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LOOKING BACK: Fossenvue was idyllic camp website for space elite | Way of life

Fall is a time to mirror on the thrill of summer time. For a lot of distinguished Geneva residents within the final quarter of the nineteenth century, it meant remembering their annual month of August tenting at Fossenvue on Seneca Lake — close to the very southern boundary line of Seneca County.

In July 1875 a bunch of seven buddies gathered on the Lochland residence of Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Miller questioning how they might have a superb time that summer time. Somebody within the group proposed a tenting journey. With unanimous settlement, they set about making their plans. They gathered reasonably easy tools and provides — just a few cooking utensils, two oil stoves, two tents, an enormous Wilson rowboat, loads of provisions and a enough provide of blankets and “waterproofs.”

The group and a canine set out from Geneva on one of many steamboats that repeatedly cruised on Seneca Lake. They debarked at Fassett’s (additionally generally often known as Faussett’s and as Caywood) Level, one mile north of North Hector (right now often known as Valois) on the east shore of Seneca Lake, as a result of they knew it was a superb picnic spot. Thus started the muse of a camp life that endured for greater than 1 / 4 of a century at a spot that also right now is called Fossenvue or Camp Fossenvue.

To this camp every August got here these seven founders, their youngsters and lots of buddies and a number of other well-known individuals comparable to Susan B. Anthony and Louis Agassiz Fuertes (an acclaimed ornithologist and illustrator). The Camp turned identified for its gathering of the elite for recreation, inventive and inventive exercise, and its affiliation with many distinguished people from Cornell and Hobart and William Smith Schools. These guests got here by lake steamboat or by prepare after which walked right down to the lake from the Lodi-Watkins Highway.

The unique group of seven included: Elizabeth Smith Miller, her daughter Anne Fitzhugh Miller, her finest pal Ruth Lesley Ver Planck, Emily Dilworth Snyder, Anne Palfrey Bridge, James Fowler and William Fitzhugh Miller. A number of of those people, however particularly Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Ann Fitzhugh Miller, had been distinguished leaders within the Geneva-area girl suffrage motion and the Geneva Political Equality Membership. In a pleasant competitors for a camp identify, Elizabeth Smith Miller instructed “Fossenvue,” which is an anagram for the “seven of us.” Her prize from her was a cooking apron.

Kindle friendship

For many of those years, the campers spent your entire month of August at Camp Fossenvue. Each day actions included swimming, lounging in water hammocks, garden tennis, mountain climbing and archery, composing poetry, letters or music, singing, sketching, discussing philosophical author and artist John Ruskin or different writers and philosophers. The camp motto was “Kindle Friendship.” The campers ate outside beneath an open, striped tent. Their weight loss plan included loads of recent eggs, fish, fruit and greens from the close by farms. Elizabeth Smith Miller was identified for her superior cooking de ella at her residence de ella and at this camp. Every day there was a selected “sentiment” or thought, which was learn and mentioned at every meal. Usually, it was an editorial by Ruskin. Poems had been learn at dinner. A few of the campers would row south to West Agamemnon, some would play the banjo or the piano, and a few would simply spend the times simply sitting within the shade.

Initially there have been simply the tents. Early on some small wood buildings had been constructed. In September 1899, the “regulars” gifted Elizabeth Smith Miller with a brand new constructing for her 77th birthday, which turned often known as the Queen’s Citadel. Queen’s Citadel is a one-room wood construction that’s roughly sq., 17 toes 6 inches by 18 toes, with a lofty ceiling and big stone fire. It was designed by North Carolina architect Arthur C. Nash, who was born in Geneva. Maybe not coincidentally, the Citadel was the results of the labor of seven males, with the work begun on the seventh day of the month and accomplished in simply seven days! This constructing was positioned on the Nationwide Register in 1999, which was the a hundredth anniversary of its development.

The annual August campsite continued till 1901. In 1924, the location was offered to the Elmira Council of Boy Scouts for Camp Seneca. This Boy Scout camp continued to function till 1989. In 1996, the USA Division of Agriculture bought the property and made it a part of the Finger Lakes Nationwide Forest.

Queen’s Citadel is the only surviving construction from Camp Fossenvue.

Very probably many who learn this text will fondly keep in mind their household’s summer time camp, be it alongside one of many Finger Lakes or within the Adirondacks.

Walt Gable is the Seneca County historian.


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