A Brief History of old Opequon Quaker Camp (now Shiloh)
These are pictures of the facilities at the old Opequon Quaker Camp (which is now Shiloh) from the mid and late 80’s. During these years the camp was operated on a flood plain on the Pidgeon Farm near Clearbrook, VA. The site was referred to as Opequon-on-the-Flood-Plain or “down the hill.” This might be confusing because we now operate another camp (called Opequon) “up the hill” from the site pictured here. Too confused? Read the history section. If you were at Opequon during these times, you’ll never forget it. Here are some pictures to jog your memory.
More about Opequon:
The summer camp that would become Opequon (and subsequently Shiloh) was first held in the summer of 1977 at the Glaydin School near Lucketts, Virginia, and directed by John Sexton. Three one week sessions were offered. Camp was held here for one more year in 1978, and then in 1979 moved to the Pidgeon farm near Clearbrook, Virginia (up the long driveway – the same site as the present-day Opequon Quaker Camp). In 1979 John Sexton, John Huffman, and Sheila Bach directed camp. In 1980, it was Sheila and John Sexton. In 1981, just Sheila. The black and white photo is a very old photo of the front gate that led up the steep driveway to camp. It is much more grown up today.
From 1982 to 1986 Michael DeHart (now the director of Thornton Friends School) directed Opequon. From the beginning, the Opequon site was shared with acamp operated by the Grace Bible Fellowship Church in Clearbrook, Virginia. Grace and BYM each operated our summer camps there for part of the summer. As demand for camp within BYM grew, it became clear that we needed to expand the summer session. Unfortunately, there was only so much summer to go around and in order to grow we had to move.
BYM engineered a short move down the hill to the site pictured in photos at the top of this page in time for the summer of 1987. Prior to 1987 the flood plain site was used as a public family campground. (Remember the postcard that looked like it pictured a young Dave Gregal holding a fish? It was a postcard advertising the family campground. The text on the back read: Caught beside Campsite No. 5 at Opequon Creek Family Campground…) Anyway, tarp structures had to be built, the kitchen (which had formerly been the general store for the family campground) had to be expanded and the dishwashing “cage” added, a pavilion built, and “improvements” made to the bathhouse. Despite the lack of trees, camp did have a pool which helped campers and staff keep cool.
This modest site taught us that camp is about people, not place.
We last had camp at this site in the summer of 1991. After this, camp moved to it’s present site at Shiloh Quaker Camp near Stanardsville, Virginia and opened in time for the summer of 1992. The flood plain site on the Pidgeon farm has been used mainly for grazing cattle since that time. There was a trailer on the property that was used as an infirmary. Not long after we moved camp to Shiloh, a small plane crashed into it and it was destroyed. Many of the original buildings on the flood plain Opequon site are falling down or are completely gone. In 2001 when a new infirmary was being built at Shiloh, we asked the Pidgeons if we could use some windows out of the old kitchen at Opequon. All the windows in the infirmary at Shiloh came out of the old kitchen.