to the late 19th century.   To my knowledge, a few of the buildings were removed piece by piece and rebuilt at other places. I'm fairly certain they did not go to other CCC Camps. Where they went, I don't know.   Most of the building were simply removed for the lumber they contained.

We collected a large number of the paintings before the camp was dismantled. They were in the attic of our office for several years. We offered them to the PA Historical and Museum Commission but they weren't interested.  The District Forester, Ken Swartz then gave them to a man. I don't know if I ever knew his name. He recently ( 3-4 years ago displayed them at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  He has since died. I don't know what became of them. 

We have one of the paintings in our office.  POW Painting It a picture of a fish painted on a wooden door panel.  All of the other paintings were painted on the homasote wallboard that lined the barracks.  Many of the scenes were of Germany.  Some had the old German script lettering.  I know an individual that just recently had a roster of names of Japanese Navy prisoners that were imprisoned at Camp Michaux.  The letter he has lists about 80 men, but the second page with half the names is missing.  Apparently the commander of the Camp delivered them to Baltimore where they were placed on a ship for delivery to Japan.   According to the Japanese customs at that time, it was necessary to allow the Japanese prisoners to get off the ship in shallow water to re-enter their country.   Otherwise they would have been looked upon as cowards and their culture would have mandated that they commit suicide.  The individual I know has found a great deal of information of the Camp before it was a church camp. His name is Ted Valcis.  The bell from the camp was in the possession of a Wilmer Hockley when the camp was torn down. I think he died a few years ago. Bill, as he was known, was the maintenance man at the church camp.

While at the Camp Store we met a trail hiker who relayed my request for information on to another friend who graciously sent me the following publication:

Patrick L. Metcalf, "The Pine Grove Prisoner of War Camp",
Cumberland County History, Winter 2000, Volume 17 Number 2. 
Available from:
The Cumberland County Historical Society
21 North Pitt Street
P.O. Box 626
Carlisle, PA 17013

This 12 page article contains a map of "Camp Pine Grove Furnace Prisoner of War Camp" obviously drawn from memory by Rex F. Waite and reproduced from the Shippensburg, PA, News Chronicle, June 28, 1993.   Metcalf states that Waite was "stationed at the camp."  I am guessing that Waite was an officer since the road closest to Tom's Run is listed as "Waite Rd." and enlisted men do not have roads named after them!   

Text from a document obtained at the Pine Grove Furnace Park office.
Detailed history of the camp and furnace

Nestled in the ridges of the South Mountain two miles west of Pine Grove Furnace lies Camp Michaux. This church camp, was shared by the United Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ, has an unusual historical background, which dates from the early iron mining industry and continues through World War II.

The present site of Camp Michaux was once known as the Bunker Hill Farm and included about 250 acres of land. No one is certain how far back this early farm dates because the deed is believed to have been destroyed by confederates on their march north.

According to one theory, however, the farm existed in Revolutionary days. It is know that after the Battle of Trenton, Hessians were taken as prisoners to the Carlisle Army Post. From there, they were issued to various farmers in the area as workers. These Hessians may have erected the enormous stone barn at the Bunker Hill Farm because its construction resembles the old Hessian guardhouse at the Army Post. One side of the stone barn still stands on the Camp Michaux grounds.

About a mile northwest of camp, on the Appalachian Trail is the old tenant house of the farm. Located close to a mountain spring and a creek, the house is now used as a shelter for hikers along the trail. Behind the house among the trees lie three unmarked graves believed to be those of young children who died of small pox.

In addition to the farm proper, the farm included a large peach orchard on Big Flat and a sawmill close by. The first steam traction engine in the South Mountain was owned by the Baker family for use in this sawmill.

Sometime through the years the farm was bought by the owners of the Pine Grove Estate and became part of their vast system of farms. The iron works community at Pine Grove was similar to a feudal system in that workers were dependent on their master for food and shelter and that "farms were worked for the support of man and beast."

The farm system was so extensive that in 1878 the South Mountain Iron Company hired an expert planter and fruit culturist, J.D. North from North Carolina, to have charge of the farms and their management. A tenant farmer operated each individual farm. Under this plan, John A. Gardners was the last farmer of the Bunker Hill farm. For this reason, natives often refer to the site as the Gardner Farm.

In 1912 the South Mountain Mining and Iron Company sold out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for $29,827. The sixty square miles of the Pine Grove Estate became a state forest reserve. The state, however, continued to cultivate the Gardner farm until 1919 when 1,000 bushels of wheat were harvested.

The once prosperous farmlands were then abandoned and left to overgrow with weeds. In 1932, the Civilian Conservation Corps, under Roosevelt's New Deal, spotted the site for one of their camps. This camp, S-51. became the first CCC camp in Pennsylvania. 

In May of 1933, the first group of boys came from Philadelphia by train to the Pine Grove station. At the beginning they lived in the railroad coaches and each day walked the two-mile distance to and from the farm. When the crew had sufficiently cleared the fields they set up their camp of tents.

