Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1897 Camp Fowlerville

Every summer, in the late 1800s, the editor of the local newspaper would report what group of village residents was vacationing and where. As I read the following list, it rang a bell with me:

C.D. Hamilton and wife, Ford Smith and wife, E.P. Carr, Stella Spencer, Fame Benjamin, Ollie Greenaway, Nora Gue, of this place and Lloyd Curtis of Toledo, Fred Greenaway of Chicago, Edward Greenaway and Sue Smith of Williamston, Miss F. Hopkins of Mendon, are camping at Portage Lake this week.

That particular listing of names made me search back to a picture I found in the Fowlerville Historical Collection labeled 'Camp Fowlerville, 1897,' and which I included in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles. I wondered at the time if there actually was an organized camp and where it might be, but I never found any information.

Recently, though, as I was going through old articles, the above announcement of vacationing friends seemed to fit the picture below: The back of the photograph was labeled as (standing left to right), Nora Gue, Claude Hamilton, Vera Smith, Ford Smith, Ethel Hamilton, Mrs. Dickson, (young girl not identified, and sitting), E.P. Carr, Ed Greenaway, Ollie Greenaway Garland, Fame Benjamin, and Sue Greenaway. So, was this group part of the ones listed by the local paper as attending Portage Lake, and was this 'Camp Fowlerville?' The list is not exactly the same but certainly close.

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