Continuing our series of archival photos and documents, today we have this; it’s an original application to attend Rockbrook from 1921, its very first year. That summer, girls attended for one long session that lasted 8 weeks between July 6th and August 31st. This application shows that Elizabeth Fisher from Hackensack, NJ was one of 35 girls who traveled to Brevard to be the very first Rockbrook campers. So neat!
Did you know that before Rockbrook was a summer camp it was well known in the area as a working farm? Henry P. Clarke, the father of Nancy Carrier, camp founder, was a well respected farmer in Brevard. After doing some research we have found that Mr. Clarke bred chickens, shorthorn cattle and even raised dogs. There was a large garden plot, muscadine grape vines and a dairy that was run by a family member of Mr. Clarke. When Rockbrook was founded in 1921 the farm provided all of the food and meat for the whole camp!
While doing the research on the farm, we came across Mr. Clarke’s name in several publications. We learned that Mr. Clarke operated a kennel called Brevard Kennel. Here is a snippet from The Field Dog Book:
We also discovered an interesting advertisement in the back of The Country Gentlemen Magazine for Rockbrook Farms Shorthorn Cattle. Check out the ad as well as a birthing record of two of the cows Lady Mell and Minerva.
It is clear that Mr. Clarke was a man of many talents! In our next blog we will share a great article about Mr. Clarke “saving the farming season” with his new modern tractor.
One of the most common memories shared with us from our former campers is their recollections of Polar bear swim in the chilly lake at camp. Campers would get up at the rising bell, and with their counselors would run down to the lake for a quick dip. What a refreshing way to start the day!!
We found a great write up about Polar Bear in our Rockbrook Memories Book. Jerkey, a much beloved Rockbrook director would lead the girls in their morning plunge.
“Much of the fun at camp that summer stemmed from Jerkey’s leadership. I can see her now as she led us during those wee hours of the early morning in a series of setting up exercises before we jumped into that icy cold pool. Somehow, even in my shivering state, she made it seem glorious thing to do.”
You will be glad to know that the Polar Bear tradition continues today and that the camp lake is as chilly as ever!! As the camp song states: “Polar, polar, polar bear, you can be a part of it all, if you dare!”
We were so excited to see former Rockbrook counselor and Junior Line Head extraordinaire Christy Middleton Buchanan when she stopped by the RBC office last week. She came by to introduce us to her sweet baby girl Mirabelle! Mirabelle was born July 1, 2010. She is absolutely adorable and already has been introduced to all of the Rockbrook songs! We wonder what her favorite song is?
Christy says that she is already counting down the days until Mirabelle can be a Rockbrook camper! Summer 2018 will be here before you know it! We will be waiting Mirabelle!
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.
Did you know that there is a gallery of historical camp photos on the Rockbrook Web site? We just added a few more from our photo archive, so you should go take a look. For example, there’s this great shot of Mr. Carrier’s water wheel.
Over the next few months we’ll be adding more, and we hope to continually add photos.
If you have any old photos of camp that you’d like us to upload, send them out way and we’ll be happy to add them to the gallery.
You can also add them directly to our Rockbrook page on Facebook.
Thanks! And send in those photos!
If you have not already done so please take a moment to join our Rockbrook Camp Alumnae Group on Facebook. It is a great place to reconnect with old friends and to keep in touch with the happenings at camp. We hope to see you there!