These tents were only temporary housing until barracks could be built. Living in tents was unpleasant as well as dangerous. Once when lightning struck the camp, two boys were killed. The corps finally moved into barracks at Christmas that first year.

About 200 boys occupied the CCC camp at one time. Boys from eighteen to twenty-five years were eligible to enlist for a six-month period and could re-enlist up to two years.

The first work crew set out on June 1, 1933, to improve the road to the Baker sawmill. Other work assignments that first year were primarily devoted to the construction of a camp. Fields no longer needed were planted in tree plantations, and permanent buildings were built. Later years, however, were spent improving old roads, making new roads, and making general improvements in the forest reserve.

After nine years of operation, the CCC camp closed in February 1942; then the Intelligence Department of the Army took over the site and supervised the  Camp Pine Grove Prisoner of War Camp. (The official name according to #Patrick Metcaff Not only was the camp close to the Carlisle Army Post, but also it was only a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C.  Most important, though, the camp was well isolated and could be kept a secret.

At first, the camp was intended only for German naval officers, but then it was enlarged to take in some Rommel's African Corps and later, Japanese officers. A staff of 150 American personnel were stationed there. The camp held the inventor of the German buzz bomb (Metcalf disputes this information) in addition to 1,500 other prisoners.

Because the camp was kept a secret, very little information is available about the actual operation of it; however, evidence of its existence remains in the present church camp for all to see. A gallery of pictures painted by the prisoners was displayed in the recreation hall. ( I hope some record of them survives.) Several pictures showed the barbed wire fence that surrounded the camp, and the high watchtower located in the center of camp. The concrete base of this tower still remains. German words and names are embedded in concrete steps and bridges that the war prisoners constructed throughout the camp.

With the end of the war, the camp again was abandoned in approximately 1945. Then when a small group of ministers and laymen from the Presbyterian and Reformed churches were looking for a summer camp where they could train their young people, they discovered the ex-prison camp.

In 1948, Camp Michaux Incorporated got a ten-year lease from the state at $600 per year provided they maintain all buildings and grounds. A provisional agreement from the state allowed them to use the grounds during the summer of 1947 when work camps cleaned the area and repaired the buildings.

Like the state forest that surrounds the site, the camp is named after Andre Michaux who made great contributions to botany by his explorations and collections. This Frenchman, who lived from 1746 to 1802, was sent by Louis XIV to North America to gather plants for the Royal Gardens. He was also commissioned to study various trees and give advice on woods suitable for naval construction. During his eleven years in America, Michaux did extensive travel. He spent two years in the southern Appalachian Mountains collecting and naming many plants. Today's campers have a special interest in this man who loved the same woods they do.

The camp has reverted to Michaux State Forest and in approximately 1972 the buildings and appurtenances were removed. The buildings are now gone, save for the still standing end of the old barn.    However, the pristine setting has not been altered significantly.

Take some time to visit the former site and absorb through the mind's eye, days long past, and listen to the serenity of the mountains.

Other Articles and Publications


From "Prisoner of War Camp at Gettysburg" Gettysburg Discussion Group

Early in 1945, another former Civilian Conservation Corps Camp, located in the Michaux State Park between Chambersburg and Carlisle, was enclosed in a stockade and newly captured German prisoners of war were transported to the camp. All of the prisoners were brought to the camp after dark on blacked-out trains to maintain the secrecy of the camp's location. The purpose of the camp at Pine Grove Furnace was to obtain information from the prisoners concerning troop movements. gun placements, submarine pen locations. Other than the army personnel and the military intelligence personnel, no outsiders were allowed in the area. Approximately 25,000 prisoners passed through the camp. As certain officers and scientists were identified, they were immediately isolated and sent to special barracks for further questioning. Some of the scientists were sent to Whit Sands, New Mexico, to work on the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Some of these men ultimately became American citizens.

After the war ended in Europe, the German prisoners who were in the camp were returned to New York City and were eventually returned to Germany. A lesser known fact is that the camp at Pine Grove Furnace was then used to house Japanese prisoners of war. On June 15, 1945, approximately two hundred Japanese were assigned to the camp. Very few of these prisoners ever became close with the army personnel. They were hard workers and assigned to any job to keep busy. They beautified the camp - painting the lanes for the paths; cutting the grass by hand; planting flowers in the compound. The Japanese were all very eager to go home, even though they could be disgraced for having surrendered. These prisoners were also interrogated and then processed to other camps, but there were significantly fewer Japanese who passed through the camp. At the end of the war in the Pacific, the remaining prisoners were sent to Seattle, Washington, to await transportation to Japan. They were all amazed to see Major Thomas there to accompany them. There were approximately 1600 Japanese on the Sea Devil for the eighteen day trip to Japan. Major Thomas was appalled to see these men loaded onto barges and then simply set ashore when they did reach land - they just climbed the banks and disappeared.

