Warren County Historical Society Presents …

The Digital Version “REWIND”

March 15, 2019

Camp Wah-ta-Wah – Girls Scouts in Warren County

 

        In 1917, Mrs. O.B. Bromley, a teacher at Lake George, attended a meeting of the Northeastern Division of Physical Education Directors, where she heard about “scouting for girls.”  Juliette Low had started the first troop in Savannah, Georgia only five years before.  Mrs. Bromley returned to Lake George and started a Girl Scout troop the following year.

 

Girls Scouts camping circa 1925

          The details of the first local Girl Scout camping trip is part of the archives of the Warren County Historical Society, the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York – on Meadowbrook Road in Queensbury, and documented in several issues of The Post Star over the years.

The entrance to Camp Wah-ta-Wha

          The first Girl Scout camping trip is still a vivid memory.  Camp Wah-ta-Wah (named for the mother of Uncas) was on a Bolton Road site loaned by the late John R. Loomis.  The camp committee saw no reason for advance preparation, and on the day that camp opened, nine girls, three counselors, carpenters, tents borrowed unofficially from Company K, forrd and equipment arrived on the same truck.

Selecting the Sites

          “The carpenters, apparently taking a dim view of the whole enterprise, set up four tents – without floors -in rather hasty fashion.  One was in the mioddle of a poison ivy patch, one perched perilously close to the lake, one had a sapling in the middle and the last one had a pile of decayed wood at the doorstep.

          During the afternoon, a storm blew up.  It lasted through the night and into the next day.  Mrs. Bromley suggested it might be wiser to spend the first night in the cottage on the property, but the girls were determined to sleep in their tents.  By midnight, Mrs. Bromley had the only workable flashlight, a lake was forming in the middle of the campsite, a dry brook had become a rushing torrent from the mountain and the girls were in water up to their waists.  According to Mrs. Bromley, ‘We got the children into the cottage and rolled them up in blankets.  Next morning I went up to the road and hailed a coal truck, got to Glens Falls and went to see Dan Cowles.  I invited the men to come up and see for themselves.  They came, they saw, and we conquered.’

         “During the storm, 48 quarts of milk soured for lack of ice or refrigeration.  Annie, the cook, who had earlier expressed a feat of wild animals, proved resourceful in the emergency.  While the camp was moved to a dried site, the stove was set up in the middle of a field, and Annie made sour milk pancakes while holding an umbrella over the griddle to keep it dry.”

 

 

Local Girl Scouts circa 1925

Camping at Wah-ta-Wah continued for 14 ywears.  The council purchased a new site at Palmer Pond and developed Camp Chepontuc; Later, the council acquired what is now known as  Camp Meadowbrook on Meadowbrook Road in Queensbury.

 

 

This column was prepared by Judy Melkonian for the Warren County Historical Society.  Currently serving as Vice-President of the Warren County Historical Society, Judy also donates volunteer hours at the Girl Scout office on Meadowbrook Road.  Her reference sources include materials found in the files of the Historical Society and in issues of The Post Star.  The photographs are from WCHS files and the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.

 

 

Warren County Historical Society // 50 Gurney Lane // Queensbury, NY 12804 // (518) 743-0734

 

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