Monday, January 31, 2011

Anokijig's Western Lodge Part One

This is the first of a three-part story on Camp Anokijig's Western Lodge and was originally published in the August 1949 issue of Western Publishing's Westerner newsletter:

On Sunday, August 14, 1949, hundreds of people attended the official dedication of Western Lodge at Camp Anokijig, the 130-acre paradise of water and woodland operated by the Racine YMCA as a summer haven for boys and girls. Rising high on a hill overlooking Little Elkhart Lake near Plymouth, Wisconsin, this handsome log structure, reputed to be the largest of it's kind in the state of Wisconsin, is the gift to the Racine YMCA of Western Printing & Lithographing Company.

With a crew at one time of 23 lumberjacks from Northern Wisconsin and other contractors working on its construction, it was completed in 1948 and will serve as the main headquarters of the camp. The main room, with a large stone fireplace and overhead log trusses, without a single supporting beam for the ceiling, comprises the dining hall, which will seat 300 people for serving. The entire structure is 100 feet by 72 feet, high enough to be a two-story building, but designed as a one-story, high ceiling building. Its four block-house type corners give it a historic appearance in keeping with the architecture of early Wisconsin and the space is devoted to library and rainy-day recreation.

In the adjoining kitchen and pantries on the main floor are the most modern cooking and serving facilities, running water, sinks and even automatic dish-washing equipment. On the same floor are the camp offices, conference room and so-called kitchen-dining room, which has a fireplace of its own and all necessary facilities for a wintertime visit to camp. In the basement, which underlies one-fourth of the building are workshops, storage space for camp equipment, food storage space with walk-in type of refrigeration, laundry, shower bath, furnace and boiler room.

Prominent YMCA officials have proclaimed Western Lodge as the finest camp building of its kind and it is estimated that it will serve the interests of campers for a period of at least 100 years. That means it will help make camping enjoyable for several hundred thousand boys and girls of future generations.

Tomorrow- the people behind the donation and creation of Western Lodge

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