The oil paintings of Pine Grove Furnace were done by a professional artist. He, accompanied by a guard, climbed a mountain overlooking the camp and sketched the view; then upon returning to the camp proceeded to paint the picture on masonite. The other picture is the office of Major Thomas. It might be of interest to know that the only remaining evidence of the camp is the chimney seen in the picture. All of the pictures, newspaper and drawings have been donated to one of the local county society in memory of Major Laurence C. Thomas, commander of the camps at Gettysburg and Pine Grove Furnace, by his daughters, Mrs. James C. Wilson of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and A. Joan Thomas of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

German POW pays nostalgic visit
(Scroll down page)
Gettysburg Times -  Carl Brantz and his return trip to Gettysburg POW camp.

"German POWs In Westminster"
Carroll County Times Article for 27 July 1997

At Pine Grove Furnace between Gettysburg and Carlisle - German officers were kept at a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp, deep in the woods of what is now a state forest. There, after being brought under cover of night, the officers were interrogated about German military operations.

American officers reported learning details about troop morale, the location of military facilities and the effects of U.S. propaganda efforts and the Russian winters on German troops. Information was passed up the chain of command from the forest camp to the Pentagon. 

Some of the interrogations yielded intelligence with life or death importance. One prisoner explained how Germans were taught to hide small pistols inside their canteens when they were about to be captured.

Open house at Pine Grove Park recalls days as CCC and POW camps
The Carlisle Sentinel - 9/6/98

Randy Beam's father told him stories of German prisoners unloaded from trains near the place now occupied by Twirley Top drive-in in Dickinson Township. The World War II prisoners marched to "Pine Grove Prisoner of War Camp", located nearby in what's now Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Beam, 38, of Gardners, developed a fascination with World War II that draws him back to the former prisoner of war camp, located just north of Route 233 in Cooke Township. "I've been up to the camp several times looking around," he says. "It's very interesting." Beam was among dozens who turned out Saturday for an open house devoted to the fascinating history of Camp Michaux, which also served as a base for the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps and as a church camp until the early-1970s.

Another was Carol Jones, a Cooke Township resident who lives near the former camp and spends lots of time poking around there. She's come across the old water fountain at the center of the camp, an old swimming pool and crumbling foundations. But she also discovered a shortage of information about the POW camp. "We find it's very scarce... I don't know if that's because it was top secret," she says. The POW camp operated from 1943 to 1946 on a site selected for its seclusion but also for its proximity to Carlisle Barracks and Washington, D.C. It housed 1,500 prisoners over the years. Most were Germans, including members of Rommel's elite Afrika Corps and the man credited with inventing Germany's V1 and V2 rockets (Metcalf disputes this information).  A few Japanese officers also were held there. All returned home in 1946.

In the mid-1970s, the state forestry department leveled the camp buildings. It wasn't until then that anyone realized the oil paintings that had hung on the walls for decades were the work of German prisoners.

The paintings were saved and some displayed at the park office Saturday. Information is plentiful regarding the former CCC camp that occupied the site for about 10 years beginning in the early 1930s.

Other POW Camps in Pennsylvania

German Prisoners of World War 2 - English version

News Updates From Dave Smith  
Camp Michaux Recognition and Development
Cumberland County Historical Society


On 4/17/2022 1:43 PM, David Smith wrote:
Thanks go out to Michael Zick, Andre Weltman, Diane Batt, Vince Montano and Kathryn Sterner for their help with the Camp Michaux trail work yesterday. We accomplished the most urgent items on my list. Thank you, Thank you.

Some of you mentioned that you would be interested in going up to the camp in the coming weeks to do some additional work especially since you were not available for the work day. The following items would be helpful. Most only involved small saws, shovels, loppers and hedge trimmers. Let me know of any work you are able to do so I can take it off my list.
I had 30+ attendees at the walking tour in the afternoon. Your work to improve the trails was noted and appreciated.

 Stop  2 - Farm House - clear re-emerging saplings and weeds. I am hoping at some point to clear the area west of the farmhouse where the two-story section
                 of the farmhouse stood. It would be great if we can find the original foundation.
Stop 10 - Clear both gate structure concrete bases (shovel work).
Stop 13 - Clear downed logs from site of former medical building
Stop 14 - Clear re-emerging saplings and weeds.
Stop 29 - Trail extension - clear Vesper Hill 2 of re-emerging saplings and weeds
Stop 30 - Rrail extension - clear vegetation around the site and within the water tank structure.
Stop 15 - Clear weeds and regrowth at assembly area mound just south of German mess hall.
Stop 17 - Fill hole that has opened adjacent to trail (tripping hazard). Use shovels to clear concrete pad of former pavilion. Debris can be used to fill the hole.
Stop 21 - Clear emerging regrowth at the mess hall site
Stop 23 - Use shovels to clear concrete pad at recreation area.

