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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
It was called The Camp because the people that built it were hunters looking for their own little place to hunt deer and stay without being beholding to other family members in the area.
The family was close knit, three boys, and they all were willing to pay their share for what it would cost to build it.
The oldest son worked in the steel mill beside his dad while his middle brother was in the military ( later worked in the same Steel Mill as his dad and brother ) and his youngest brother who was going to college (Notre Dame) to be a lawyer.
After a couple of inquiries, land was found for sale in a suitable place, although there was no road into the location, there was an abundance of water on the property and a small pond next to a coal spoil pile which provided hours of fun, fishing with the grandchildren.
106 acres was purchased for the tidy sum of $100 off the land owner and construction of the road began almost immediately.
The only mistake made was that no one was there when the equipment operator showed up with the bull-dozer and made the road, it was in the wrong place, where the land was swampy and hard to navigate in the winter.
A 1955 Chevrolet truck ( 3/4 ton ) was purchased to haul building materials and a platform was built on which to pitch their tent while they built the camp.
An old house was found about 15 miles away and was tore down to supply the lumber to build the camp.
Rocks were salvaged from the nearby creek and a foundation was built of sandstone and an original corner of a foundation from the original homestead was used to build the cellar.
The builder was a master craftsman that served along with his oldest son in the Sea Bee's during World War II.
They bought plans from Sears that laid out a basic house and then they modified those plans to suit their needs.
The plans called for a Gingerbread style house - square, with a flat roof and a loft to sleep in and several small rooms downstairs and a large picture window with 15 panes of glass and a fireplace with brick that went from the floor to the ceiling.
A heatalator was built into the chimney and a grate was purchased to burn logs and the size of the fireplace was massive, it would easily retain heat for a day once it was warmed.
A Servel gas propane refrigerator was purchased along with a small apartment sized gas stove and a kitchen sink and two metal cabinets.
Furniture was donated from various sources and beds were procured for sleeping.
Before the construction was finished, the father had cancer and died right there in the camp. Spending his dying days looking out the window and admiring all of the hard work that went into building their camp.
After dad died, years went by and everyone was too busy to go hunting anymore and most of the camp visits were in the summer when you did not have to build a big fire in the WARDS coal furnace or the fireplace, and there was always an abundance of grass to be cut and it was an awesome place to hold family reunions.
A group of family members got together and decided that they would like to hunt at the camp and a rebirth of the original intentions was started.
The camp became a family tradition with people coming and going from before Thanksgiving until New Years and lot's of deer was harvested over the next 31 years.
The patriarch of the family ( Uncle Rich ) had a heart attack, and none of his children wanted the burden or expense of taking care of the camp and so the camp was put up for sale.
So too ended a lifetime tradition for some members of the camp - going hunting with friends and family members in deer hunting season.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. It seems like just a couple of years since the camp was sold, but in all actuality it has been 14 years since the camp was sold and the family went their own ways.
I got a call last night, Uncle Rich was put in Hospice they turned off his internal defibrillator, and has stopped all of his medications and dialysis, they gave him 5 days to live.
All I can say is that sometimes a life changing event takes place and no one can foresee the future and you just have to live life one day at a time.
The other day the new owners contacted me about getting a gate key to the adjoining property for which I have permission to hunt.
As I drove up the road I couldn't help but marvel at all of the changes they had made.
A new road had been built and 3 Marcellus Natural Gas wells were drilled on the property.
They restructured the house, got rid of the coal furnace and fireplace and removed the pine tree plantation that my Uncle's family planted 60 years ago...
Now I guess their family has their own traditions and their own stories to tell about the camp.
So too ends the life of a great man and a good hunter. God Speed Uncle Rich!