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Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco History

by Newton Woodruff, 1967
(Camp Ranger 1942-1967)

Before the year 1715, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco belonged to the Indians. The Lenni Lenape Indians, the earliest inhabitants of our camp, continued their old way of life in tents, caves and some rock houses. They spent their days fishing, hunting, and canoeing. They lived in a tribal unit and made frequent trips to other parts of the country. In 1718, William Penn acquired 5,000 acres around Blairstown which included Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco. On March 17, 1718, a surveying party headed by John Reading Jr. set out to explore the lands and they stumbled across the Minnisink's path between an Indian village at Pahaquarry and one at Marksboro. This path ran through an Indian village at Sand Pond, Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco.

Around 1740, the German settlers used this route to get from Pahaquarry to Newton. This is the road that runs past the camp entrance; it became a stage coach route from the copper mines in Pahaquarry to Newton. There was a stage coach stop at the "Concklin Inn" just below the camp entrance. You can still see the old stone foundation and on the top of the hill, going towards Stillwater at Bert Hooey's home, there was a mail stop (1852).

Part of this road was known as the Old Mine Road. This road ran from the copper mines in Pahaquarry to the old church in Millbrook then over the mountain to Flatbrook and on up the Delaware river to Kingston, New York (104 miles).

The section of the Old Mine Road from the Delaware Water Gap to Millbrook is the oldest road in the United States.

Unfortunately, this road will be flooded when the Tocks Island Dam is built so anyone who enjoys traveling over old roads should plan to take a trip over it before it is flooded.

Around 1810, Alfred Gwinnup started making glass in Delaware, New Jersey, and as Sand pond had a nice white sand beach, he used to haul the sand by oxen teams and wagons to his glass works. Because of this, it became known as Sand Pond.

About 1880, Andrew Hill had cranberry bogs at the west end of Sand Pond and he picked 25 to 30 bushels each year. I remember when I first came to No-Be-Bo-Sco, I used to pick cranberries from some of the remaining bushes each fall.

Around 1890, Mr. Crawn had a saw mill run by steam at the inlet on Sand Pond. He cut all of the large trees on the property and I have been told that all the saw dust from the mill was dumped into Sand Pond which makes the water look so dark brown in color.

The property was owned by Andres Yetter at this time. In 1927, a group of men known as the trustees of the North Bergen County Council B.S.A. purchased 940 acres of property for Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco which was to be used as a camp for the Bergen County Boy Scouts. This group of men included: Clarence D Kerr, Garret G. Ackerson, Alexander Jones, John R. Banta and Malcolm S. Mackay.

The property is in four townships: Hardwick, Pahaquarry, Wallpack, and Stillwater; and is in two counties, namely Warren and Sussex.

Mr. Ralph Filo was the Scout Executive and at that time the council had a camp on Lake Sparta called Camp Sparta. In 1928 the council hired Mr. Elmer Baker from Maine as the Ranger for Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco and he built all the log cabins in camp. The first building was built where Price Lodge is now, at the inlet of Sand Pond. It was used as a house for the Ranger and for the men who helped Mr. Baker build the log cabins. After that it was used as a boat house until the big snow in 1943 caused the roof to cave in.

In 1930, the Public Service Electric Company built the power lines across Sand Pond and in 1964 the line from Yards Creek to camp was hooked to the tower by Hopi Area.

The first dining hall was built in a beautiful location down by the lake where the waterfront cabin is now. The waterfront cabin was used as a dish room for the old kitchen. This dining hall burned down during the summer of 1934 at 3:00 AM. At the time there were 100 boys and staff members in camp and the Methodist Church in Blairstown came to their aid and loaned them their big tent that they used for clam bakes. The camp staff set it up and the boys had breakfast there for the rest of the season. In 1935, the Dining Hall was built on the top of the hill where it is now and additions were built on in 1950, 1956, 1960 and 1963.

On June 1, 1942, I became your Camp Ranger and built my house in camp that same year. In 1947 I became your Property Superintendent.

On February 22, 1944, a B-17 plane crashed on the top of the mountain and twelve men lost their lives. One of the men on board was from Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Before the council put electricity in camp in 1945, we first had an old 1932 Chevrolet engine and 40 car batteries to furnish the mess hall and the trading post with electricity. In 1941, we got an old one cylinder diesel engine from a hotel at Delaware Water Gap and used to make electricity with the forty old car batteries. In the summer time, I had to start the diesel engine at 5:00 AM and run it until 1:00 or 2:00 AM for refrigeration in the kitchen. Needless to say, this made a long day for me.

Finally, in 1955 we got a phone in camp, and was my wife Mabel happy to have it. Today there are 5600 feet of electric wires on 87 poles around camp. There are over 300 light bulbs and 42 electric motors in camp. Also there is 11,800 feet of water pipes around camp.

This year, 1967, marks my 25th year with the camp, it is also the camp 40th Anniversary, Needless to say I have seen a great many changes and a great deal of growth within camp during these twenty five years.

-Newton Woodruff, 1967

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