Special thanks to the twelve volunteers today:  Eric and William Kelso, Jack, Josh, and Connor Meikrantz, Diane Blatt, Andre Weltman, Mike Zick, Vince Montano, Kathryn Sterner, and Adin Otto.  Great day and we accomplished everything on the list.  When I did my afternoon tour with 23 participants, it was much easier to move through the camp with everything that got accomplished.  Thanks to those who were able to participate.

David Smith
Camp Michaux Project Director
Cumberland County Historical Society

Hi all, Spring 2021

I did my annual walk through the camp yesterday to determine how much cleanup will need to be done.  As usual, there is a lot to do.  

I am proposing  a work day on the morning of Saturday, April 10 from 8:30 to noon.  We will need the usual tools including chain saws.

However, first I need to report that the state historical marker which was showing signs of paint deterioration was removed the the State this winter and has been completely restored.  Make sure to take a look at it when you come to the camp.  It looks great!

There are two main issues to address this year - restoring the trail system on the east side of the camp and removing fallen trees on the west side.  Here is a list of what needs to be done.  

Hope to see you on the 10th,   David

  • Stop One:  Clear brush next to the marker.

  • Stop Two:  Restablish the trail from Bunker Hill Road to the farm house site.  Although you can now see the farm house from stop one, we need to reestablish the trail so it coordinates with the walking tour book.  This basically means removing the trees and shrubs downed by the Royer last year and make it clear where the trail is.

  • Stop Three:  The trail from Stop Two to Three is similarly obscured by the cut vegetation.  Again, we need to restablish where the trail is supposed to be.  There is a large tree down that could be removed from the trail although it is easy to walk around it.

  • Stop Four:  The work we did last year to restablish the trail is in good shape.

  • Barn Wall:  If someone feels energetic, it would be great to get the vegetation cut around the wall.  

  • Stop Seven:  Remove brush around the sign.  The  pad site of the Interrogation Building is in good shape.

  • Stop Nine:  Clear site of the Recreation Hall building.

  • Stop 15 and 16:  This area needs work but an Eagle Scout Project will be taking care of the site this spring.

  • Stop 16-17: - Tree down across the trail

  • Stop 18-19 - Tree down across the trail

  • The alterate trail to look at the bypass of Tom's Run and the far side of the original swimming area needs to be reestablished.

  • Stop 20 - Tree down across trail.

  • There is a large tree partially down near Stop 23.  We will need to assess if it is safe to remain in that condition. 

  • I did not walk the alternate trail to the water tanks.  It may need work.



        April 16, 2018
Hi all,
Had a great work day on Saturday at Camp Michaux.  Seven volunteers came, three with chain saws.  In three hours we completed the bulk of the work I had hoped to accomplish.  In addition, the missing marker post #10 was located.  Because of the extensive work completed, there will not be a need to have a second work day next Saturday.  There are a few places that could use some additional brush clearing, but I don't think there is enough to warrant another day. 

The volunteers I made note of were John Kehrle, Vince Montano, and Art Herrold in addition to myself.  We had a new volunteer, Adin Otto, but he doesn't have an email.  I neglected to make note of two other volunteers.  If the two of you will let me know your names, I would like to make a record of it. 

Adin brought a photo post card c. 1913 that I had never seen before.  I scanned it and made enlargements of two sections of the card that show the farmhouse and the barn. 


           March 18, 2018
I did my Spring walk-through at Camp Michaux today.  Although some of the camp is in good shape following the herbicidal spraying that was done last year, the winter has been hard on the camp and there is more work to do this year than there has been in the past couple of years.  



Hi all,   April 2, 2016

Great work day yesterday.  The weather cooperated and Diane and Bob, Art, Andre and I got a number of things done - although I spent five hours giving tours to a group of 15 and another group of 31.  The following was accomplished:

  • Fallen tree cut up and removed from the trail

  • Lower latrine/shower house site re-cleared

  • Farm house site re-cleared

  • Overgrowth of brush on the west side of the barn removed

  • Recreation hall site re-cleared

  • Barracks site across from the recreation hall re-cleared

  • CCC Education Building site re-cleared

  • Sanitary filter area re-cleared

  • Trails throughout the camp were cleared of over overhanging brush

Two sites continue to need work if time permits over the next few weeks including the German Mess Hall and the Commander's Office/Home.  They only need re-clearing (loppers and hedge trimmers).  Keeping up with the re-growth makes the job easier each Spring.

Thanks to those who volunteered yesterday. 
David Smith
Camp Michaux Recognition and Development

March 11, 2016   Hi Gang,

I made my annual Spring assessment Camp Michaux this morning. It is in really good shape. There are a few minor issues to deal with at some of the usual sites - Vesper Hill, Interrogation Building, Recreation Hall, Commanders Headquarters, German Prisoner's Mess Hall, and the Steps to Nowhere. Those issue should be able to be taken care of with pruners, loppers and rakes.

