Old School Section Title
Camp Ahutforfun - 1930s

Think Piney Lake is the only off-campus recreation area UNCG has ever had? University Archivist Erin Lawrimore did some digging and unearthed the roots of official outdoor fun.

Camping and outdoor recreation have been a staple of UNCG student life since the early 1900s. The student Athletic Association, soon after its founding in 1900, coordinated short hikes around campus. In 1922, a need for longer hikes and more outdoor recreational opportunities led faculty members and students to begin renting cabins around the Greensboro area for overnight excursions. Students who hiked at least 100 miles in shorter campus-based outings were allowed to attend these off-campus trips.

But it wasn't a perfect solution. In the 1924 annual report for the Department of Physical Education, Department Head Mary Channing Coleman wrote that the Athletic Association would not be returning to their previous campsite as “the lodge has been broken into and the greater part of our meager equipment stolen.” Three years later in the 1927 annual report, Coleman argued a “college camp is urgently needed, not only as an item of our sports and recreation equipment, but as one factor in our teacher training.”

When the college did not purchase a camp, the Athletic Association began raising funds to purchase one itself. The group sold gym uniforms and swimsuits to fellow students in order to raise the $3500 needed to purchase a campsite on Pleasant Garden Road, about five miles from campus. The two-acre site featured a log cabin with a large front porch and sleeping space, a well approximately 80-feet deep and a stream, which the students hoped could later be developed into a swimming pool.

On Saturday, March 23, 1929, nine students and one faculty chaperone made the inaugural visit to the camp. Rain on the first day kept the campers near the cabin, where they entertained themselves with bridge, dancing, horseshoes and an Easter egg hunt. On Sunday, however, clear skies allowed the students to take what the Carolinian described as "a long hike through the woodsy paths and pastures, carefully avoiding those that were suspected of containing ferocious animals."

The Athletic Association continued to grow their camp, adding a large outdoor fireplace, volleyball nets and other equipment. In 1932, after a campus-wide contest, the camp was officially named “Camp Ahutforfun.” Students continued use of the campsite until 1943, when the Athletic Association purchased a larger tract of land near the Guilford Battleground site.

Erin Lawrimore became UNCG's university archivist in 2011. Before coming to UNCG, she was associate head and curator at the North Carolina State University Special Collections Research Center.

What are your memories of outdoor fun? Send your comments to beth_english@uncg.edu or Beth English, UNCG-University Relations, 1100 W. Market Street, Suite 201, P.O. Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170. Responses may be used in the next issue.

 

Old School Photo - Quaking freshmen watched as sophomores paraded into the Quad, 1965
1930s  Camp Ahutforfun (Archival Photography courtesy of University Archives & Manuscripts, Jackson Lbrary)

 

 

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