Into The Cabins: Scouting An Abandoned Children’s Camp – Part 2

This is part 2 of our look at Camp Wishe, a children’s sleepaway camp that has been abandoned for more than 15 years. Click here for part 1!

Camp Wishe is located on what used to be old Route 6. When the Wishe family purchased the property in the 1940’s, it consisted of a run down inn, a defunct gas station (which we’ll see in the third installment), and an old ice house.

025a Cabin View 04

The family decided to try their hand at a summer camp, and in the late 40’s, began clearing the land by hand – cutting down trees, moving rocks, and building the initial structures.

026 Cabin View 05

In the first year, Camp Wishe boasted 12 campers and 3 counselors. Within a decade, that number rose to over 100 campers, and by 1951, the first cabin was built. Below, a picture of a cabin in pristine condition taken decades ago…

Picture courtesy Camp Wishe Memories – click for more!

…and today, after 15 years of abandonment.

026a Bunk 4 01

Frankly, they’re in pretty good shape all considered – and I challenge you to not imagine spending nights here in a bunk as a warm summer breeze blows through, the trees creaking outside…or better yet, curling up in your sleeping bag as a thunder and lightening storm rages outside, with only mosquito netting and the overhang of the roof to keep out the elements.

030 Bunk 3

I love the Camp Wish cabin names, posted beside each bunk’s door. Below, signs for Bunk II: Lettuce Inn, and Bunk III: Shangrila.

026b

Bunk IV: Twilight Zone (would’ve been my choice):

026c

Bunk 5: Rocky Road.

026d

Inside the cabins, wood-frame beds are still lined up as if campers are expected later this month:

026e

Some have mattresses, and even pillows!

029 CCabin 03

Best of all though are the names covering the walls, ceilings, and floors of the cabins:

036 Cabin 06

There must be hundreds in total, spanning decades:

038 Bunk 3 11

Mar Slept Here…but when?? Always leave a year! Note the cat drawing and the flower…

039 Bunk 3 13

The oldest date I caught was from 1963…

039a Bunk 3 14

A bunch from the 1970’s (note: Cherry the great!):

040 Bunk 3 12

I wonder where Lurch and Scooter are today:

042 Bunk 3 09

Outside one of the smaller cabins, a forgotten trunk:

043 Cabin With Box 01

Two smaller cabins with a roofed-over yard area:

051a Leanto 01

Inside one of the cabins…

052 Broken Down Cabin 01

A ton of old camp supplies:

053 Broken Down Cabin 02

Wondering where the bathrooms were? I’m pretty sure either the toilets or showers were found in this structure (probably my least favorite part of camp):

051b Leanto 03

I think this slightly more reinforced structure was the counselor cabin:

045 Board Cabin 01

My favorite bit inside…

046 Board Cabin 04

This old chalkboard…

047 Board Cabin 05

…which still has a bunch of whimsical chalk drawings depicting the camp’s horses (it was a riding camp, after all):

048 Board Cabin 06

Amazing this kind of thing would still be around after 15 years:

049 Board Cabin 08

And much nicer bathrooms!

050 Board Cabin 02

If you’re looking for a camp locale for your next production, it wouldn’t take much to restore these cabins enough for a shoot – and you can’t beat this authentic, totally classic camp look. Best of all, with the camp closed down, you’d have your run of the place without having to worry about campers showing up for the summer season.

But there’s even more! Coming Thursday, the final installment, with a look at the camp’s rec facilities, including the old pool, basketball court, and lake!

And if you missed it, be sure to check out part 1 here.

-SCOUT

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18 comments

  1. Brings back such great camping memories from my childhood. I’m a dad now and feel so out of touch. Do camps like this still exist? In terms of dropping your kid off for 2 weeks or whatever of camping? I haven’t heard anybody mentioning a summer camp since I went to one, I would love to send my kid out when he gets older.

    Looking forward to the rest of your shots!

  2. This makes me think of The Parent Trap – the original, not the awful remake. I always wanted to go to a summer camp, and wanted it to look just like this, well not abandoned and run down though. Gorgeous photos, thanks Nick.

    Dale, yes, they do still have summer camps. They have them for any kind of sport, activity, religion, etc you can think of. Just google summer camp and you’ll be busy for hours.

