Fall Colors Have Arrived at RBC

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!

Take a short walk around the heart of camp and you’ll see bright popping color in every direction. The Junior Lodge is speckled with yellow leaves. The giant maple tree in front of Curosty proudly displays a show of red and orange. The walnut tree in the center of the hill is littering the ground with black walnuts.

Every trail in the camp is a multi-colored cascade of delight.

Here’s to the changing of the seasons!  Happy Fall everyone.

A View from a Lodge in 1923

Mountain view from Rockbrook Camp on 1923 postcard

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.

Sybil Dodson

Sybil Dodson

We were saddened to learn this week of the passing of long time Rockbrook friend Sybil Dodson.  Sybil, fondly known to us at Rockbrook as Mrs. Potter, passed away Friday, October 8 in Asheville, NC.

Sybil and her husband John were the founders of the pottery program at Rockbrook. In addition to creating and running Rockbrook’s pottery program, Sybil also managed the camp store as well as her family’s shop Mud Dabbers Pottery.  Sybil was like a mother to many of the campers that she interacted with and lots of girls spent time at the camp store just so they could visit with Mrs. Potter.  Her kindness and bright smile were a gift to all of us at Rockbrook. Her contributions to RBC will be long remembered.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 15 in the Memorial Chapel of the Brooks-Howell Home, Asheville NC.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Brooks-Howell Home, 266 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC  28801.  Condolences may be sent through the Morris Funeral Home.

Alumna Guest Blogger – Lizzie Rizzo

NC Camp Waters

Today we have a guest post from Rockbrook alum, Lizzie Rizzo.  Lizzie grew up in New Iberia, LA and attended Rockbrook for many summers. She and her husband Jordan currently live in Austin, TX.  Here’s Lizzie:

Columbus Day is not a holiday I typically make many plans for (do you?) But looking at my calendar a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had this day off from work (I work for a Boston-based company and the holiday is a bigger deal up there). So I started thinking about what to do with this extra day away – what a gift! Around the same time, out of the blue, Jerry texted me a photo of the harvest moon over Brevard. The last straw was when I was talking to a colleague who told me to look out for her call from an 828 area code number (odd since she is based in San Francisco, but was visiting family in Highlands). All that could only add up to one thing, it was time for me to get back to Brevard!

I spent 13 summers at Rockbrook as a camper and counselor and not a summer goes by that I don’t think about camp – and yes, there’s often a little tinge of jealously! I could tell you about how Rockbrook helped to shape me into who I am and was a place that I met lifelong friends, but y’all already understand that and no doubt have many of your own memories. So instead, I’ll just say that this weekend has been full of many of the same elements present when I was here in years past – good friends, fresh mountain air and even a hike up at Sam Knob.

I recommend coming up to here when you can – whether it’s for Patriot’s Day, Canadian Thanksgiving 🙂 or just a quick weekend visit – make some plans, call your old friends and come back to your summer home.

Summer Camp Book Series

Katy Grant book cover

Have you had a chance to read the summer camp book series Summer Camp Secrets by Rockbrook alumna, Katy Arbuckle Grant?  They are loosely based on her time spent at Rockbrook and are a wonderful read!  Those of us who have spent time in the heart of a wooded mountain will feel right at home in Katy’s books.

The latest in the series is called Summer Camp Secrets- Fearless. The story centers around the horseback riding program at Camp Pine Haven.  The main character Jordan is eager to learn to jump on a horse and try lots of other new things.  That is one of the things we feel that make camp so special!

Katy’s books can be found online on her website at www.katygrant.com

Thanks for sharing such wonderful camp stories Katy!

Dinner at The Rockbrook House, 1921

Old dinner inside clarke carrier rockbrook house
Campers and staff enjoying dinner at The Rockbrook House, circa 1921

We were thrilled to visit with former camper Shea Hussey Lackie and her parents and daughters last week.  Shea wanted to give her future Rockbrook campers a tour so they would know all about camp when it is their time to attend.  Sarah enjoyed walking around with them and sharing camp stories.

