Since 1921

A Camp History

A video presenting the history of Rockbrook, featuring historic film reels and photographs, and highlighting the camp’s directors through the years.

Transcript – Camp History and Founders

Nancy Carrier moved to this property as a little girl. Her name was Nancy Clarke at that time. She was the daughter of H.P. Clarke and Nancy Clarke. Her mother was the great granddaughter of P.T. Barnum, and so her family owned the Ringling Brothers’ Barnum and Bailey circus. She came here with her mother and father, and lived in a summer home that they built on the property. She married a man named Henry Carrier, and they decided in 1921 that this would be the perfect place to open up a camp.

There was Mrs. Carrier and then Jerky or Ellen Jervy was one of the directors and she was here probably from 1929 until 1964. The Carriers owned the camp from 1921 to 1964, and the camp was purchased by Joe McConnell. The McConnells owned and operated the camp until I was involved in purchasing the camp in 1984. My partners in the camp were Teed Lowance and her husband, and I purchased the property in 1984, and then in 1986 I operated it until I passed it on to Sarah and Jeff Carter.

Canoe Trip Camp Girls

Three of the lodges are build out of rock. They were quarried on the property, but Mr. Carrier wanted a couple of authentic log buildings and so he and Mrs. Carrier discovered a couple of buildings on the Goodwill plantation which is near their home in Columbia, South Carolina. And so, Mr. Carrier brought the logs from both of those buildings. One of them is called Goodwill, named after the plantation and other is called Curosity, both of those are sites for teaching crafts, and one of them is used for teaching creative writing and journalism, but Mr. Carrier hauled them up here on a number of trips in a old Model T from Columbia, South Carolina and reconstructed them on the property.

Camp has always been into the outdoor activities obviously with this kind of a setting, but back in the early days they used to get on the river and paddle all the way to Asheville in those old canoes that would sink if you turned them over back in the 20’s and it was about a three day trip to get to Asheville.

So they’ve done things like that since the camp started. They’ve always been big in horseback riding. Right below the lake, you will see a little powerhouse and there was a waterwheel there, and we had a flume that carried water right out of the lake right across the waterwheel and turn the power generator that generated power for the lights in the camp.

Camp History of girls camp Rockbrook

That’s one of the things that stand out in the minds of our previous campers I’ve talked to, people who were here in the 20s and 30s and they’d come back and look around and noticed that it really hasn’t changed a whole lot.

There’s really only been four owners of the camp since it started and everybody who’s been involved with the camp has had long history with the camp. So everybody has been involved for a long time, and I think all of us understand and agree with the philosophy of the camp. And so, it’s basically operated under the same philosophy since it’s founded some 90 years ago.

The leaders at the camp have always played an important role in the community. Mrs. Carrier was ahead of her time. You can think back to the 20’s when didn’t vote, but Nancy Carrier was instrumental in starting the hospital here in the county, as well as a famous educational institution called the Brevard Music Center. More recently we’ve been involved in starting the Boys’ and Girls’ club, a center for victims of child abuse and a children’s home.

So I think over the years, the leaders at the camp have always been actively involved in the community which I think is good for children to see that you give back to your community and understand that everybody participates and tries to make the community better which is what campers tried to do when they’re living in their cabin groups at camp.