For many years, Saint Paul’s Parish owned a summer camp for boys, girls, and families. Starting in 1898, and for more years, the choir director took the boys from the choir to Edgewood on Lake Minnetonka. They boarded a steam train for the ride to the lake, then hiked a mile or two to the camp site. The cost of the train ride was $8.
Over the next twenty years sites for choir outings were Chisago Lake to Lake Sylvia near Annandale. The choir alumni and others in the meantime were looking for a permanent campground that could be purchased for the church.
Deer Lake, a few miles across the state line in Wisconsin, was finally selected as Saint Paul’s choir camp. Charles Drew, longtime parishioner and active member, helped buy the 18-acre parcel near St. Croix Falls in 1928. The Choir Alumni Association and Choir Mothers Association presented the deed to the vestry with the understanding the property would be named “Camp Lawton” in memory of Edgar C. Lawton, a highly creative choir director prior to WWI. It was dedicated to the perpetuation on of tent camping.
Camp Lawton was a volunteer’s dream! Parishioners spent weekends building tent floors, dock, and stairs, and completely renovating and enlarging an existing building. The structure became the dining hall and was named for Hugo “Unk” Goodwin, camp director from 1931 – 1936. Tents, stoves, refrigerators, dishes — all necessary equipment was brought in camp trailers, trucks, and cars.
Camp Lawton never cost the church a penny. The land, building, and equipment were donated by choir members. Funds were raised by the choir giving concerts, the choir mothers club, and interested members of the church. Goodwin Hall was wired for electricity and a sewage drainfield was made to comply with Wisconsin specifications.
– To be continued –
Article submitted by Rose Nightingale