Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Camp Iss-See-Kes Sign

Camp Iss-See-Kes patch from an
online auction site
While out in Brownhelm Township on Sunday, I passed this sign (above) and recognized it as the former sign at the entrance to Camp Iss-See-Kes on Vermilion Road.

Although I was never at the Camp, which was operated by the Elyria YMCA for decades, I do remember the similar Indian head sign further north near Mill Hollow from when I was a kid. It was one of those landmarks that we watched for every time we went out that way.

Today the former camp property is a privately owned residence.

You can read a little more about Camp Iss-See-Kes at Rich Tarrant's Vermilion Views website by clicking here.

I was surprised to find out that apparently there is no tribute site dedicated solely to the Camp. There is the odd mention of it on a few websites, as well as a vintage postcard (below) that seems to be fairly easy to find.

There's also some information in the online archives of the Elyria Rotary website that includes the story of Rotarian Ralph Murbach, who was a major donor for the building of the "Rotary Lodge" at Camp Iss-See-Kes.

The "Rotary Lodge" at Camp Iss-See-Kes Circa 1946
(Photo courtesy of Elyria Rotary Club)
Hopefully someone will establish an online home for Camp Iss-See-Kes that will collect photos and reminisces of the happy campers. But until then, feel free to post any memories here by leaving a comment.

Ad from June 7, 1957 Lorain Journal
UPDATE – Thanks to Tom Glunt, who sent me an email, I'm now aware that Camp Iss-See-Kes does indeed have an online presence. Here's the link to its Facebook page that has been around since 2010. Be sure to drop by the Facebook "camp" and relive some happy memories through the wonderful reminisces and photos that have been posted!

UPDATE (June 21, 2017)
I posted a June 1965 full-page Lorain Journal article about Camp Its-See-Kes here.


Anonymous said...

I sent this link to my youngest brother in CA and this is what he wrote back - "Our entire 3rd and 4th grade classes at Prospect (Oberlin) went there for an overnight camping trip when I was in the 4th grade. Awesome memories. Lots of adult supervision , activities and fun.

We boarded the buses in the morning at Prospect in a heavy rain,thunder and lightning --it was probably late May or early June at the end of the school year. When we got there, the camp was still raining hard so they had us go to that Lodge in that picture on the link you sent and they showed us a movie --The WOLFMAN ! I think it was the Lon Chaney version but it may have been the one either just before it or thereafter. It was a dark scary morning and we were all crammed in there watching that old black and white movie --great
setting; I think it scared some of the girls since; totally awesome and scary.

I remember bunking in bunkbeds with someone on the top bunk; he had a watch that had an glow in the dark face and we thought that was cool. The art teacher at that time was the adult that camped in the same bunk house and he told some
ghost stories that was fun..

How neat to see that site and that old sign --would love to have it on a post in our back yard...". Me too!

Anonymous said...

That was Clearview High Schools "Band Camp" for many years.
One time- at band camp, I----never mind !!

Dan Brady said...

I appreciate the comments! I had no idea that other organizations and schools used the Camp too!

Drew Penfield said...

I am not familiar with the camp, but I agree that this is crying out for its own tribute website with recollections of former campers. I would love to read more about it. Maybe somebody will see this post and take up the project. Things like this shouldn't be lost to time and fading memories.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

When I was with the Special Opportunities Program at Oberlin College back in '68, we spent a weekend there, fuishing, camping, running around the woods, catching snakes and stuff.

My younger brother, Phillip, went there every summer when he was in grade school and junior high.

Anonymous said...

I just bought that same patch... I just liked the vintage graphic... but it is nice to see some history of the camp! Thanks. Stephen in Springfield IL.

Anonymous said...

I went there probably 1966-68 from Berea and loved it. My parents sent me for week and I remember the cabin with bunk beds and having a great time doing crafts and outdoor activities!

Carol Holbrook said...

Went to Camp Iss See Kes for many years in the last 1950's. I remember a whole week (6 days, 5 nights) cost $21.00. I loved the tetherball pit, even went for horseback riding once one summer while there! The campfire sessions and sing-a-longs at night were so cool.

Janet Foss (Trammell) said...

I am almost 73 years old and I went to Camp Iss-See-Kes in 1956 and remember it very well. As an adult, I used to walk the Vermilion River with my daughter who is now 44 yrs old and we would stop at the camp. In about 1984 the YMCA still owned it and we got permission to camp out there with several of my 4-H kids, including my daughter. It was so nostalgic to me. The buildings were still all there but very run down. How sad that it is so lost in the history of this area:( I would dearly love to see it one more time if there is anything left of it. I know it is privately owned so that will likely never happen. I can still sing the camp song. It was one of the best weeks of my young life!