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Camp Aloha and Aloha Hive Camp

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1905; 1913; 1915, Frank C. Reid; later additions. 2968 Lake Morey Rd. (V 244)

Camp Aloha, for girls, and Aloha Hive, for younger campers, are among the earliest of the many dozens of summer camps for children established in Vermont during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Part of a national boom in youth educational organizations, these camps were the brainchild of Edward Gulick, born in Honolulu of missionary parents, and his wife, Harriet Farnsworth, a daughter of missionaries to Turkey. They purchased a farm at the northwest end of Lake Fairlee as a summer home for their family in 1897, and in 1903 opened a summer camp for girls. Starting with 23 campers in 1905, by 1916 they were accommodating 225 girls. At first campers slept in tented platforms, and the farmhouse's kitchen and dining room served as the community center. A decade of expansion followed, in the generally haphazard fashion characteristic of most children's camps in the state. Camp Aloha saw the addition of small gabled, wood-frame sleeping cabins, and in 1907 a dining hall addition. “Mother” Harriet Gulick presided over all programs, fulfilling her youth-improvement mission. (Her sister was cofounder in 1910 of Camp Fire Girls.)

The most architecturally distinguished building of this time is the large, wood-frame Hale (“hay-lee”) Building, which went up next to the lake in 1913 to serve as the new community center. Loosely based on the Hawaiian architecture of Edward's childhood (and perhaps the Waioli Mission Hall [1841] on Kauai), Hale has a deep open porch on three sides sheltered by a broad double-pitched hipped roof. Its large and open interior is focused on a massive cobblestone chimney hearth. Log and branch-work trim throughout give the building a rustic Adirondack flavor.

Growing numbers of campers led the Gulicks to separate the ages, and in 1915 they established a camp in New Hampshire for the oldest girls and one here at the north end of the lake, Aloha Hive Camp, for girls ages eight to thirteen. Architect Reid designed a three-part camp scheme including a new office, a dining hall (the “Hive”), and the director's house, giving each building a deep hipped roof and arranging them in a broad curve connected by covered walkways. Rejecting this arrangement, the Gulicks constructed each building on a different site and modified the detailing along the lines of the Hawaiian-influenced rustic manner of the Hale Building. In 1917, the Gulicks built the “Comb” community hall and connected it to the “Hive” via an open breezeway, somewhat in keeping with Reid's conception.

In the 1920s, like almost all children's camps in Vermont, Aloha and Aloha Hive added a number of raised, one-story, gabled, wood-frame bunkhouses. With continuous windows beneath the eaves providing light and ventilation, they were based on barracks developed for military housing in the South during World War I. The buildings have been continually adapted to keep them up-to-date and they remain in operation. Statewide, though many are no longer in operation, similar rustic children's camps are still visible, clustered along the eastern shores and islands of Lake Champlain and on many of the inland lakes.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson
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Citation

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Camp Aloha and Aloha Hive Camp", [Fairlee, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-OG25.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 338-339.

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