Birch Bark Blast From the Past




Greetings time travelers! This Throwback Thursday, we’re taking you back. Way, way back (Ok, not THAT far). Recently, a long-time camper reached out to us with an amazing State Park related memento from her father, and correctly thought we might like to have it.

This special piece of memorabilia dates from the opening night of Lake Carmi State Park, on June 29, 1963. Her father, Gordon Bown, and family, camped at the park that first year, at site #14. On opening night, he went through the campground and collected signatures from campers at the 32 original sites (and where they traveled from)- all on a piece of birch bark from the park. The heading reads 

LAKE CARMI STATE PARK
Opening night campers 
29 June 1963
MR. CORLISS B. CENTABAR
Caretaker 

On the reverse side of the well-traveled frame is a hand-written note, detailing its creation and journey:


Lake Carmi State Park 
Campers’ Roll on birch bark made by Gordon Bown. Birch bark obtained from block of wood on wood pile by site #14, (from birch tree cut down to open camp sites). Campers' Roll presented to the Caretaker,  on 29 June 1963. Mr. Caretaker framed Campers' roll.

Campers' Roll was hung in ticket office for some years. Mr. Caretaker gave it to Caretaker and Ranger at Lake Carmi after Mr. Caretaker retired. Campers' Roll went to Department of Forest and Parks (Vermont) at Montpelier, Vermont. CR was returned to Art Davis at park. He kept it until 18 Aug, 1982 when he returned it to Gordon Bown- the camper who originated it!

Campers' roll completed the full circle in 19 years, 1 month, 21 days.

What a find. Thanks to Pamela Bown for donating it to us, and to her dad Gordon for hanging onto it for all these years. Who recognizes a family name or friend on this list??

It also seems fitting to note two popular songs on the billboard charts that particular month in 1963: “My Summer Love” by Ruby and the Romantics, and “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole.

Who else has cool State Parks related memorabilia, photos, etc. from past years tucked away in their basement, just dying to see the light of day? Please share, we’d love to see them! 

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