Camp Loyalty – Syracuse Council
1913 – 1929
Crooked Lake, Tully, New York
Camp Loyalty on Crooked Lake, at the foot of Tully Mountain, near Tully, New York (3 miles) was used as a Scout Camp by Scouts from Syracuse, New York and vicinity in 1913. It was situated on some 19 or 20 acres of higher land, between two swampy woodlands on the shore of Crooked Lake. A small, pretty grove of red oak, maple, beech and service berry (shad bush) on the shores of the lake was the natural center of the camp. A picnic table located on a high point served as a center for “classes” and campfires were held in good weather evenings, nearby. A cistern pump occupied a low spot. Its water was cold and tasty. Like may other camps, this area was probably a local picnic ground before the Scouts came.
Early in 1917, the F. R. Hazard Lodge with its beautiful memorial fireplace and memorial plaque was built on the higher point of land between the lake and the pond on the southern side of the grove. The materials for the fireplace were furnished by B. J. Cummins, father of Jerry Cummins.
The F. R. Hazard family in those days was the Solvay Process Company (later Allied Chemical). The company used the waters of Crooked Lake in their brine wells located near Tully Farms, in the valley, just below the headwall, adjacent to Vesper Gorge and Fellow’s Falls. Through the interests of the Hazard family and the Trump family, the Scout organization had the use of this camping area from 1913 until 1929, when Camp Woodland at Constantia became the official Onondaga Council Camp.
Scrap books and records including promotional camp bulletins show that Robert S. Henderson, Cornell student and graduate directed the camp in 1914, 1915, 1916 and 1917.
New Mess Hall – 1917
When A. R. Forbush, resigned as Council Scout Executive, Bob Henderson went on from Camp Director to Council Scout Executive. I knew him first in his new capacity. The camp advisory board in 1914 was composed of Charles C. Trump, chairman and A. V. Person, Dr. John W. Plant, H. F. “Daddy” Lee and a Mr. Bond. Later Prof. J. A. Shea, A. W. Hudson, Prof. J. Fred Baker, F. V. Bruns, H. P. Naumann, and C. E. Chappell, of the store in Syracuse, served on this board. Hundreds of community leaders served actively on this board through the years. In my day, Carroll Savage, Capt. Barnes (Dentist), Ray King and Fred McKibban, were most active at Loyalty and Camp Syracuse. The permanence and stability these men gave the camp and its program as volunteers accounts for its long term of effective operation. Their sage advice, contributions of money and supplies, and more often than not, physical labor, and expert help developed the camp and its program from its modest beginnings to the Scout training center it became. I can recall hearing the statement made and repeated with pride “Camp Loyalty is the oldest Scout Camp continuing on one site in the United States.”
There were many improvements and innovations at Camp Loyalty over the years. The men mentioned above, and many others were constantly on the alert to the needs and the opportunities available. When I first knew Camp Loyalty, its only water came from a pitcher pump in the grove. Later we had “running” water fed, gravity flow, from a wonderful spring on “West” Mountain via a pipe line of 1 1/2 inch pipe, laid on the surface of the ground, except under the Preble Road, and reassembled each spring with great physical labor. Light was kerosene lanterns and Coleman lanterns (limited in quantity and controlled in use). Years later electricity came to Camp. This was a great boon to “guard duty” for on the mess hall tour a switch brought full light. The Camp Committee never let up. We got a new kitchen wing, complete with “walk in” ice cooler and new coal stoves, on the south side of Hazard Lodge. Naturally there had to be an Ice House to supply the cooler. I led a group of volunteers (painting merit badge) that gave Hazard Lodge its first coat of green paint. A “Hospital” Tent was added behind the First Aid Tent. In about 1925-26 the original 9 tents became 2 “villages”and 4 additional villages (platoons) were added, east and south of the original “campus”. In about 1926 a combined Trading Post and Handicraft Lodge was located in the area originally comprising Dr. Plant’s vegetable garden, supervised by “High” Mosher. About 1927 Eaton Lodge (Prof. Geology, Syracuse University), housing a circular fireplace and handicraft facilities was built on the ridge back of the original tents 4, 5 and 6.
The service clubs of Syracuse (Rotary leading the way) made the camp a gift of magnificent Skaneateles Skiffs and Canoes (Old Town) that gave us a deluxe boating and canoeing program. Winter Camp (under Clint Kirk) became an infant departure in 1919. A “Tree House” was built in a big maple northeast of the Campus. The Sea Scout Cruise (under “Daddy” Lee) on Seneca River and Cayuga Lake was conducted about 1919 or 1920. A bicycle trip to Thousand Islands, Fisher’s Landing, was led by George Morton in 1924. In 1923 Camp Syracuse (originally on 7th Lake, later on Brown’s Tract Ponds) inspired by Ken Rutherford, Scoutmaster and Principal at Fayetteville, was directed by Fay Welch, New York State College of Forestry student, son of Daddy Welch. Bill Lawrence was later the director of this camp. Clayt Ingison was the original Quartermaster under Welch. Dr. Panzone was Camp Doctor. Harry Reichard, once Director of Camp Loyalty, became Council Executive in 1923.
