We found this great image from the National Wildlife Federation and of course instantly thought of camp! What are some of your favorite magic moments from your days at Rockbrook? Sleeping under the stars for the first time, splashing in the cold lake, your first S’more? Please share with us one of your special camp “firsts”!
Arts and crafts has been an important part of the program at Rockbrook since it’s founding in 1921. Giving girls the chance to express themselves creatively, the crafts program features many specialties such as jewelry making, pottery and painting.
A favorite creative outlet at Rockbrook is weaving on the loom. Weaving takes place as part of the “Curosty” activity. Curosty (a regional term for “know-how”) is the home of our fiber arts classes which include weaving, basketry, knitting, cross stitch, and needlepoint. The class takes place in our 19th century log cabin which can be seen in the photo above.
In a catalog from the 1930’s Curosty is described as: “a place where the lore of the mountains is preserved in the indigenous craft of weaving.” In the 1920’s the creative outlets were also considered important to young women as they would “help make their homes more attractive.” Although the roles of young women have changed a lot since the 1920’s, the creative outlets still give the campers the chance to express themselves creatively and expand their skills in a multitude of outlets.
Click here for more about our current craft program which still features weaving on the very same looms from the 1930’s!
We’ve often pointed out that Nancy Carrier, the woman who founded Rockbrook Camp, is the great-granddaughter of P.T. Barnum, the great American showman and circus founder. It’s true, and here is a cool old photograph that helps explain the lineage. Taken in 1875, this is a portion of a larger family portrait showing P.T. Barnum, his second wife, Nancy Fish, several of his children, son-in-laws, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
P.T. Barnum is seated third from the right and the woman seated third from the left is Nancy Fish Barnum, his second wife. Standing between them is Samuel Henry Hurd, the man who married P.T. Barnum’s second daughter Helen Maria. Samuel and Helen Hurd had three daughters, the second of which, Julia Caroline, you see standing here to the far right. Julia Caroline Hurd, who was born in 1860, was P.T. Barnum’s granddaughter. In this picture she is fifteen years old.
Later, in 1886 when she was 24 years old, Julia Hurd married Henry Peck Clarke. She moved with her new husband from Connecticut in 1888 to South Carolina after purchasing the Goodwill plantation. It was there, in 1889, that Nancy Barnum Clarke was born, the woman who later marries Henry Nash Carrier in 1913, and in 1921 establishes Rockbrook Camp. Put differently, the young woman standing to the far right in this photograph is Nancy Carrier’s mother.
There are many more details and stories to tell about each of these people. Stay tuned…!
The Transylvania County Historical Society has made an interesting find that ties the Rockbrook Camp property to the oldest Presbyterian church in the area. Local historians Keith Parker and Gene Baker now believe the “Mamre congregation” had its “Presbyterian Meeting house below the mouth of Dunn’s Creek” right across from the main entrance to Rockbrook. What’s phenomenal is that this church was in place in 1798. That’s the same year that the U.S. government officially obtained this land from the Cherokee! This means the property that would later become Rockbrook Camp (when Nancy Carrier’s father Henry Peck Clarke purchased it) was a thriving community more than 100 years before the camp was founded. This area, known as the Dunn’s Rock Township, was the third largest in the area when Transylvania County was formed in 1861.
Now take a look at this view of the French Broad River valley from the top of Dunn’s Rock. We’re not sure what year it was made (and whether it’s a colorized photograph or a painting based on a photograph; thanks to Roger Raxter for giving us a copy), but you can clearly see, along the bottom edge, the old “Dunn’s Rock Bridge” crossing the river. Right next to it, you can make out the red roof of what we think is that old Presbyterian meeting house from 1798. It was just south of where the bridge crossed the river. Like the church, this bridge is no longer there.
Such important history surrounding Rockbrook!
During our camp reunion in 2009 one of the most popular events was the hike to Kilroy’s Cabin which is up past Castle Rock. Jerry took a large group of hikers on one of his wild adventures to find Kilroy’s. The group returned with wild stories, dirty clothes and big smiles on their faces!
The legend of Kilroy is famous in Rockbrook history and everyone has their own version of the story. What is your favorite Kilroy story? Just watch out if you have red hair and green eyes… You may not want to go up there!
We are all looking forward to our next reunion which will happen during the end of August 2011! We will gather again to celebrate 90 years of summer fun, friendships, and wonderful adventures (and a crazy hike to Kilroy’s of course). We hope you will be able to join us! Stay tuned for more information…
While doing some research for the Rockbrook archives we came across this fascinating article printed in The New York Times in 1888. It is another written source that connects Rockbrook, Goodwill Cabin, Goodwill Plantation, Nancy Carrier and P.T. Barnum. What an interesting history!
Barnum’s Gift To A Granddaughter.
From the Columbia (S.C.) Register. October 18
It is evident that the renowned P.T. Barnum has a good opinion of South Carolina real estate, for he has recently given to his granddaughter, the wife of Henry P. Clarke, $100,000 for the purpose of buying and equipping the noted “Goodwill” plantation, which was formerly owned by the late Judge Edward Elliot Huger. The transfer of the property took place yesterday. Mr. Clarke owns another plantation near Eastover, where they have resided for several years. “Goodwill” is one of the finest estates in the South, containing upward of 7000 acres, including a magnificent water power. Several hundred acres of the richest river bottoms are protected from overflow by a levee extending for five miles along the banks of the Wateree River. The other improvements on the property are upon the same scale.
Right around the time that Nancy Barnum Clarke and Henry Clarke received their gift from P.T. Barnum they also purchased 300 acres in Brevard that would later become Rockbrook Camp. Their daughter Nancy Clarke Carrier grew up spending time between Brevard and Goodwill Plantation. She founded Rockbrook in 1921 and brought two buildings from Goodwill Plantation to the camp property. Goodwill and Curosty are central to the heart of camp and are still in use today. What an amazing gift from P.T. Barnum!
What a gorgeous time of year it is in Brevard ! The beautiful fall colors have arrived at Rockbrook and boy are they amazing. Even though it is quiet without the sounds of summer, it is a wonderful time to see the splendor of the changing leaves. The smells of woodsmoke and the crunching of the leaves are magical!
Here’s to the changing of the seasons! Happy Fall everyone.
Here’s a real surprise. It’s a postcard from 1923 showing the mountain view from the “Lakeview Lodge” at Rockbrook. Now, of course, the trees behind the lake are much, much taller and this view is obscured, so it’s wonderful to see what it was like soon after the Lodge was built.
The postcard was mailed to a “Miss Oakley” who lived at “Oakburn” in Asheville, NC. A camper named Fanny mailed the card. We’re not sure who these people are (Let’s us know if you do!), but it’s nice to see this snapshot of Rockbrook’s history.