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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

27 May 2014

❖ HENDERSON CAMP ❖ Lopez Island, WA.

The top card, 1936, mailed from a camper
to his mother when the camp was founded as
San Juan International Camps
for Boys and Young Men, on San Juan Is.
The bottom photo card, posted in 1956, 

when the Hendersons relocated their camp 
on Sperry Peninsula, Lopez Island.
Click to enlarge.
Both originals from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
Lucile Townsend Henderson and Frank Henderson founded the Henderson Camps which encompassed San Juan for boys and Northstar for girls. Lucile had been the director of the Seattle Girl Scouts Council and was on the national staff in New York; she also had lectured about field work at Harvard University.
     "Lucile and Frank were legends. That camp was there for as long as I can remember," said former Gov. Booth Gardner, who was a camp counselor during high school.
      Every summer from 1935 to 1966, when the Hendersons retired, the camp let kids sleep in tepees and learn canoeing, sailing, swimming, and Native American art and dance.
      Lucile inspired and continued to serve a vital role in the lives of former campers and camp counselors long after their summers at camp. She was very interested in the lives and development of the children and their safety, according to former camper John Dickson.
      Dickson spent 13 summers as a camper and then worked as a camp counselor in the 1950s and 60s, and later became a rheumatologist in Seattle. His relationship with the Hendersons was such that a significant donation is being made to the University of Washington's Division of Rheumatology from Lucile Henderson's estate.
      Members of the third generation of some families are now attending the camp, renamed Camp Nor'wester. [An earlier post of the artistic happenings at Camp Nor'wester on John's Island in 2013, can be viewed here.]
Henderson Camps, Lopez Island.
Cactus Rock, the Lodge, and pool.

Three original photos from archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
      Donn Charnley, a state legislator from 1970 to 1984, spent his first summer at the camp in 1937. All six of his children have camped there over the years, and now his grandchildren are becoming involved.
      Charnley said he probably wouldn't have become a state official if not for the self-confidence inspired by the Hendersons. Charnley, a professor emeritus of geology taught occasionally at Edmonds Community College. "I became a teacher because of that camp; I learned to love the Earth," he said.
Henderson Camp, Lopez Island, WA. 1962
      Bill Holm, art professor emeritus at the University of WA and the Burke Museum, met his wife Marty when they were camp counselors in 1949. They married in 1953.
      Camp Nor'wester has passed through many hands since the Hendersons retired in 1966, but for many, it remains a Henderson institution.
      Gardner was instrumental in helping the property remain a camp after the Hendersons sold it. After the original land on Lopez Island was eventually sold, Camp Nor'wester reopened on John's Island in 2000.
      The Hendersons also campaigned to preserve Point Colville on Lopez Island from development. As a result of their work, the US Bureau of Land Management determined the land to be a significant wetlands area.
      After Mr. Henderson died in 1986, Lucile remained an important part of former campers' lives.
Above text by Kathy F. Mahdoubl, for The Seattle Times, 2006, written in celebration of the life of Lucile "Rabbit" Henderson who lived to be 101-yrs.

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