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Cedar Beach Association Camps (“Jolly Club” Camps)

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“Jolly Club” Camps
1874–c. 1885. Cedar Beach Rd. Visible only from Lake Champlain

Clustered on a point north of McNeil's Cove, the eighteen small wood-frame, late-nineteenth-century cottages of the “Jolly Club” illustrate the communal nature of much of the early camp development on Lake Champlain. Although many now have additions, enclosed porches, and have been converted to year-round use, most started as 12 × 16–foot cabins built on the “fishing camp” plan, with one open room downstairs, an open bunk room on the second floor, and a gable-front porch for lounging. The association traces its beginnings to the summer of 1872, when John Bagley, a merchant in Burlington, pitched a tent near the shore here and spent several pleasant weeks. The next year he persuaded eleven other gentlemen to join him. They organized as the “Jolly Club,” spent two hundred dollars to erect a group cottage, and held a grand opening on July 8, 1873, with 175 guests and the Queen City Band, ferried to and from the point by the steamer Williams. The following year, the group added stables and an ice house, and members began building their own small camps. A ferry dock was constructed c. 1877, and when the group formally incorporated as the Cedar Beach Association on July 10, 1883, most of the core group of eighteen cottages had been erected. Prominent Burlington industrialist William Van Patten was a member of the club and built a camp here, enlarging it with a two-story porch addition before he built a new and larger camp (CH63). Other camps followed, becoming “associate” members to share the dock, tennis courts, and water system. After World War I, automobiles replaced ferries as a means of transport, and despite the association, the camps here lapsed into the pattern of individualized use characteristic of twentieth-century lakeshore camp ownership.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


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Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Cedar Beach Association Camps (“Jolly Club” Camps)", [Charlotte, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 180-180.

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