The work we did last year on the trail to the water tanks has held up well. If we spray some week killer on the trail in a few weeks, it should hold up well for another year.

The only place requiring a chain saw is on the trail between the lower latrine/shower house and the CCC Education Building. There is a large tree across the trail. The east end of the Education Building could also use some clean up which can be done with loppers and pruners. 

The camp looks good - with all the snow, the weeks are really knocked down and there is water again in the old swimming pond. The state has not moved forward yet with removing that dam and nothing has been done to disturb the upper dam. 

The only big disappointment is the partial loss of the barn wall. Enough is still standing to clearly mark the site. One first floor window survives as well as the corners of the wall. 

I am proposing a work day on April 2 to deal with the issues mentioned above. Let me know if you can help. I will have a college group at 9 and a CCHS Tour at 1, so I will be able to help get volunteers started. Most of you know the site well, so feel free to just go ahead and start working if you can't find me. Also, feel free to come on another day and work on your own. 

Have a great Spring!
David Smith
Camp Michaux Recognition and Development


Report about April 4 & 11 Work days - 2015.
    There is more to do at the camp than I first anticipated. Michaux State Forest is providing either wood chips or gravel to put on the new trail to the water tanks...

  March 2015

  I made my annual Spring inspection tour of Camp Michaux today.  Basically, the trials are in good shape.  There is very little clean-up needed to get them back in shape.  Some work is needed on individual sites where regrowth of barbary and other invasive plants are obscuring the sites....

March 26, 2014
On Monday a group organized by the South Mountain Partnership leader, Jon Petersen, met at the camp to discuss the feasibility of using goats to control invasive species.  Input from the head of Kings Gap Environmental Center was particularly helpful since he had used goats in this way last year.  It seems possible to control regrowth in some areas of the camp without limiting access or disturbing sensitive historic foundations.  Roy Brubaker is going to continue to pursue looking into ways of doing this.


On Tuesday a group of leaders from a variety of state agencies met at the camp to discuss the state's intention to breach the two dams on the Tom's Run in the future.  Both dams were examined carefully (in the snow) and the historic significance of each was discussed.  The environmental leaders attending the visit believed it was possible to minimally disturb historic features and still restore stream flow to normal.  This will be dependent on engineering assessments that will need to be done in the next year or so and the associated costs.  These assessments will look at optional ways to accomplish the environmental goals while still being sensitive to the history of the area. 


 March 15, 3014

I went up to the camp today and found it in amazingly good shape considering the winter we just went through (and I guess are still going through).  We shouldn't have a lot of work to do to get it back in shape - we may not need four work days this year.  I would like to open a short new trail from the main trail to the west end of the "old" swimming area.  There are some interesting concrete features there that would be good to access, however it will involve some chain saw work to remove fallen trees and to get through some significant barbary growth.  There is also a tree that needs to be taken down at the "new" swimming pool.  Let me know when you will be available, particularly those of you with chain saws, so we can determine which of the Saturdays in April we should work.


Discussions are ongoing regarding the use of goats and removing the dams.  I will be attending two meetings the end of the month regarding this.  During my visit today I noted that the lower dam is no longer functioning at all.  Tom's Run has cut its own channel using the bypass channel erected by the church camp in 1946.  Water no longer flows into the pond. I don't know if this will have any effect on the discussions regarding the dams or not. I'll keep you informed.


Feb., 2014
The Dickinson Archeology class will again be working at the camp this semester. 

The suggestion had been made to use goats to help control invasive species at the camp. Roy Brubaker is currently pursuing discussions with a farmer regarding doing this. It could make our jobs a lot easier each spring if this can be worked out.

Finally, and probably most importantly, the State is raising issues regarding the dams on Toms Run. I have known about this issue for a year or more and now know that the two dams on the Run have reached the top of the State's priority list for removal. I will be meeting with staff at Michaux Forest on March 25 regarding this issue. It is my hope that we will be able to preserve as much of the structural integrity of both the old church camp swimming area and the drinking water reservoir futher to the west so that the historical use of those areas will still be able to be seen. I don't know exactly how the tension between historical significance and the need to return Tom's Run to its natural flow will be resolved.

Dave Smith

Dear Friends of Camp Michaux,  April 27, 2013 work day    

Yesterday was a perfect day for working at Camp Michaux. Pat and Carl Leinbach, Vince Montano and I worked on reclearing and then expanding the cleared area at the Forestry Office/Interrogation Building/Michaux Lodge site. The work yesterday underscored the need to address the issues of invasive species and control of them with chemicals. I will discuss this issue further with Roy Brubaker, District Forester.

Issues with minor vandalism to the marker posts continue. Two of the posts locate close to each other had been switched, and one of the new posts installed at the beginning of the month was turned upside down. We didn't reinstall the directional post removed (but found) earlier this spring. It is apparently necessary to use concrete in some of the post holes. I will try to do that this week.

