At this point in our tour, you’ve hopefully come to know Camp Wishe as a classic American sleepaway camp, a warm and welcoming place to send your kids over the summer. In a way, that’s what makes the next part of the story all the more eerie.
Probably the strangest bit from Camp Wishe’s history concerns the man who owned it from 1995 to 2010, the years it was allowed to fall into ruin. During that period, the only piece of the property he maintained was this building at the camp’s entrance, which at one point was a hunting lodge.
The man is said to have been a 32° degree mason, the second highest Masonic rank attainable.
When the new owners purchased the property in 2011, they were startled to find the main room of the old hunting lodge painted a brilliant red.
Stranger still, mounted above the fireplace…
…was an enormous 3-foot tall marble Masonic cross:
The cross has since been removed and room repainted…But just what candlelit seances were performed at the abandoned camp on old Route 6…and why weren’t Scooby and the gang around to save the day?? Feel free to contribute your theories in the comments!
In the meantime, I love the heavy wooden door:
The rest of the building is your classic hunting lodge, with room after room covered in wood paneling:
Though it was known as a horse riding camp, Camp Wishe also had all the outdoor activities you’d expect from a sleepaway camp. From the cabins, we walked through the woods to the old basketball courts…
My guides pointed out this oddity off to one side: an old wooden carriage dating to God knows when…
There’s a TON of woodland at Camp Wishe, which must have been great for the kids. One of my favorite events described on the Camp Wishe Memories website:
Taps has just blown and the children are settling into their bunk beds. Eerie music begins to play throughout the camp. A goblin (that mysteriously looks like a counselor) opens the cabin door!!! The children follow the goblin to the Haunted Forest. The Headless Horseman appears and rears back before cantering away into the night. A witch serves witches brew in the Mess Hall with spider cookies….
An old tennis ball left in the woods:
A stream cuts through the property…
…and in the 1950′s, the Wishe family used it to create a lake for swimming, complete with a shallow end for more timid swimmers.
Below, the lake in its heyday:
Later, this pool was built, fed by the lake:
At the time, it was state of the art…
After 15 years of abandonment, it’s going to need a pretty big pool cleaning:
AWESOME old pool benches:
Not sure I’d still trust the diving board…
The old pool filtration system – I would love to know how this worked:
The water is actually very clean…
…and in fact feeds two wells on the property (I braved a drink, and yes, it is super fresh-tasting mountain water!).
The old pool house:
Behind the pool, a hill rises up out of the woods that the new owners refer to as their “Sound of Music” hill:
Finally, one last remnant of Camp Wishe hung in the garage:
I really hope you enjoyed the tour of old Camp Wishe as much as I did exploring. When the new owners of the Camp Wishe property contacted me, they described it as “a very magical place,” and I couldn’t agree more.
From a filming perspective, the possibilities are endless: a mess hall, wooden cabins, a basketball court, acres and acres of beautiful NY woodland, a lake, a stream, a 1950′s hunting lodge…There’s nothing I love more than a horror movie in a camp setting, but you could just as easily bring this back to its charming origins with a little paint and some elbow grease.
There are a few camps close to New York that allow filming, but shooting around the camp schedule always causes endless headaches. This isn’t a problem at Camp Wishe, where you could literally take over the property. If interested, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 for the rest of the pictures.
Finally: a very special thanks again to the new camp owners for giving me a tour of the property and waiting patiently while I took literally hundreds of photographs. Thank you also to the Camp Wishe Memories page for their wonderful pictures and history of the camp.