Although the Brockton Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the precursor of the Squanto Council, was formed in 1919, the first Camp Squanto was not opened until 1925.
The new camp was located on an 18.5 acre site on the west side of Bloody Pond in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In the Spring of 1925, after an old farmhouse on the property was taken down, a combined dining and recreation hall was built. This building had facilities for 125 campers and staff, including a stone fireplace, a kitchen, storerooms, and an office for the camp.
A waterfront area with a U shaped swimming dock, a lookout tower, and a fleet of canoes and rowboats was set up on the shore of the pond. An old bog on the former farm was converted into a sports field, and a campfire ring was built on a knoll near the waterfront. Parking and service areas were laid out in the rear of the dining hall, and an old farm woodshed was repaired for use as a crafts center during the camping season as well as off-season storage.
The first camping season started on the first week of July, 1925. It was decided to call the new facility Camp Squanto, in honor of the Patuxet Indian, Tisquantum, whose aid to the Pilgrims in Plymouth helped them survive the first few difficult years of their settlement.
Although the first Scouts to camp at Camp Squanto lived in tents, these were gradually replaced with Adirondack shelters. The Scouts were divided into tribes, the Dakota, Comanche, Blackfoot, and Apache, thus establishing a tradition of naming campsites after various Indian tribes which continues today at Camp Squanto.
In 1932, the Brockton Scout Council which had previously included only the city of Brockton was expanded to take in the surrounding communities of Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Duxbury, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Marshfield, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, West Bridgewater, and Whitman and the new council adopted the Squanto name.
In the 1940's, the increased number of Scouts in the Squanto Council could no longer be accommodated with the limited facilities at the Bloody Pond site and a search was started for a larger area. In 1948/1949, a site containing several hundred acres was found which included the north and west shores of Fawn Pond in Plymouth. This land was given to the council by LeBaron R. Barker, a local cranberry grower and landowner.
In July of 1949 a group of staff leaders and Scouters surveyed the new acreage and marked out the locations for future development. in the fall of the same year, a formal survey and layout of the camp was made. Since the winter of 1949/1950 was a mild one, many of the Scout troops in the council were able to work at cutting out brush and trees to prepare the sites for buildings and roads.
During the spring of 1950, some thirty-five new buildings were put up with the help of construction crews and the Engineering Service of the National Boy Scout Council. The first building constructed was the Director's Lodge, followed by the Staff/Office/Trading Post, and the Health Lodge.
The Dining Hall was put up in May and June and was ready for the opening of camp in July. In the meantime, leantos, toilets, a craft building, and winter lodges were built throughout the camp. With the completion of the chapel near the waterfront in the second week of the camp season, the first phase of development in the new camp was over.
In addition to the many buildings, a water system, sewage system, unit camping areas, a waterfront area, sports area, campfire/ampitheater, nature study areas, rifle and archery range, and other facilities were set up to make Camp Squanto one of the finest in the United States, a distinction it has maintained throughout the years.
During the 1950's and 1960's, the Squanto Spirit made itself evident in many ways. The Feast of Mondamin, an interpretation of the Song of Hiawatha paying tribute to the Great Spirit of the Indian nations, attracted over 2,000 spectators and was broadcast on the Boston television stations. Each of the troops in camp built a mound or small hill, reflecting the activities of various Indian tribes which had contributed to the history and growth of the philosophy of brotherhood which characterizes the Spirit of Squanto.
In later years, this Feast of Mondamin was incorporated into the impressive camp opening and closing ceremonies, which are witnessed annually by hundreds of campers, Scout leaders, parents, and families. This yearly reminder of the Spirit which is Squanto continues to be one of the highlights of each camping season at Camp Squanto.
The Spirit of Squanto showed itself again during this period, when the adjoining Camp Cachalot was burnt to the ground by a forest fire which ravaged the area, but spared most of Camp Squanto. The staff, Scout campers, and Scout leaders of Camp Cachalot were made welcome at Camp Squanto and shared the camp facilities until their own camp could be rebuilt.
One of the most active areas of camp during these years was the waterfront. The natural sandy beach on Fawn Pond was cleaned and extended to provide space for additional aquatic activities. The first watch tower was built out of logs by the camp staff. Later, wi k tb funds from the George W. Magee Memorial Fund, a more permanent tower was put up. Although the design of the dock and the composition of the waterfront fleet has changed over the years, some of the original boats and canoes are still in use after providing thousands of hours of pleasure and instruction to many Scouts during the years. Some of the most popular of these watercraft were the "whaleboats," old Navy launches which were donated as training craft and swimming platforms.
