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Timeline of Key Events

B.C. About 1.03 billion years ago, at the end of the Ottawan Orogeny mountain building period, the distinctive pink Lyon Mountain granite was intruded into portions of the Adirondacks including the area from Piercefield to Childwold. This granite is visible in rock cuts along Route 3, and presumably underlies the "mountain" in upper Pioneer and along the Mountaineer Road. It is associated with the magnetite iron ores found at the now-closed Benson Mines. The presence of magnetite helps explain the magnetic deviations in parts of northern Massawepie.
More recently (ending about 12,000 years ago), Wisconsin Period glaciers covered Massawepie, forming such features as the famous Massawepie Esker (along the Massawepie Road) and the various ponds. For example, Round Pond is a classic glacial kettle pond.
1890 Childwold Park House summer resort hotel opens on Massawepie Lake in the field between what later became Camps Pioneer and Voyageur. The hotel capacity was 250 guests, plus additional room in the numerous cottages around the lake front. Guests arrived over the "Carriage Road" from the Childwold Railroad Station near Conifer.
1909 Childwold Park House closed, after serving many well-to-do guests from all over the world.
1912 Massawepie property sold to Emporium Lumber Company of Conifer, NY, whose owners (the Sykes family) primarily used Massawepie as a private family resort.
1920's The area around what later became Camp Pioneer was leased to a private military school for use as a private summer camp, Camp Massawepie.
1948 An Otetiana Council camp search committee, which was considering over 200 sites, first visited the Massawepie Lake area. (The Otetiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves Rochester and Monroe County, NY.)
1951 In September, Otetiana Council purchased almost 2850 acres of land, the key Massawepie parcel, for $105,000. The Council Executive at the time was Frederic Wellington (now remembered by "Wellington Lodge" at Massawepie), and the Director of Camping was Bob Parkinson.
1952 By January 1, over $542,000 had been raised for the Otetiana Council Camp Expansion Campaign, to pay for Massawepie and improvements to the original Camp Cutler (now part of Webster Park). Harley Burgdorf, former administrator of Selkirk Shores State Park, was hired as the first Superintendent of Massawepie. Camp Pioneer opened for camping with 1375 boys in attendance.
1953 Beaver Weekend held at Massawepie in June. Camp Mountaineer opened, and almost 2000 Scouts attended Massawepie. A new Counselor-in-Training program was started.
1954 The former Camp Eagle Island in Sodus Bay was sold, but the name was preserved by applying it to the island at the south end of Massawepie Lake. Two Beaver Weekends were held at Massawepie. Over 2000 Scouts attended Massawepie.
1955 Because of increased attendance, a ninth week was added to the Massawepie season, just before Labor Day. This week was designated exclusively for Explorer units and featured canoe and mountain trips. Beaver Weekend reverted to just one weekend in June. A steel flagpole for Mountaineer was donated by Thomas Healy Post, VFW, and a B&O Railroad locomotive bell was secured as the Camp Pioneer fire alarm.
1956 Camp Voyageur opened with a capacity of 125 boys for the first season. The Davenport-Hatch Foundation donated funds for the construction of a cottage (Cabin #1) located on Catamount Pond near the Roy Warren Administration Building. This was the first in a planned series of family cottages, now numbering 13. An additional 11.5 acres of land on Catamount Pond near the Massawepie entrance was purchased for $6000.
1957 Camp Voyageur began operating at its full capacity of 250 Scouts. Almost 3000 Scouts and leaders attended Massawepie, and Explorer Week attendance was up significantly.
1958 A joint Boy Scout/Girl Scout capital campaign in Rochester raised over $1,260,000, which helped pay for completion of Camp Voyageur and restoration of the Pitkin House on East Avenue as the Otetiana Council Servicenter, along with purchasing Girl Scout Camp Pinewood near Dansville and renovating Camp Beechwood near Sodus.
1959 New buildings at Massawepie included the Voyageur camp office and trading post, and the new central health lodge. 3002 Scouts, Explorers, leaders, and camp staff members from 147 different units attended Massawepie.
1960 An additional 705 acres to expand Massawepie was purchased from Niagara Mohawk Power Company for $4000. Explorer Week at Massawepie included an Air Force survival training course, with Senior Girl Scouts also invited. The Camp Pioneer Dining Hall was renamed "Fay Lodge" after Sumner Fay, who donated $190,000 to the council Trust Fund to help support Massawepie. Sumner Fay, from Troop 38, had served on the search committee that originally discovered and developed Massawepie.
1961 Beaver Weekend offered a new bus transportation option to 41 Scouters for $6 each. A new Massawepie promotional movie was narrated by sports broadcaster Tom Decker.
1962 Scouts from 155 troops camped a total of 5020 boy weeks at Massawepie. Five members of Troop 15 hiked 400 miles from Rochester to Massawepie along the Barge Canal and Hudson River.
1969 Camp Forester commissary building built. Forester opened with 6 troop sites as Massawepie's first patrol cooking camp. The CIT program was restored to Massawepie.
1970 Camp Forester nears full-scale operation. Camp Pioneer closed at the end of its reduced 6-week summer season.
1976 "Camp Voyageur" operates mostly out of the Camp Pioneer facilities.
1977 Camp Pioneer is reopened for one year and Camp Voyageur closes.
1978 Camp Pioneer closes again. Camps Mountaineer and Forester remain open.
1979 The former Voyageur dining hall was converted into Gannett Lodge, with hopes of attracting some rental business during the 1980 Winter Olympics.
1990 Adirondack Scout Reservation (ASR), a partnership of the Otetiana and Hiawatha Councils to jointly operate Camps Massawepie and Sabattis, opened.
1994 Camp Forester closed at the end of the summer season.
1999 ASR is dissolved, Otetiana Council again operates Massawepie independently. A $1.8 million renovation of Camp Pioneer begins, funded by the "Timeless Values" capital campaign.
2000 Scouts began enjoying the NEW Camp Pioneer, which was dedicated in July.


Along the Trail of Otetiana ... the First Fifty Years by the Historical Society of Otetiana Council, esp. Roy Bippes & Tom Van Griethuysen (unpublished manuscript)

Recollections of Massawepie History, author unknown

"Rock of Ages", by James McLelland in Adirondack Life, Volume XXXII, Number 5, July/August, 2001, p.64

Archives of the Historical Society of Otetiana Council

Numerous interviews with friends of Massawepie

The information on this page was gathered as part of a Massawepie History project in preparation for Massawepie's 50th Anniversary in 2002. This information is as complete and accurate as is currently known. Any corrections or additions are welcome, as are other tidbits of Massawepie History. Send them to Peter Collinge (see below, or mail to 77 Tall Oak Lane, Pittsford, NY 14534).

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Web Page Designed and Maintained by Peter Collinge
Added to the Web: May 13, 1999; Last Updated: March 10, 2002