Thanks to all who helped this year. Vince and I toured the camp in the afternoon and identified potential sites for next year's work.

Have a great summer.
David Smith

 April 20, 2012

See Karl Smith's Poster about the camp
     Today was another great work day at Camp Michaux and also highly unique because of the work being done by the archeology class from Dickinson. Thanks to Art, Gary, Carl and Pat, Bob and Diane and new volunteer, Don Raley. In addition to helping the students when areas they needed to get to required some clearing, we did extensive clearing at the German POW Mess Hall. In particular, we cleared the area around the place where roll call was held each day next to the mess hall. We also recleared the mess hall area of returned growth from our clearing 3 years ago. In the afternoon attention was shifted to the area east of the main mess hall. An opening was created between the east end of the mess hall and the POW era flagpole. 

     Professor Maria Bruno had the archeology students work in three groups. One group mapped an area on the south of the camp  looking for evidence of native American use of the area. In particular the students were looking for rhyolite (used for tool making). Retired geology professor Noel Potter accompanied the group. No specific rhyolite finds were made, but the students encountered and mapped two charcoal hearths. The second group focused on the middle of the camp in the area between the main mess hall and the German POW mess hall. Several items were found on the surface. The third group focused on the farm area on the east end of the camp. A variety of surface finds were located, photographed, and removed for cataloging. 

April 13 Weekend

Thanks to Josh, Pat, Paul, Andre, Gary, VInce and Dan for joining me today for a great work day at Camp Michaux.  We accomplished extensive additional clearing at the farm house.  You can almost picture the building that once stood there.  In the afternoon Gary, Vince and Josh cleared the old CCC gas pumping station for the first time. We knew where it was, but getting to it was quite difficult.  Having it cleared adds one more location to view.  I had six people on my 1:00 tour of the camp.
Looking ahead to next week, the archeology class will be there, so if you want to see archeology in action, come out between 8:30 and 12:30.  Any of you who can come to work, we will select a site away from where the students are working and do additional clearing. 
The wooden post with a directional arrow near the farmhouse has again been removed.  This time we couldn't locate it and the person who removed it carefully disguised the post hole after removing the post.  I hope this is the full extent of the vandalism although I found several posts had been realigned so it would be difficult for people following the self-guided tour to locate them. 
On a final note, I revised the walking tour guidebook this week.  I hope to have it posted on line at the CCHS website this coming week.  The revised version corrects information in the original that needed changing based on evidence located since 2011 and includes the new optional trail to the water tanks. 

April 6 Weekend

Josh Capp and I were a small but effective work crew yesterday at Camp Michaux.  We installed three new post markers along the extension of the trail to the water tanks, cleared the steps near the CCC Education Building, and cleared an area to the west of the farm house in hopes of locating a well, cistern or outhouse.  We didn't locate any of those features but did uncover a stone and concrete path.  Also found were a horse shoe and the broken top of a 19th century bottle.  I will be updating the walking tour book that is posted on line so that those interested can access the new section of trail. 
While walking around the camp we found our first evidence of vandalism.  Those of you familiar with the posts installed two years ago know that in addition to the 27 numbered posts (now 30), there were three posts with arrow markers indicating a change in direction of the trail.  We found two of those three posts had been removed.  Josh spotted one of them along the side of the trail and we reinstalled it.  The other one near the German prisoner's mess hall was not found.  Fortunately, all the other posts are still in place. 

March 10, 2012

I did a walk through the camp this morning and am happy to report that the Michaux State Forest staff has been busy again at the camp. The deteriorating CCC sign has been either fully restored or replaced and a protective roof placed over it. A similar protective roof now covers the Camp Michaux sign as well. A new sign designates the barn wall and protective coverings have been placed over the two signs giving credit to the South Mountain partnership. Thank you Roy and crew. 

The Saturdays in April are again planned for work days at the camp. Please let me know when you will be able to help. We will plan to work from 9 - 3 each day, but feel free to come any part of the designated time. 

The snows of winter were sufficient to beat down much of the undergrowth. There is some cleanup to do on the trail to Vesper Hill and the main trail into the camp caused by the freak snow storm in October. That work requires chain saws. A

A new site has been located north of the camp. We are not sure of its history, but it might be good to clear a trail to it. It may be an old ice house or it may have something to do with the hunting lodge that is supposed to be on the site somewhere. There is also a part of the water system near the ruins of this building. If any of the former Camp Michaux people have some idea of the history of these stone foundations, it would be good to hear about it. 

Snow Storm
- the recent untimely snow storm in the east did significant damage in Cooke Township.  The area around Camp Michaux is still without power.  I led two tours this past Saturday and found most of the trails we cleared are open, but there are a lot of limbs down which will need to be cleared - some large enough to require chain saws.  The biggest problem is on the former main roadway into the camp (near the round concrete POW marker - STOP 8 on the tour).  Two very large trees are down and a lot of chainsaw work will need to be done to get that area open again.  This can all wait until next Spring, however, I know some of you like to go up on your own to work at the site so I thought I would let you know now in case you need something to do in the next few months.