Since all of these “high adventure” programs were led by Camp Loyalty personnel and had their inspiration from Camp Loyalty people, they must be mentioned here. As Staff increased, experience accumulated, campers increased, facilities improved, the Camp program began to show additional imagination. Special events began to be planned. There were Camp Circuses, Minstrel Shows, Water Meets, Track Meets, “Wide” Games, exchange programs with YWCA Camp Avalon on Tully Lake, Parades and Ball Games in Tully, hikes to Little York, Fellows Falls and Labrador Pond, Evening Parade by Platoons, participation in the Syracuse Onondaga Park Swimming Meets, demonstrations of Swimming and Life Saving at Tully Lake Park, Council Fire Award Programs with Indian Dancing Teams in authentic Costumes, Camp Fire Programs to be looked forward to, our own string orchestra led by Dick Hobson, Winter Camp Reunions to promote camp attendance, bridge building at the Northern end of Tully Lake led by Bill Harlow, morning bird hikes, an improving Scout Advancement program, “Want-to-know-it”, a Winter Life Saving Club, Syracuse Post-Standard Rotogravure sections devoted to Camp Loyalty, and many other evidences of an ongoing program under good leadership.
My first session at Camp Loyalty came at the opening of the summer season in 1918. Although I joined Troop 16, of St. Marks Episcopal Church, formerly of Porter School, in the west end in the fall of 1917. Emilo A.Buchaca, whose house was behind the Trump home on West Genesee Hill, was Scoutmaster.
I can remember the family excitement as we prepared for my first camping trip as a Scout. Having registered for the first period, I was assigned the camp number 131 and we spent considerable time, as instructed, placing it on all my belongings.
The big day finally arrived. My parents and I went to the D. L. & W Station near the Company C. Armory in time, but very early, for the 8:55 a.m. train for Tully. To our utter confusion the ticket agent knew nothing of any big group of campers en-route to Camp Loyalty. We waited – and waited. Finally boys in uniform and parents began to arrive. At long last Clint Kirk, Camp Loyalty staff member came. He checked us over and shepherded us aboard the train. I knew none of the other Scouts. On the hour long ride to Tully we all got acquainted. At Tully, we disembarked and were loosely organized for the hike to camp, leaving our heavier baggage to come later by truck. It was fine weather and we hiked out of Tully south on the road to Cortland, turning west (right) at the cemetery. All of this was a strange adventure. We hiked past Green Lake and the entrance to Tully Lake and turned south (left) on the road to camp. We all enjoyed the hike and the fellowship.
At last we came to Camp Loyalty. The tents looked like the picture in the Boy Scout Handbook. There were 9 of them in an L formation with the long leg toward the Lake and the small leg back toward the road we entered on. Facing the long opening of the L and near the road was a large flag pole. The space between the flag pole and the tents was the campus and ball diamond. I drew Tent #3, Ted (or Tefft) Bassett, tent leader. The tents were white wall tents about 9~’x 12′, equipped with 4 and 2 man double bunks, 2 high, accommodating 8 with leader. Later, after World War I troops returned, we had Army Pyramidables, 16′ x 16′, which were higher and held more bunks when needed. We messed, we discovered later, in a large new, pavilion type dining hall, Hazard Lodge, which has a beautiful large fireplace at the east end and a kitchen at the west end. It was fitted with heavy shutters which were hinged to let down in time of storm. In the beginning the only lights were lanterns, later we had running water, gravity fed from a spring on the hill to the west of the lake, coming in by a long 1 ½ inch pipe line which ran on the surface and must be re-layed each year. Old type coal and wood stoves were used. Dishes were hand washed at first. Eight to ten campers and a leader were seated on benches at long wooden tables.
Things fell rapidly into place. For several nights we slept on the chicken fence wire 4 and 2 man double bunks and never knew we should have had straw ticks on the wire, until these came. Checkered backs were a common sight at the early morning “dip” taken nude and shivering in the lake. Early morning exercises taken to count on the campus, 3 times around the flag pole and then into the “dip”. The Camp Doctor could excuse you from this “dip” in case of dire need – few bothered. We thrived, and how, and ate like horses.
