History of Council Camps



History of Council Camps


There have been at least 28 Council affiliated Scout camps in Western Massachusetts. Many of those were short-lived, but all have had a loyal following of Scouts with numerous fond memories of their camp days. Additionally, there were local groups that held long term Scout camping events.


The earliest Council camp appears to be Camp Otis (1913-1916) organized by the Springfield Council although are five other locations of Springfield Council camps that were held in prior years. Camp Otis’ claim to fame will forever be the attendance of 12- year-old Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). That Council operated Camp Loyal and Camp Sherman on Lake Sherman, Brimfield (1917-1945) until winter storm damage made it desirable to seek a new and much larger location. The Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation opened as Camp Woronoak (1946-1970), Camp Knox (1955- present) and Camp Frontier (1966-1977).


Holyoke Council operated Camp Progress in Holyoke prior to (1923) and had a popular camp in North Chester on the Westfield River, Camp Shuster’s Mill (1924-1926) later known as Camp Apinakwi Pita (1929-1942) Camp Aldrich (1944-1961) was the final camp to be operated by the Mt. Tom Council.


Berkshire Council started its first Council Camp Peirson (1927-1928) with Hampshire Council. The Berkshire Council had several camps at several locations through the years but today the camp most remembered is Camp Eagle (1947-1968) located on State-owned land in Washington, MA. Camp Eagle suffered several incidents of vandalism before closing.


Camp Avery located on Northeast Utilities land in Franklin Council, while used by Scout groups was never an official Council summer camp.


Hampshire Council and later Hampshire-Franklin Council have a long camping history starting with Camp Coolidge (1926) on Lake Norwich, Huntington. Camp Coolidge continued (1929-1936 in North Dana, MA until the land was taken and flooded to form part of the Quabbin Reservoir. The Chesterfield Scout Reservation (1937-2018) came into being next and was immortalized in the paintings of Norman Rockwell.