Shea’s parents were kind enough to bring copies of two Rockbrook photos that were taken in 1921, the year that Rockbrook began.  Shea’s grandmother Kathleen Conant Hussey attended camp that year and is in both of the pictures.  We were particularly excited about one of the photos as it features the campers eating dinner in The Rockbrook House.  Before the dining hall was built, all meals were served inside The Rockbrook House (or Carrier House as it is sometimes called) but we have never found a photograph of mealtime.  We were so happy that they were kind enough to share this picture with us as it is a great addition to our archives.

If you have any photographs that you would like to share please let us know.  How lucky we are to have so much history in one place, here in the heart of a wooded mountain.

Shirley Lampton

Shirley Lampton and Ellen Lensing
Shirley Lampton and Ellen Lensing

We just learned from Phyllis S. that Shirley Lampton has died at age 84. Shirley was a counselor for several years on the Senior Line and taught singing and riflery. She and Fannybelle were dear friends and remained so for decades after attending camp.

Phyllis writes:

Shirley was a humble, self-effacing embodiment of the spirit of Rockbrook. She was a dedicated Professor of Piano at Erskine College in Due West, SC (where Fannybelle had been Dean of Women and Professor of English). She also practically gave away piano lessons at her home for countless young people. (When she moved to the retirement center, she gave her grand piano to one of her former pupils, who had gone on to study organ under Marilyn Keiser at Indiana. He attributes his success to Shirley.) When she retired from Erskine, a piano scholarship was established in her honor. (A lecture series was established for Fannybelle.)

Now there is only one older member of our little reunion group: the remarkable Dr. Ellen Lensing, age 91, who had to move to Milwaukee last year to live with her sister because her (Ellen’s) health failed. Ellen worked in the office with Jerkey and was a counselor on Senior Line.

“The Spirit of Rockbrook is with you always.”


The History of Goodwill

Goodwill Cabin at Rockbrook
The Rockbrook Camp Goodwill Cabin

In 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Peck Clarke, formerly of Connecticut, purchased over 800 acres in Transylvania County on which they built their mountain estate.  On this site, their daughter Nancy Clarke Carrier and her husband Henry established Rockbrook Camp for Girls in 1921.   One of the more interesting facts about Mrs. Carrier is that she was the great granddaughter of PT Barnum, of circus fame.  Many circus artifacts were on display in the Carrier House, and thrilled many a camper, such as the chair of Tom Thumb and many lovely home furnishings.

This circus history also has a direct link to the building known as Goodwill.   The circus winter residence was at the Goodwill Plantation, located near Columbia, SC.  When Nancy Carrier decided to establish a summer camp on her property in Brevard, she moved two 200-year-old hand-hewn chestnut log cabins to the property.  She restored the cabins to their original beauty and made them part of the center of camp life.  The buildings were named “Goodwill” after the SC plantaion and Curosty (the mountain word for crafts). Both are still in use by the campers and remain a part of Rockbrook’s proud history.

Rockbrook Camp Council

Sunset on the Hill

We had a nice conversation the other day with Belinda Strickland aka “Sparkie” who was a camper at RBC in the 1960’s.  She told us that one of her fond camp memories was being chosen to be part of the Camper Council. The Council met weekly with Jerky and discussed lots of topics including the upcoming special events for the week.  Most of us here in the office had not heard of the Camp Council before.  What stories or memories do you have of the Council?  If you have any information on the Council or any other stories you would like to share we would love to hear from you!

A cold day at the Rockbrook lake

Ice skating on Rockbrook Camp lake
Nancy Carrier and her children,  Henry and Helen, enjoyed a cold day at the frozen Rockbrook lake. We think this photo was taken in the 1930’s.

We sure have had a cold winter this year in Brevard, but take a look at this photo from our archives. Can you imagine ice skating on the frozen Rockbrook lake? It looks like the Carriers were having a great time sliding around- they didn’t even need ice skates!  These days we drain the lake in the winter, but if we didn’t it would probably look just like this picture.