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Camp Horseshoe Stockades

The five original campsites at the time of Horseshoe's opening in 1928 were stockade sites.  They were today's Sherwood Forest, Boonesboro, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett and Bayard Taylor.  A sixth stockade site, Clifton Lisle, has since been added.

Edited by David B. Woodward  [Contribute Info]

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Sherwood Forest Campsite

When Camp Horseshoe opened in 1928, today's Sherwood Forest campsite was known as Camp Unami, the Indian Lore camp.
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Boonesboro Campsite

Boonesboro was originally named Camp Daniel Boone and was the site of the Pioneering and Nature camp.
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Kit Carson Campsite

Camp Kit Carson was one of the Beginner camps for new Scouts when Horseshoe first opened.  It changed to a troop site when the camp program shifted to camping with your home troop and leaders.
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Davy Crockett Campsite

In the early days when Scouts did come to camp with their home troop, Camp Dave Crockett was one of the Beginner camps for new Scouts.
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Bayard Taylor Campsite

Bayard Taylor campsite is named for the Chester County writer.  During the first three years of Horseshoe, this site went through three names, Old Ironsides, Camp Mason-Dixon and Pirates.
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Col. Clifton Lisle Campsite

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A quick look around Sherwood Forest campsite.

2002 - Contributed by Alexander Musto  [Contribute Info] 

During a hard cover storm, Scouts have some fun while not violating the hard cover of the Sherwood stockades.

2014 - Contributed by Jeffrey L. Goodman  [Contribute Info] 
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Stockade History

This article by J. B. Rettew gives a brief history of the original Camp Horseshoe stockade sites. It first appeared in the July 2001 issue of the The Octoraro Loop.
2001 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III  [Contribute Info] 

Editor's Notes June 2001

I was walking out of Allen Memorial Dining Hall with Moose Winsch after taking pictures for this issue of The Loop. We were discussing some of the articles in the Loop he liked and he brought up the question as to whether campers today knew any of the history behind the naming of the original five Stockade camps. He thought this might be of interest to some of our younger alumni/ae.

Scouts fall in in front of their bunk houses.  Ossie Spellman is pictured on the leader's cabin porch (right).
1935 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Ernie Heegard's column mentions the five Stockades. He was in Kit Carson Stockade his first year. I was in Boonesboro in my first year, 1944.

There were five Stockade camps built in 1927-28 for campers that first summer and used ever since then. A visitor to Horseshoe in 1933 wrote of the camps in his treatise, referring to them as "Kit Carson, Boonesboro, Fire Circle, Sherwood Forest and Bayard Taylor".

Another historian in his writings refers to "Camp Unami, Camp Daniel Boone, Camp Kit Carson, Camp Dave Crockett; and, Old Ironsides Camp (the Sea Scout and Water activities Camp)." Later, the Unami Camp was re-named Sherwood Forest; Daniel Boone became Boonesboro; Old Ironsides became Camp Mason-Dixon (it straddles the Mason-Dixon Line) in 1929 and Pirates camp in 1930. Subsequently, it was renamed Bayard Taylor in honor of the great Chester County writer.

The stockades form a crescent. In earlier days of camp, trails (now the stockade trail) leading to each camp carried a specific name related to the history of the specific camp. Kit Carson was reached by the "Santa Fe" trail; S h e rwood Forest (then Unami) was reached by the "Unami Pa t h " ; Boonesboro by the "Wilderness Trail"; Dave Crockett was reached by the "Alamo Trail"; and, Old Ironsides by the "Clipper Wake" trail.

In future issues, I hope to shed more light on the other camp units that today make up both Camp Horseshoe and Camp John H. Ware, 3rd. Also, I'll try to publish the text to the songs that each camp sang after the meal in Allen Memorial in those years from 1928 to the '50's.

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A Tick with an Itch

This article by Ernie Heegard appeared in the July 2006 issue of the HSRAA Octoraro Loop.
Contributed by G. Ernest Heegard  [Contribute Info] 

One evening while at camp, Moose (alias Karl Winsch) and I were sitting at camp and came up with a number of things that are no longer found at camp. One of these items was very important during the 1930's, and1940's.  It was not until well after WW II that a suitable inflatable air mattress was developed.