National Register - the nomination for the National Register was returned with a long list of required changes.  I plan to continue to work on it over the coming months, but since there is no deadline, and the changes require additional research and an entire new set of photographs and maps, I am going to approach it more slowly than I did the first submission. 

 John Bland - the author of The Secret War at Home... has moved to Texas.  Before leaving, he turned all his files over to the Historical Society.  I am now continuing his work to enter all the names of the prisoners in a database.  The list now contains 4000 names up to the end of October 1944.  That leaves the remainder of 1944 to complete and all of 1945.  As with the nomination, I will work on it a slow pace.  CCC sign - the official CCC sign at the camp is deteriorating.  I am trying to find out who is responsible for the sign.  I am hoping it can be repaired.  If any of you have any ideas regarding who may be the appropriate contact regarding this, let me know. 
I am continuing a project begun by John Bland before he moved to Texas to create a database of all the prisoners who passed through Pine Grove Furnace POW Interrogation Camp between May of 1943 and the end of 1945.  At present, effective July 15, 1945,  the list contains 7,400 German names.  I suspect that by the time the list is completed with the remaining German names and the additional Japanese prisoners that came in that fall, there will be over 8000 names in the database.
The POW database is completed.  Following a careful review of the database requiring the combining of more that 300 entries that were partial records of the same prisoner, the results are as follows: 

    7313 Germans
    161 Japanese
        1  Italian    
  7475 Total

Hi to all Camp Michaux friends,
Yesterday was another great day of progress on the Camp Michaux project.  Ten volunteers put in from 2 to 5 hours each on clearing trails and setting numbered posts.  Special thanks to Diane and Mary Beth who dug and placed nine numbered posts.  Only 21 to go.  Begee and Ron cleared part of the former Intelligence Building site and John Bland, Diane, Gary, Andre Weltman, Vince Montano, Rich, and Mary Beth worked together to clear additional trails and the sites of the commanders headquarters, the German prisoners dining hall, and the steps to nowhere.
   Vince, Rich and I cleared the path to the incinerator.  The entire trail is now cleared up to stop 22 and the remaining trail area has initial trail clearing completed.  Work in the next three weeks will focus on placing the remaining numbered posts, clearing the trail from stops 23 -27, and completing additional clearance work on a number of the individual sites including the infirmary, the CCC education building, the dining halls and the recreation building.  At present, there are only 5 signed up for the 16th and 2 for the 23rd.  Let me know who can come on those days.
Thanks for all your help and support, David Thanks for all your help and support,
Thanks to John, Andre, Mike, Gary, BeGee, Ron, Vince and Rich for all the hard work accomplished at Camp Michaux on Saturday.  We cleared trials from proposed Stop One to Stop Fourteen.  What a great effort!  As we learned, chain saws are a definite need with this effort in addition to other less mechanically intensive equipment. 

March 18, 2011
Thought you all would want to know that the State has approved the placement of historical markers at Camp Michaux.  I don't have the details yet, but will keep you posted about the specifics as they unfold.  There will be an official unveiling of the signs in May or June.  In the meantime, it's time to get to work during the Saturdays in April to prepare the site for more visitors.  Hope to see you all then.

April 16, 2011 -  Hi Friends of Camp Michaux,
Six of us met today and completed the installation of numbered posts.  The weather was worse than predicted, but we persevered.  Special thanks to Diane and Bob, Ann, Michel, and Mary.  Great work under miserable conditions.

April 25, 2011 -  Hi Friends of Camp Michaux,
This past Saturday, eight volunteers continued the work at the former Camp Michaux.  Thanks to  Mary Beth , Vince Montano, Begee, Dan, Pat, Carl Leinbach and Jay, clearing of the trail is now completed.  We also finished clearing the site of the former POW Intelligence Building.  Significant work was completed on clearing the site of the recreation hall and work was begun on the main dining hall.  We found that at least part of the foundation of the old dining hall is still there.  It has been covered over with leaf debris over the last 35 years.  One of our efforts on the last scheduled work day next Saturday, April 30 will be to clear as much of that foundation as possible. 

April 27
Friends of Camp Michaux,
    Today was another successful work day at Camp Michaux.  Thanks to the following volunteers who accomplished a tremendous amount of work:  Andre Weltman, Art, Herrold, Mikel, Ann , Gary (who worked on Friday) and the crew from the UCC Zion Church in Arendtsville  Kim , Jerry, Tony, Wayne, Roger and Brandan. 
    Tasks accomplished include resetting Marker Six, additional clearing at the Infirmary, completed clearing of the POW dining hall, initiated and completed clearing of the POW barracks,  clearing of the "star" area near the POW dining hall, significant additional clearing of the main dining hall, clearing of the  administration building, additional clearing of the recreation hall and additional clearing at the commander's office and residence.
    This was the last scheduled work day.  Thanks to all the volunteers who made significant improvements in the accessibility to the camp site.   I plan to send the completed self-guided tour book for posting on the Cumberland County Historical Society's web site this week.  

