The idea that the Iowa Branch should sponsor a Junior Camp must have originated with Mrs. C.V. Boyer of Burlington. Out first camp session was held in 1927, her first year in the office of Director of Juniors. She served as our first Camp Director with Mrs. Ida Mansfield and Mrs. Beth Dodge assisting. They gathered in a rented cottage at Bluff Park, just south of Montrose, with 9 girls in attendance.
The Camp Board was first created in 1934. At the 1935 convention the Board was instructed to seek a permanent home for the camp. During these years camp was held at rented cottages, except for one year when they used Camp Eastman in Illinois. In 1937 a site was acquired. In the following year, 1938, the mess hall, or the building now called the Lodge, was constructed. By this time, Mrs. Beth Dodge had become Director for five weekly sessions, with 99 girls in attendance.
During the next few years we experienced a tremendous increase in both interest and attendance. Our season was lengthened to 8 weeks and our capacity to 48 girls when 4 cabins were built in 1940. During all of these years our program was very similar to the one we have today, except that the girls had to walk down the hill, cross the road, and swim in the Mississippi River.
In 1952, during the term of Mrs. Arnold Albert as Branch President, Mrs. F.D. Butler, Scott County’s Junior Director, being concerned with the danger of our campers swimming in the river, proposed to the convention that a swimming pool fund be established with the stipulation that the money must be collected within the following 10 years. By 1958, during the presidency of Mrs. Clarence Anderson, the swimming pool was dedicated debt-free.
Mrs. Byron Morrison, while serving as Camp Board Chair during the term of Mrs. Otto Amelang as President, saw the need for more adequate accommodations for our staff. In 1962 a new director’s cabin was built, with the cooks moving into the old director’s cabin.
During Helen Jordan’s presidency, with Mrs. Robert Hertzler serving as her Camp Board Chairman, two big projects were accomplished: the Beth Dodge Memorial Prayer Circle and the Activity House, which we now call the Arts and Crafts Building. Beth Dodge had served our camp for 25 years in various positions. When she passed away in the early 1960’s a committee was formed to plan a permanent memorial for her at Camp Lookout. The committee floundered for an idea before Bessie Morrison proposed a prayer circle. There was a beautiful spot overlooking the Mississippi, which Morrison knew was Mrs. Dodge’s favorite place to gather the campers. The Beth Dodge Memorial Prayer Circle (left) was dedicated on June 20, 1965.
While Elsie was Branch President and Margaret Philp was Camp Board Chairman, their dream was a source of warmth on rainy, chilly days. A new fireplace in the lodge was built and dedicated on June 8, 1969. At the recommendation of the Camp Committee, recognizing many years of faithful service to camp, this fireplace was dedicated to Byron and Bessie Morrison.
During all these years, each Camp Board Chairman could tell a tale concerning the problems of providing water to camp. At first, Mississippi River water was used, then our own well was dug, but we still had problems. It was the untiring efforts of Margaret Philp who unraveled all the legal entanglements involved in crossing private property and secured all the necessary permits from the town of Montrose. Since 1972, water has been piped to our camp from the Montrose water supply.
During the first season of Mrs. Harold Nabholz’s term as President, a very timely project was completed. Our tennis court was dedicated on June 22, 1973. This came at a time when tennis was rapidly gaining in popularity.
In 1975, Mary Johns Williams proposed that a perpetual fund be established for the camp. With our support, this candle fund could provide the means for our light to shine into the future.
Our camp truly became The King’s Daughters and Sons Camp in the summer of 1977, when we had a week of camp for boys. This continued through the summer of 1989 and was again revived in 1997.
Another camping program began in 1982. This was the first summer that Camp Venture began. This is an overnight camping experience for young, first time campers to see what Camp Lookout is all about. This program is open to both girls and boys.
During Sue Foard’s term as Camp Board Chairman the kitchen in the lodge was remodeled.
In the summer of 1983, the senior camp craft classes, under the direction of Janet Allgood, created the Holy Cross Chapel. The campers and staff dedicated this labor of love to Karen Schumaker, the camp director at that time.
After 30 years of service, the swimming pool was in need of major work. When options were researched, it was discovered that a new swimming pool would be the best option. During the camp board term of Barb Bryant, with Kay Wilson as Branch President, a new pool was installed during the fall of 1987. The pool dedication was on June 26, 1988. The old pool was filled with sand and became a sand volleyball area.
Completion of the project, begun with the term of Barb Bryant, fell to her successor, Debbie Gorham. Through Debbie’s hard work, a new shower house and sewage system was built in 1990. The shower house (S.E.) was built near the pool and adjacent to the pool filter room, which required the tearing down of Cabin 4.
Upon hearing the suggestions from mothers who wanted a chance to attend Camp Lookout, a Women’s Weekend was instituted. The first season for this adventure was in 1993.
A shuffleboard court was built next to the tennis courts by the Norman Circle of Burlington, in memory of Ruth Barr and past members of the circle. This was dedicated in the summer of 1995.