  3. Wow, this is pretty cool. Thanks for all of your posts.
    If I may point out an observation, I think it is “Cheryl! the Great!”. I agree, always put the year. HA!

  4. That place looks remarkably similar to the camp that my children – and now my grandchildren – attend every summer, in Virginia.

  5. It’s sad at some level because if it does gets used for a film set, they will erase all the original details, and it won’t really be Camp Wishe anymore.

  6. I agree–it’s Cheryl! the Great!

    I went to a camp like this, not far from the Delaware Water Gap. I hated it, but I can see the charms. It’s definitely more interesting from an historical distance…

    • Ha, I think you’re right. Now that I think back a little more, I’m pretty sure I was the kid the rest of the cabins would all bond over hating…and come to think of it, I was always picked last for sports teams…and in fact, my one favorite event was when our cabin decided to go with a Star Wars theme for our camp parade, and pretty much everyone was disappointed but me…

  7. This post inspired me to begin writing a screenplay.. not sure why.

  8. WOW! Your post brought back memories. I attended Camp Wishe in the 1970’s. The two small cabins with the adjoining roof was the Arts and Crafts building. The building with the large chalk board was the Recreation Cabin – used on rainy days. Also one of the few buildings with electricity. The cabins had no power supply. More than likely Lurch and Scooter were horses. I don’t recognize them, but Pawnee in the photo above it, was a large chestnut horse. The picture of the bathroom building that has only stalls was nearer the cabins. It had no electricity, so one had to take a flashlight with them at night. Thank you for sharing these photos and tour of the camp.

    • Amber, I love that you found this and shared this info with us. This is so cool. It made the pictures come alive.

  9. Lurch and Scooter were horses. The Cabin with the ‘forgotten trunk’ was were either the head counselor or art counselor lived. Thoses were indeed the ‘bathrooms’ (outhouses really), the reinforced cabin was the infirmary. The two cabins with the roof between was where we had art classes.
    If Bunk 6 is still there, no name, we were ‘too old’ for that, you can find the story on the wall of how a few of us ran away with the cook and his friends one night. Of course, we got caught…

  10. I went to Camp Wishe for 8 summers in the 1960’s. I can fill in some details about some of your pix, if you want.

  11. Christina Rudling

    “I think this slightly more reinforced structure was the counselor cabin”. No man!
    All counselors stayed in the same frugal cabin as the kids they were in charge of. For almost two months!
    I was one the Euoropean counselors 1966 and 1967. To work in a childrens camp was an excellent way to afford travelling to the US from Europe (free flight, pocket money and one month of travelling around the country).
    For me Camp Wishe was indeed an interesting first meeting with US. I remember how one the teenagers always shouted “this is NOT a socialist country” (like Sweden?) when I asked her to pic up her thing from the bunk floor.
    But most of the girls were nice, it was always summer, it was near NYC.
    It´s so sad to see your pictures from Camp Wishe today.

  12. Leslie Dangerfield

    And if they choose not to rehabilitate the cabins, it makes for a great Camp Crystal Lake setting for a horror film. LOL Were you even creeped the slightest while roaming the abandoned campground?

  13. Thanks for posting these great pictures, which bring back such specific images for me, a camper there in summer ’68 and ’69, Bunk IV and Bunk V. Happy (sweetest horse ever), Pawnee, Lurch, Voulez-Vous, Grey (the balky one) are horses I remember vividly. Riding was generally everyone’s favorite activity, but tennis and arts and crafts and the occasional hike and cookout were memorable, too. The lake near the swimming pool was for use only by girls who could swim well. I remember watching the campers who were studying for their life saving certificate “saving” people who were trying to pull them under, and campers getting canoeing certificates righting overturned canoes.

  14. Lynda (Watt) Olita

    I had some of the best summers of my life in the early 70’s at Camp Wishe, as a matter of fact one of the photos shows where I had signed my name on the cabin ceiling.I was shocked to see that!So sad to see how it looks now. Really brought me back though.

  15. As always a great post with some cool pics. I love that the former Camp Wishe attendees are bringing it more to life for the rest of us. I always wanted to go away to a Summer camp but it wasn’t something my parents believed in. This was exactly what I envisioned it to be. Tks! for sharing:)

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