Some Scouts and leaders have wondered why the bunks in our stockade buildings are built more like coffins than a standard bunk. Some have speculated that the high sides were designed to prevent Scouts from rolling out at night. This is partially true. The real reason is that the early Scouts were required to bring a cot-sized mattress cover or sew up a large bag out of light canvass ticking. Some finished them with a zipper at one end. Most Scouts came with a supply of large safety pins. After the Scouts checked in and reported to their stockade (Sherwood Forest, Boonsboro, Kit Carson, Davey Crocket, and Bayard Taylor), they were directed by their stockade leader to go to the "straw hut", which was located to the rear of what is now the old Quonset hut on the Loop Road. This was manned each Sunday by a camp staff member to prevent Scouts from overfilling their "straw tick", which was the name for this type of mattress.

Those Scouts, who overfilled the tick, did in fact roll off the bunk at nighttime. Those with too little straw found that 'bed and board' is the same thing at Horseshoe. After church service on Sundays, those Scouts leaving camp would drag their straw tick back to the straw hut and empty it there to be used again. However, there seemed to be at least one Scout each Sunday, who dragged his tick to the straw hut by the wrong end, and left a trail of straw along the way. Naturally, he was required to retrace his steps with a rake and clean up the mess he had left.

The straw hut had another exciting feature. Scouts later in the afternoon would be digging further back in the straw and would often uncover a sleeping black snake, which invariably would be caught and put on display at the Bug House Nature Center, which was to the right of the old Headquarters/White House.

Once the air mattress, developed during WW II, started showing up at Army Surplus stores, the straw tick became less and less used. Finally the straw hut was torn down -

PS - Think of what it must have been like in the straw hut on a hot, steamy and sweaty Horseshoe day with all the straw flying around in the air! No wonder we all wanted to take the swim test that day!

For a copy of the Octoraro Loop (volume 7 issue 2) click here
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Ernie Says - Life in Horseshoe's Stockade

This Ernie Says article by Ernie Heegard originally appeared in the Summer 2007 edition of the HSRAA Octoraro Loop.
2007 - Contributed by G. Ernest Heegard  [Contribute Info] 

In More than sixty years have passed, but the memories of my first week at Horseshoe for summer camp are just as vivid today as they were that first summer in my Stockade campsite.

After arriving at Horseshoe, I dashed off to the front porch of the White House to check in, then out the back door to join some other Scouts bound for the Kit Carson Stockade, our camp-site for the next 2 weeks. Each camp-site (or stockade as they were called in the early years,) was named for a key person or place in history. The names and buildings have not changed over the years, and have been wonderfully maintained by the Order of the Arrow.

Scouts fall in in front of their bunk houses.  Ossie Spellman is pictured on the leader's cabin porch (right).
1935 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
The five original sites were constructed of cypress wood, consisting of a leaders' cabin flanked by four bunk houses - each with only a back wall and 2 canvas roll-down sides. Sherwood Forest was on top of the hill and named for Robin Hood's hide-out. Then proceeding down (or south) along the stockade trail (the upper part of this trail is paved and part of the loop road), you encounter the Boonesboro Stockade named for Daniel Boone.  Further on the trail, is the third stockade, Kit Carson, named for a western pioneer. The remaining two camp-sites are: Davie Crockett, named for a famous woodsman; and Bayard Taylor, a Chester County legend.

The Taylor stockade straddles the Mason-Dixon Line, separating Maryland and Pennsylvania. This dividing line actually passes through the middle of the leaders' cabin, leaving half of the group sleeping in Maryland, and the other half sleeping in Pennsylvania.

Each stockade was staffed by a college student, with a strong Scouting background, and employed as a “provisional” troop leader for the summer. Scoutmasters rarely attended camp, but would drop by from time to time. Most Scouts came to camp as individuals, or with 3 or 4 from the same troop, depending on their choice of camping periods.

