Friday, July 20, 2012

The Founding of Woodcraft

Woodcraft opened in 1925 with a small staff and a small group of brave young men. Only about a dozen boys came to Woodcraft that first year. That first summer, the staff and campers arrived at Lake Kan-Ac-To to find a rustic piece of property carved out of Adirondack forest. For today's Woodcrafters, it seems that camp has been here forever. But in 1925 William Abbott, founder and owner until the mid-1970's, Woodcraft was a new adventure. Abbott, only 23 or 24 at the time, assembled this folder and presented it to a small group of investors.

The information laid out in the "Founder's Folder" describes in detail how Abbott intended to outfit his camp. He catalogs the necessary supplies for erecting the buildings, the equipment to conduct activities, the camping gear needed for outdoor living, and even the china for the dining hall. Camp, relatively remote by today's standards, was even more so in 1925. The pencil markings on the map below is the road as it now exists.

In the image below Abbott describes the place that would become Woodcraft. "The lake in mind" Kan-Ac-To.

The blue map is a 1920 engineers and surveyors map of the "Lake O-Ne-Tes Section," what is now known as West Lake. The red shaded area is the original property line of Woodcraft before Abbott purchased Lake Te-Jec-Na; written here as Ta-Jek-Ha.

The Founders Folder is a fantastic source of camp history and a great example of a person following through on an idea. Abbott conceived of a camp and literally built it from nothing. Next time you're in camp, stop by the office and take a peak.

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