With the opening of camp in July, 1950, a new era of camping in the Squanto Council was initiated. Since then, Camp Squanto has continued to grow, improve, and provide for the needs of Scouts and Scouters. An important factor in this growth has been the Squanto spirit, which has distinguished the camp since its beginnings. This growth has been especially pronounced from 1969 to the present time.
In 1970, the Squanto Council and the Old Colony Council merged. The tremendous growth in Scout attendance at camp coupled with the need for year round building maintenance was recognized, and a year round camp ranger was hired. Since the new Old Colony council took in most of the South Shore of Massachusetts from Weymouth and Braintree on the north to Plymouth in the south and Walpole on the west with a total of 41 towns, the need for more open space to provide for the needs of the Scouts and Scouters in the area became very real.
One of the first acts of the new council was the purchase of additional acreage abutting Fawn Pond which made it possible for the camp to control two thirds of the land around the pond. An added bonus was the working cranberry bog included in the purchase. With the help of the Order of the Arrow and countless other volunteers, all the camp buildings were repaired and repainted.
Since then, many improvements have been made at Camp Squanto.
The FireHouse/Shop building was winterized to provide living and working quarters for the camp ranger.
The Health Lodge was finished for year round use.
Dakota Cabin was modernized and winterized to provide a place for senior staff and families.
Blackfoot Lodge has been painted and modernized for year round troop camping.
A front end loader and fire engine were acquired for camp maintenance and protection.
A new office was constructed and a family center with a central building and a number of campsites was set up on the shore of Fawn Pond past the cranberry bog on the far shore from the camp. This family center has its own beach and provides facilities for the families of Scouters.
A new staff building was set up near the staff village area opposite the parade field.
A miniature golf range was opened next to the Sports Area.
The camp has been rewired for 200 amp electrical service, increasing the safety and convenience factors for campers.
In 1977, the Jefferson waterfront tower was built. The floodlights, public address system, and telephone in this tower greatly enhances the safety and control of waterfront activities.
An addition to the back of the maintenance and storage building provided additional space andfacilities.
The old Mohican site was closed down to provide additional space for the Nature Area. A new site with flush toilets and a new cabin was set up near the fire road past Iroquois site.
The dirt road leading into camp from the State Forest was paved and a new parking area developed. The old parking area was turned into a parade field with 1 1 new metal flagpoles at one end.
The porch of the Trading Post/Office building was enclosed to provide additional space and an office for the camp business manager.
The South Shore Technical High School built a new dock and the waterfront was expanded to provide additional facilities for troop swimming and boating.
In 1978, the Dining Hall was strengthened, insulated, and paneled. New windows were installed. This work, which involved replacing all the sills for the building, was done by camp employees working under the Comprehensive Employment Training Act, using funds from the George W. Magee Memorial Fund.
In 1978 and 1979, an addition was built which expanded the kitchen section of the Dining Hall and provided additional working and storage space.
In addition to the many physical improvements at Camp Squanto, advances have been made in other areas as well. In 1974 and 1975, over 1650 Scouts used the camp facilities during the summer camping season. Fifty-seven troops with more than 150 leaders took advantage of the unique opportunities for Scouting growth and adventure offered by Camp Squanto, more than doubling the membership since 1968.
With the provision of winterized buildings, such as the Blackfoot Lodge, Staff Building, and Family Center, the camp has been increasingly used for winter camping by the troops of the Old Colony Council.
In June 1973, 250 boys and girls from Hanover Junior High School attended camp and enjoyed an outdoor classroom experience. This program continues to grow and Camp Squanto's Outdoor Education Center is now used by many schools in the area as well as Bridgewater State College. Instructors for these programs have been made available by grants from the Federal Government under the Comprehensive Employment Training Act.
Overall view of original Camp Squanto
Handicraft Lodge at Bloody Pond
Bloody Pond waterfront-rowboats
Completed Dining Hall-1950
Office and Trading Post
Jefferson Tower on George W. Magee Waterfront
Part of expanded waterfront
Enjoying the waterfront
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