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~ Kathy M.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Camp Christian Days:

Remember when I wrote about the VW bus a little while ago, and living the life of the broke?  Well during that period of time, when Nigel was 4, we moved to Walterville and were the site managers for Camp Christian on Deerhorn Road.  There were 35 acres on the river with a lodge, cabins, swimming pool, covered basketball court, a fire pit and hiking trails.  On our side of the road, there was an old farm house with barn and a huge lawn on 65 more acres that went up to the top of a ridge backing up to BLM land, and a huge ball field.  We lived there as a work exchange for camp maintenance responsibilities. 

When we first moved there, Nigel and Ollie were the kids living with us.  Kari and Kristin lived with their Dad a couple of miles away.  Peter and Gabe lived in Corvallis with their Mom and other family.  Raymond and Lucy were our dogs.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Kari and Grandma T. when we were first moving in.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Before, when we first moved in.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
After the covered porch was built.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Raymond and the old Nissan that Mom gave me.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Raymond waiting with Nigel for the bus to arrive.

We got some goats, to help eat the brush.  They were so cute when they were babies.  Siskel and Ebert.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Nigel and the babies.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Ollie's job was to feed and water them.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
When they grew up, they got loose a lot.  They were a pain in the butt most of the time.  I had birdseed in the sandbox and they were always trying to get into it.  I had a pitcher of water sitting nearby and would throw it on them to get them off the porch.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
We went on lots of hikes.  This is the view from the top of the ridge behind us, during the flood of January 1996.  You can see the McKenzie River and the Walterville Pond from here.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Up behind the barn was an old spring house.  There was also a waterfall up there, except for during the summer.  The waterfall fed the spring house, and there was pipe that came down to water the yard, but that was not in working condition when we were living there.

As I go through all of these pictures, there seems to be some freaky things in some of them.  My camera was working good in those days, a 35mm, and some of these were taken with Mom's camera.  I scanned these old pictures over a year ago and put them on another blog, but didn't really see things in them until I enlarged them here.  

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
This is in the ball field, and the daycare kids were playing.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
Here is another way of looking at it.  I see a huge head of a woman  or little girl, depending on how I see it at the moment.  Freaky.  I don't know if you guys believe in that stuff, but there was a lot of activity in that house.  Weird.

I guess that this post is all over the place.  I just ran across these pictures when I was looking for photos for my Father's Day post.  We did have a lot of good times at the camp, and I have lots of cute stories from when I had my daycare there.  We lived there for about 4 years.  There is a lot of history surrounding the camp, which was an old logger's dance hall before it became the camp.  Mom said that there is a dark story about the house, a lady she knew used to live there, but we haven't found out the details yet.

They have changed the name of the camp recently to Living Waters.  Here is a link to the photo portion of their website: 

I just copied and pasted this from their website ... it gives me clues for further research.  I did know Vera Hall and Larry Moore though.

History of Camp Christian

Prior to late 1959 a group of Lane County Churches of Christ and independent Christian Churches had been holding summer camps at a camp facility at Crescent Lake.  In discussions with those involved, it was decided that the group should purchase property and create their own camp and a search for suitable property began.

Vera Hall, a member of the University Street Church of Christ saw an ad in the paper for 40 acres on Booth-Kelly Road (now Deerhorn Road) for $30,000.  She and her husband Arden drove to the area after church that Sunday and searched repeatedly in a vain effort to locate the property, eventually giving up and going home.

The next week the same property was in the paper but now listed for $20,000.  Again, Arden and Vera drove to the area after church and once again were unable to find any sign of the property they were looking for.

The third week Vera told Arden, “We’ll get Larry Moore, he’s a deputy, he can find it.”  Larry was also a deacon at University Street.  That week after church, they all drove to Deerhorn Road and Larry did find it.  It was well camouflaged, as it was completely overgrown with blackberry vines. It seems that what is now the lodge was at that time a dance hall which had gotten so completely out of control, that the County had forced them to shut down, and eventually the property was put up for sale.  The final price was $13,500 which included the acreage, the lodge, an old house, barn and two-story garage.

Early documents are sketchy, but what can be ascertained from the documents indicates that Edwin and Veva Bernhardt of Florence actually bought the property and held it until the corporation could be formed and funds raised to purchase the camp. On January 1, 1958 the Bernhardt’s were issued an insurance policy for the property in the amount of $10,000 for “the one story approved roof frame building while occupied as Club House for rental to groups for dances, banquets with a caretaker on premises.”

No one has been able to determine the exact age of the lodge, but the house which is now the director’s residence was built in 1910. We also know when there was extensive remodeling to the house which added the current kitchen space as there were repairs made several years ago and a number of newspapers were found in the walls for insulation or windbreak. One of them was from 1941 with the headline, “French Scuttle Fleet in Harbor to Prevent Capture by Germans”.

At some point early on, the original restroom/shower building was built and campers stayed in the old barn and army tents, and swimming was done in the McKenzie River below the lodge. Churches began building cabins with the number eventually reaching ten and an athletic field was built with a baseball backstop on the south side of Deerhorn Road. The walk-in cooler was purchased from a bar in Florence and transported to camp and installed in the lodge. In 1964, the Christmas flood was large enough to change the channel of the river, moving it to the camp side of the river resulting in the need to bus campers to Hendrick’s Bridge Wayside for swimming. That was remedied in 1968 when the camp pool was built, and campers did not mind that the heater and filter was not installed until 1969, simply because it was so much warmer than the river.

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Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Hi Kathy! You always have such detailed posts; very interesting. I'd love to hear the darker story about the place when/if you determine what it is.

The goats are so cute and their names certainly reflect the era.

I didn't see the woman/girl in the photo, although I got goosebumps when you commented on it, because I had already noticed something a bit otherwordly about the pic, though I couldn't place what it was. Interesting.

Hope you're having a great Father's Day weekend!


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Lisa, I just go with whatever strikes my fancy at the time ... pictures of the grandkids or weird photos at the camp house. It is all in a day's work. Ho, hum ... lol.

I send a notice to my facebook peeps asking for any info that they know about the camp prior to the churches buying it for use as a camp. Now I know that the house was built in 1910, so I'll try and track down the names of the owners, etc.

On the very top picture of the porch, look right at the door. Look for large eyeballs. I'm not kidding.

As far as the one in the field, she/they, have a huge head that starts at the top of the trees, long brown hair with bangs and a full face of eyes, nose and mouth. VERY creepy. I hadn't noticed it before, but I hadn't ever enlarged that picture before. I thought it was just a bad picture, all faded.

Glad we moved from there! Ha!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

The little girl in the yellow shirt, her head is by the lady/girl's lip and chin.

No Copying!


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