Appendix B: The Original Campgrounds
[As quoted from the 1976 edition of The Story of the Yawgoog Trails (Williams and Tracy).]
The original camp was pitched around the homestead of Josiah P. Palmer, who was the son of Nathan B. Palmer. Josiah P. Palmer [a member of the Rhode Island house of representatives] lived on this homestead during the Civil War Days and afterwards. When the Scouts bought the property in 1916, the farmstead had been deserted for many years and was in need of repair. The Palmer farmhouse stood just north of the present Trading Post and Pavilion. There are still foundation stones to be seen on the site. Across the road on Tim O'Neil Field were located the barn, carriage shed, carpenter's shop, and the well. The barn was moved across the field into the woods where it is still located next to the Old Parsonage and Health Lodge. [The barn, which used to serve as the "Opry House" for shows, and later the Reservation's nature center, was demolished in 1982.] The well, now covered with a large boulder, is located near the Lilac Bushes near the edge of Tim O'Neil Field and the entranceway to the Camp, the T. Dawson Brown Gateway.
Tim O'Neil Field was the Palmer garden and barnyard. There was an orchard located where the Bucklin parking lot, Ranger's house and garage now stand. Donald North Court was part apple orchard and part "front yard" of the Palmer homestead. All the land was filled with rocks and boulders which were subsequently blasted out by the Scouts.
In the early 1920's, a lady from Rockville then almost 100 years old said that she used to visit at the Palmer farm in her younger days and that she could remember being able to look across the front yard to the south and see Wincheck Pond through the big oak trees which dotted the pastureland. In view of the fact that the woods between the Donald North Court and Wincheck Pond are filled with piles of stones and stone walls, it is fully believable that this once was open pasture.
The first camp in 1916 was pitched on the pasture which is now Tim O'Neil Field, but in 1917, the tents were moved over in the field and orchard now known as Donald North Court. The tents were used there until 1929 when they were moved to "Medicine Bow".
Postcard of Camp Yawgoog's early campground, circa 1919:
Tents in a rocky field with the Palmer house to the far right and Yawgoog Pond in the background
Circa 1924 postcard of the Palmer farm buildings and the Yawgoog
campground in what is now the Bucklin area
Caption: View of Yawgoog Main Camp, Buildings and Athletic Field