From the Parish Archives: Camp Lawton

Saint Paul's ChurchHistory

by Rose Nightingale

To continue with information on the importance of camping to Saint Paul’s Church:

st croix lakeCamps were conducted by volunteer staff — usually former choir members — assisted by church staff, including the choirmaster and Bess Healy. A cook was hired under Miss Healy’s direction. In 1928, Paul Kingsley, a former choirboy, heard of a 20-acre tract on Deer Lake in St. Croix, Wisconsin. It appeared to be a desirable campsite.

A detailed inspection was made and an original payment of $500 was made on a purchase contract. A newly organized Choir Alumni Association was responsible for raising money to complete the purchase. Paul Kingsley served as president with Robert Gile, Sr. and Charles Drew, Jr. as Secretary and Treasurer. Financial contributions from this group and other parish organizations and friends, especially the Choir Mothers Association, made possible completion of payment within a very few years.

In 1940 the old house on the property was replaced by Goodwin Hall, paid for by memorial contributions to camp. Goodwin Hall became the dining hall, and also housed the cook’s room and a bathroom. All buildings built were named for Choirmasters and the camp was named “Camp Lawton.” During the period of World War II, though hampered by shortages of materials and labor, John Frame, Senior Warden, was able to maintain the building in first-class condition. He obtained and installed wood block floors in the choir and chancel. Covering the whole floor had to be abandoned due to lack of material. In 1950, the Vestry approved $7927 for a new roof, repair to windows and floors, and complete exterior painting.

Buildings and grounds at Camp Lawton received their share of maintenance. Another proposal came for merger with St. Mark’s in 1947. This was initiated by Bishop Keeler.