Things were just not ready, but we never knew. Everything was great. The leaders were great. The food was wonderful. So – no more campers appeared – who cared? The 30 or so we had really lived it up. As a result I, who had come to stay one 2 week period, and whose mother probably expected a call for help at the end of 2 or 3 days, stayed 8 with never a visit home. I enjoyed every minute of it.
We learned about K.P., morning details, tent and personal inspection, evening parade formations, camp fires, council fires, the “Rookie Squad”, “the buddy system”, “snipe hunts”, “Perch Tickets”, “the key to the flagpole”, “chipmunks eggs”, etc. We played soft ball, volley ball, quoits, tether bowling, etc. As more came to camp in later weeks activity increased and really came to a boil.
Willis B. “Red” Day introduced us to a legendary staff that became our heroes. As things got better organized, we learned to call them all “Mr.” or else. Later we saluted every leader we met. Nothing was accepted but absolute and instant obedience. Those who thought independently or otherwise first learned about “Hot Hands” and then later worked ignominiously on the “Rookie Squad”. There was absolute quiet from Taps to First Call, or else. But there was no real fear anywhere, we like and respected our leaders, who were our good friends and mentors. No one ever thought to protest this regimentation, I doubt if we ever recognized it for what it was.
We sang, we played, we ate, we studied, we thrived. Who could ask for more? We had morning details kitchen, boats, campus, perch, garden, wood, ice, garbage, etc.
We had Scout Craft classes in first aid, signaling, knife and axe, cooking, compass, mapping for 2nd or 1st class. We had Merit Badge instruction in swimming, life saving, first aid, cooking, camping, pioneering, personal health, bird study, marksmanship, athletics, plumbing, painting, photography, forestry, canoeing, rowing, masonry, and many more. Anything that would lead to Life, Star, and Eagle (the order in those days). No one was idle. “Bunk Duty” was a sin, and punishable.
So from 1918 through 19251 attended and enjoyed this great Scout Camp to the hilt. I earned in turn my camp emblems – L, CL, CL Bar, CL Double Bar and CLV, with coupes and grand coupes, as things progressed. 2nd Class, Ist Class, Life Star, and Eagle with palms all came my way, and not easily. I progressed from beginner, to swimmer, to Junior American Red Cross, to Senior ARC, to ARC Examiner, not without a struggle, the American Crawl came hard to me, but it had to be done. Thanks to a no less than wonderful Camp Life Guard led first by Harry Robinson and later by many other dedicated Staff members, we never had a serious accident in the water, during the Scout Camp season. George Durney, Howe’s Jewelry Store, Syracuse, and his good friend Milford Badgero spent many voluntary hours on weekends perfecting our ARC Techniques.
During Scout camp all water oriented activity was very strictly regulated and supervised by trained personnel including the Life Guard and the Administrative Camp Staff, all trained personnel. Rowboats and canoes and one sloop rigged sailing boat, 18 feet overall length, were used by permission by qualified swimmers, during designated hours, under very strict with life guard posted. This regimen did not prevail when the Engineers, all college students, in an older age group, were in camp. Unfortunately some Engineering students went sailing. They got in difficulty. Two attempted to swim ashore from one of the two islands in the lake (Crooked Lake). Naturally they should have stayed by the boat, until help came. They went down in some 20 feet of water, and were drowned. As a direct result, the sailboat, a recent gift to the camp, was removed, and only rowboats and canoes were used henceforth.
Rev. C. W. Hunter, Camp Director at the time, with his strict sense of responsibility and duty, often spoke sadly of this tragedy. He never forgot it to his dying day. I’m sure that all concerned regarded the incident as an unfortunate accident, that may have happened, whoever was in charge, Mr. Hunter could not forgive himself. As camper, dishwasher, tent leader, village leader, life guard, program director, banker and quartermaster, Camp Loyalty was my training ground. I was a “regular” here until 1926, when I left to become Camp Director at Eaton Brooke, the camp of the Madison County Council on Eaton Reservoir near Morrisville, New York, (Don Moyer Scout Executive), and thence in 1928,1929 to Camp 12 Pines, Oswego County Council when Don Moyer was advanced to this larger Council. Hundreds of Scout campers enjoyed these very great privileges and associations just as I did . All Hail to those great Scouters whom we all recall, who made these experiences and training possible as Staff leaders, or who, as shadowy figures, obscure in the background, never quit their accepted obligation as volunteers behind the Scout movement, to make it succeed. All Hail to the loyal and effective Scouters of Syracuse Council, Onondaga Council and now in 1972, Hiawatha Council. ’And may our hearts ere turn to thee, Loyalty, Camp Loyalty.“
The above account of Camp Loyalty was written around 1980 by Philip Manro, former Deputy Regional Scout Executive of Region Four.