A Scout's first Sunday at camp was jampacked with many things to be accomplished - preparing your bunk by filling a canvas sack with straw, hiking to the pool for a swim check, and orienting ourselves with a quick guided hike around the camp.

Upon returning to Carson we quickly donned our uniforms for inspection. The Scouts required a bit of adjusting by our leaders to form this diverse group of individuals from many different troops to look like a cohesive, functioning Scout troop. A few extra minutes were then spent learning the Kit Carson Stockade song: “Over hill, over dale, As we hit the dusty trail, To Kit Carson, the best camp of all!........” and a couple of cheers for the 'song and cheer challenge' which awaited us following that evening's meal.

We were then led to the parade field, which had to be cleared of any remaining cars, in order to allow each troop to practice marching. Each stockade leader stressed a good showing during the ceremony of 'lowering the flag'. I'm sure we did not win retreat that night, but I do remember almost jumping out of my skin when the canon was fired!

After the opening camp-fire that evening at the Natureheart staff site, a small tenting area for the nature and kitchen staff, we returned to the Carson Stockade for clean-up and Vespers. All eight bunks were filled in our bunk house.

Prior to “Taps” being sounded, all the Scouts were seated on the porch-ends while our leader and his assistant gave an inspirational thought for the day. The camp chimes seemed to be perfectly timed to the final words of our leaders and were played from a small wooden tower located in what is now the campcraft area. While were climbing into our bunks, the camp bugler played Taps, which echoed around the hills of Horseshoe. Very exhausted, we all drifted off to sleep listening for the sounds of the whip-o-wills.

Not the next day, but a few days later, was the cooks' day off. The kitchen was closed, but each patrol/bunkhouse had to send one Scout to the dining hall to pick up the food for breakfast. It had rained overnight, but was still intermittently showering. The side flaps on our bunkhouse were rolled down, protecting the bunks from the rain, and afforded us some cover for what we were about to do. Our instructions were to gather wood to build a fire in order to boil water for oatmeal and raisons, and then fry eggs and bacon, all to be done after the food arrived. Instead, we hastily employed the “democratic process” and took a vote! It was unanimous - no one wanted to venture forth for fire-wood, build a fire, or cook in the rain.

Clinton, a bunk-mate from Troop 50 or Berwyn 11, came to camp well equipped, and drew from his pack a small heat-tab stove, and so began the slow process of each of us frying our eggs and bacon in our own mess kits. We planned to skip the oatmeal. The bunkhouse porch afforded protection from the rain and the long tarp shielded us from view from the leaders' cabin. No sooner had the cooking begun . . . . who should appear from out of nowhere, but the impressive figure, MR FRANK BEAM, the Camp Director!

He was in full uniform, raincoat and broadbrimmed campaign hat! The scene on the floor of the bunk house must have been incredible - 8 scruffy young Scouts, with mouths gaping, crouching around a tiny collapsible stove merely 5 inches by 5 inches emitting a little blue flame coming from a white pill, which looked like a slightly oversized Alka-Seltzer tablet. WELL!!!!!! Mr. Beam was not going to let this pass.

The next 45 minutes he gave a highly personalized course on dressing for the weather, collecting squaw wood (small dead wood hanging in the vines), fire-building, and cooking the entire intended breakfast, not to mention the finer techniques of clean-up. The totally embarrassed eight of us all had to agree at the camp director's urging, “Wasn't that a better and more Scouting way of doing breakfast?”  Looking back, many important life's lessons were learned that early rainy morning. Thus, the first of many, many lasting memories of stockade life……

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Early Stockade Life

The first set of early photos were found amoungst the Council archives.  Their exact history is unknown but the were likely to have been used as promotional material. 

The last few photos were contributed by Jean Brown (via Bill Waxbom), widow of HSR Alum Donald C. Brown, district judge for Chester County.

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Crockett campsite is quiet while the Scouts are out in the program areas.

2009 - Contributed by David B. Woodward  [Contribute Info] 
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