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Camp Brooklyn Postcard


It took no time at all for the Boy Scouts to commence work on the first camp. Harvey A. Gordon was brought in from the Bear Mountain Camps as Chief of Construction. Also involved in designing and constructing T.M.R. were Hermann Merkel, Cyde R. Place and Grosvenor S. Wright.

A construction camp was erected on Turnpike Lake and sawmills were erected near Rock Lake, Wildcat Pond and Half Moon Lake. Sand, rock and gravel for roads and sewer systems were obtained right from the camp property. Gordon first constructed the Brooklyn Camp on the shores of Rock Lake and had it ready for the youthful campers by the summer of 1928.

For the 1929 summer camp season, Harvey Gordon then bent to the task of building a camp on Half Moon Lake for the Staten Island Council, which that group christened "Aquehonga." As he stated some time later, he was proud of his privilege to build these camps and wanted the boys who used them to view them with equal pride. Therefore, the buildings were ruggedly and handsomely built to withstand the elements for fifty years or more.

On the shores of Wildcat Pond, known later as Lake Nianque, Gordon built a magnificent camp for the Bronx Council, which was named "Ranachqua."

In July of 1929 the Boy Scout Foundation purchased the 970-acre Crystal Lake tract. In August of 1929, Governor Roosevelt addressed about 1,200 Scouts at the Brooklyn Scout Camps council ring and toured the other camps. He was pleased with his reception and said he had as his goal 100,000 boys on the 11,000 acres within a period of years.

Harvey Gordon's report to the Foundation at the close of the camp's second season revealed an engineering and construction accomplishment of gigantic proportions covering all of the many types of buildings, sawmills, water systems, sewage systems, surveys, plans, roads and fencing.

With the addition of the Crystal Lake tract, the new camp now consisted of more than 11,000 acres. Harvey Gordon continued his engineering work and built for the 1930 summer camp season two camps on the shores of Crystal Lake, one for Manhattan and called by that name, and the other one for Queens which was named "Camp Man" in honor of Queens Council President Alrick H. Man.

In August of 1930, Camp Man was the scene of a very festive occasion when Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt was awarded the Silver Buffalo by Judge Frederic Kernochan.

Over the next nine years, three of the N.Y.C. Order of the Arrow Lodges were founded at T.M.R.: Suanhacky Lodge at Camp Man in 1930, Man-A-Hattin Lodge at Camp Manhattan in 1935, and Aquehongian Lodge at Camp Aquehonga in 1938.

In 1931, Frieda Schiff Warburg and her son, Frederick Schiff, donated $20,000 to the Boy Scout Foundation for the expansion of the Zumi Trail. It was renamed and dedicated the Mortimer L. Schiff Highway, in recognition of her deceased brother.

Even after Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York State, he found time to make personal radio appeals for the raising of funds to enlarge the work of the Foundation and facilities of the camps to the point where 3,500 Boy Scouts could be given recreation and training at the same time.

President Roosevelt visited the T.M.R. camps again on August 23, 1933 and was inducted into Suanhacky Lodge of the Order of the Arrow at Camp Man.

Ranachqua Lodge, Camp Ranachqua, 1933

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