Emig's Grove Camp History
North Eastern York County History In Preservation NeyChip
Starting in 1851, a religious camp meeting was held on Henry Hoff’s land in Mount Wolf and continued for several years. Then one was held near there in 1860. Later, several were held on John Wogan’s land in now Saginaw.
Then May 24, 1880 Emig’s United Brethren Campground was established on 16 acres of ground bought from Mr. John Emig at $135 an acre. The location was one mile south of Mount Wolf Station on the line of the Northern Central Railway. The railroad made the campgrounds a stop for the convenience of its passengers. There was a small platform and a sort of arbor or archway that marked the campground stop. It comprised of 40 tents with floors and bunk, cottages, kitchen and dining area and a tabernacle. Tents rented for $2.50, cottages for $5.00 and board was $4.00 for 10 days. Nine acres were added in 1884. The camp attracted thousands of people each summer.
(As a side note: In one corner of the grounds, in a secluded spot, is a mysterious tomb of a soldier of the civil war. It has been sympathetically remembered by some patriotic members of the Camp Meeting Association, and marked by a neat and appropriate headstone. The body was moved to Prospect Hill Cemetery May 12, 1902. see article1 and article2 )
The 1896 season, which was very successful, was ending on August 7, 1896. “Many of the ministers had gone home and the visitors had dwindled down to about five hundred…The morning worship had been conducted and the breakfast had been severed when at 7:30 an alarm of fire was raised… It started at location No 98 occupied by Mrs. D. G. Foose. Some ashes from the stove had been scraped aside and unnoticed the fire in them had communicated to some paper or straw of which it appears there was a good deal scattered about the ground. From this the fire got to the building and it was but the work of moments until the fire had assumed such proportions that hope of saving the camp were meager, indeed…The fire was not confined to the grove either. In a field, adjoining Mrs. David Williams’, had a large straw stack. This was burned an even her house as threatened with destruction, had it not been for Mr. John Wogan…The loss is estimated at about $6000. There is an insurance of $3555. The loss on personal property may reach $1000 or more….It is fortune there were no accidents to persons.” Taken from Manchester Township History Profile #12 ,which has a lot more details about this event.
There were plans to rebuild for next the season with considerable precautions taken against fire. However, "soon afterwards Rev. Charles T. Stearn, president of the association, completed arrangements for the purchase of 28 acres of woodland on the south side of the Western Maryland Railroad near Smith Station close to Hanover. Two tabernacles and two hundred cottages were erected and it was called Penn Gove Camp. The grounds were lighted by electricity, and a 20,000 gallon water tank was erected to supply the camp with water. They had two dynamos, one for generating electricity and the other to pump water. The camp was at its strongest at the turn of the 20th century, and in the late 1940s through the 1960s, when York Gospel Center brought in national Christian speakers and singers and the camps were filled with children -- many who came by train.The Camp hosted upward of 10,000 people on any given Sunday when top national gospel figures like Billy Graham and Billy Sunday were present to conduct services. See article. The camp, with the 1896 tabernacle, is still in use today."
People walking from Smith Station to Penn Grove.
1896 tabernacle, is still in use today
"Landmark History of the United Brethren Church"
Rev. Daniel Eberly, Rev. Isaiah H Albright, Rev. C. I. B. Brane
"History of St. Paul United Methodist Church
Margaret H. Swan
Current picture of Penn Grove which started in Emigs Grove.
Emig's Grove Camp.
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