"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"
Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others.
Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill.
787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three
counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.
Thomas, Homer L. president and manager of Camp Winnepe, a boy's camp on Catfish Lake in the town of Lincoln, Vilas County, was born at Marion, Ind., Sept. 3, 1882. He received his early education in the schools of Marion and subsequently entered Purdue University, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1907. For the following ten years he taught in Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., and since 1917 he has been head of the Department of Physical Education in the public schools of Birmingham, Ala. He was married July 3, 1907, to Lillina ARNOLD, and he and his wife have two children, Jane, now aged 15 years, and Susan, aged eight. In 1911 Mr. THOMAS purchased the Grandview Resort in Vilas County from Mr. MCINTYRE; this property included 100 acres of land, and its buildings then consisted of a main lodge and two log cabins. Here Mr. THOMAS established a camp for boys, changing the name to Camp Winnepe and proceeding with the development of the property to its present fine condition. He erected a combined boat house and bathing pavilion 40x55 feet in dimensions, two stories high, which is one of the finest structures of this nature in northern Wisconsin; the second floor of this building is used as a gymnasium and dressing room. He also built a two-story club house east of the main lodge, overlooking the lake; this building is artistically designed and is ideally suited to its purpose; the first floor consists of one large room, with large rustic cobble stone fireplace, a piano, and a table for games; on the second floor are the reading room and library, the office of the directors, and the post office. Another building recently added is the washing pavilion, supplied with running water and provided with other equipment necessary to such a structure. There are 80 wall tents, made of extra heavy duck and fitted with raised wooden floors; these are furnished with spring cots, with mattresses. The camp was incorporated in 1919, with Mr. THOMAS as president and manager; H. R. CROOK, vice president; James F. COOK, secretary; and A. O. KELLEY, treasurer. Mr. CROOK is a graduate of Amherst College and is a teacher in the Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago; Mr. COOK is a graduate of the University of Illinois and is a teacher in the Soldan High School of St. Louis; Mr. KELLEY is a graduate of Dartmouth College and is now teaching in the Soldan High School in St. Louis. The board of directors includes these offiers and A. T. SIHLER, of St. Louis, a graduate of Washington University. During the season of cooperation of the camp these men, all of whom have had wide experience in camp life and the handling of boys, are on the ground and devote their entire attention to the administration of the camp's affairs. They are assisted by a corps of councilors, men of the very highest type, experienced in work of this sort and each a specialist in some particular form of outdoor craft. To each councilor there is assigned a group of five or six boys, the small number in his group enabling him to give individual attending to each boy. A competent physician, who is a member of the camp staff, looks after the health of the boys, and no detail has been overlooked in providing for their welfare and safety. The sleeping tents are all heavily screened, affording protection from mosquitoes and other insects. It is doubtful if any of the memories of a lifetime can mean more than that of a summer spent at Camp Winnepe in boyhood, and certainly there can be no better preparation for the battle of life than the lessons of self-reliance, of social adaptability, and of manliness to be learned here among the beauties of Nature in her wild state, with the companionship of other boys of the high moral character demanded by the camp, and the guidance and counsel of the splendidly-chosen staff. The boy returns home from a summer here glowing with health, developed physically, socially, mentally, and morally. Competitive athletics are an invaluable feature of the training here, and all the major sports are represented. The baseball field is one of the finest to be found anywhere in this region, and activities in this sport are under the personal direction of Mr. COOK, who was at one time a member of the family Chicago "Cubs," and who has had long experience as a coach; Mr. COOK devotes hours every day to training the boys in this sport, and he has developed some teams of championship form. Swimming is under the management of Mr. CROOK, another of the directors, who is a specialist in this field. There are a number of excellent tennis courts, and a championship event among those proficient in this game is held every season. Track and field athletics and basket-ball are also particularly encourage, and there are many other sports, such as indoor ball, hand ball, volley ball, quoits, canoe racing, canoe wrestling, and canoe tilting. A branch camp is maintained on Kentuck Lake, about 20 miles from the main camp, deep in the heart of the wilderness, and a stay at this camp, opportunity for which is offered every boy, is a unique and impressive experience. Starting with an enrollment of 20 in 1911, Camp Winnepe has grown until today, it accommodates upwards of 100 boys every summer. Mr. THOMAS can well be proud of his achievement, and of the splendid work his camp is accomplishing for the welfare of the coming generation.
Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 721-722,
History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin;
Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others
1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co
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