Picture: Troop 24 at the camp in 1986. In the back row, Scoutmaster Dick Curtis is far right, and Assistant Scoutmaster Charlie Haviland is second from the left.
Originally Published: 12/10/2013
For many of us growing up in Wilton, the Boy Scout camp was always a terrific place in “our back yard” that was not only utilized by the scouts, but also the neighbors in the community. In 1929, the Boy Scouts obtained 290 acres for the camp from one of the Gick Brothers. The two Gick Brothers owned a very large farm, about 500 to 600 acres, that extended from the existing Boy Scout camp to across the railroad tracks to Rt. 50. At that time, Rt. 50 was actually known as Gick Road, and it went from Gansevoort to Saratoga Springs. Gick Road was one of the first, if not the first, macadam roads in New York State. Camp Saratoga officially opened July 26, 1930.
From 1930 until 2001, Camp Saratoga was enjoyed by the scouts. During this same time, there were lots of fond memories created by Wilton residents who enjoyed the use of these beautiful facilities. Many neighbors swam in the pond, skated on it, and utilized the beautiful hills in the winter for sledding, tobogganing, and snow shoeing.
Years ago, the pond was not only utilized for recreational purposes, but also for making ice in the winter. Eight inch ice slabs of about 3’ by 5’ were cut from the pond, slid to the railroad tracks, placed on flat cars and transported to the Borden Dairy building in Gansevoort. The ice was used to keep cans of milk cool while being transported by rail to New York City.
This 1969 photo shows the cars lined up for the scouts participating in the Klondike Derby, an annual over-night winter event for scouts throughout the region.
Sincere appreciation is extended to Larry Gordon, who provided many of the pictures and information for this article. For may years, Larry has been painstakingly collecting information on the Boy Scout Camp. I would also like to thank Linda Baker, my sister, for all the information that she shared. Linda’s husband, Charles Baker, served as the Camp Saratoga Scout Director for several summers.
This is Dick Lasselle’s tenth column about various aspects of life in Wilton. Dick grew up on Putnam Lane in Wilton, just off Jones road, and now lives on property that was part of the Putnam farm originally owned by his great-grandparents. Dick’s sister, Linda Baker, and his mom, Doris Lasselle, are contributing toward the development of these articles.