Thanks again for everyone's help.
David Smith

David L. Smith
Camp Michaux Project Director
Cumberland County Historical Society
Please contact me at: [email protected]

Dave Smith's History of the Camp


Camp Store at Pine Grove Pine Grove Furnace State Park

     The Pine Grove Furnace Camp Store is a welcome retreat at the midway point of the AT to rest and dine.  Six to ten people each week complete the challenge -- to eat a half gallon of Hershey Ice Cream at one sitting!  Stop here for lunch on the porch when you visit the area. We had only two scoops of Moose Tracks 

The History of Pine Grove Furnace

     The Furnace at Pine Grove is one of the best preserved in the state.  The furnaces to the south such as those in Caledonia State Park were destroyed by Gen. Early's Confederate troops as they marched on Gettysburg.  Also see the Cornwall Iron Furnace

History from Old Industries Web Site

How my G.Grandfather won the Civil War!

Pine Grove Furnace

The History of Pine Grove Furnace

In 1764, George Stevenson, Robert Thornburgh, and John Arthur built the first iron furnace at Pine Grove, which they enlarged in 1770. The furnace manufactured cast iron products like, ten plate stoves, fireplace backs and iron kettles. In 1782, Michael Ege purchased the furnace, iron mine, mill and mill house. By his death in 1803, Michael was the sole owner of the Pine Grove ironworks and two other ironworks in the area.

His son, Peter, became the Pine Grove Furnace iron master and from 1827 to 1829 built a stately brick English Tudor mansion, currently the A.Y.H. Hostel. In 1830, Peter added Laurel Forge to the ironworks. With six fires, runouts and trip hammer, Laurel Forge could produce 2,000 net tons of blooms a year. Laurel Forge reheated and hammered the cast iron ingots from Pine Grove Furnace to produce wrought iron, a product that could be bent in many shapes.

The financial panic of 1837 bankrupted tens of thousands of Americans including Peter Ege. At a sheriff’s sale the following year, 37-year old Frederick Watts, later to be known as the father of Pennsylvania State University, and his partner, Charles B. Penrose, purchased Pine Grove Iron Works for $52,000.

In 1864, the ironworks changed to a corporation. A group of investors formed the South Mountain Iron Company and brought in Jackson C. Fuller as the furnace manager. The new iron company also began construction of the South Mountain Railroad to bring raw materials to the furnace and move its iron products to market.

Jackson was a life long friend of the chief investor, Jay Cooke, who is credited with almost single handedly financing the Union’s efforts in the Civil War with the concept of selling war bonds to the public. Jay Cooke found himself deep in debt and went bankrupt, causing the financial panic of 1873. It took the federal government nine years to recover from Cooke’s financial failure.

In 1877, through his friend Jackson, Jay Cooke bought back the ironworks portion of the old company at sheriff’s sale under the newly created corporation called the South Mountain Mining and Iron Company. The Cumberland Valley Railroad bought the other half of the old South Mountain Railroad. Throughout the winter of 1878, the iron furnace went through a total renovation raising the stack to 36 feet with closed bell and hopper on top, a steam hoist to raise raw material to the top of the new stack and three tuyeres to force air into the furnace with the new steam blowing engine which replaced the old blowing tubs.

These innovations allowed the furnace to operate on fuels other than charcoal, which was becoming harder to secure due to constant harvesting of the forests. Now the furnace could be operated on coke and when that was low, anthracite coal could be mixed with the coke. Charcoal would remain the primary fuel of the furnace, but the furnace would no longer have to shutdown when charcoal supplies were exhausted. 1883 marked the peak production year for the furnace, producing 6,000 net tons of cast iron annually, but new technologies quickly put small iron producers out of business.

Pine Grove Furnace went out of blast for the final time in 1895, ending 131 years of iron making in South Mountain.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

In 1913, the South Mountain Mining and Iron Company sold the ironworks, encompassing 17,000 acres, to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be part of the new Forest Reserve system. Much of the land became Michaux State Forest, but part became Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Some of the historic buildings dating back to the charcoal iron community still stand and include the furnace, ironmaster’s mansion, clerks office, stable, grist mill (now the Visitor Center), the inn (now the park office) and several residences. Remnants of raceways, charcoal hearths and related man-made features are still discernible.

Fuller Lake was the major ore quarry for Pine Grove Furnace. The quarry filled with groundwater when mining ceased. Laurel Lake once supplied water power to Laurel Forge.

In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established Camp S-51. The CCC boys built roads, trails and facilities until 1941.

In 1977, Pine Grove Furnace was entered in the National Register of Historical Places.


Lee Schaeffer