Summer Camp: Lost Lake, Tipler, Wisconsin

Summer Camp moved in 1959 to the U.S. Forest Service camp located on Lost Lake, just south of Tipler, Wisconsin. Charlie Miller continued as the camp director. The primary reason for the move was deterioration of the facilities at Henryville. Lost Lake was home until 1977 when camp moved to a former Job Corps Center on the Hoosier National Forest near Branchville, Indiana.

The relative isolation of Lost Lake provided an atmosphere for camaraderie among the students and with the faculty who were also housed in the camp. Charlie kept the students in order, however, with the full rules he laid down, Camp Rules and Regulations, and enforced to the extent possible.

The staff cabin had a central room and a wood stove, an adjacent sleeping room, and a bathroom with a shower. The woodstove was used for heat, but perhaps more importantly in the minds of some faculty, for cooking freshly gathered morels and ramps found in secret places. The consumption of these delicacies required that they be washed down with whatever brew was on hand or purchased specifically for these occasions. Professor John Moser was the ramp specialist, a skill Other buildings at camp included a mess hall, cook’s cabin, camp director’s cabin, student cabins and a lecture hall. The lecture hall was designed and built by Professor Carl Eckelman. Other faculty and TA’s assisted in the construction. Pictures of these buildings are included in the reunion webpage. Professor Eckelman taught the week dealing with the forest products industry.

Richard Haskett, Mahtomedi, Minnesota, attended summer camp at Lost Lake in 1965. Dick returned as a teaching assistant (TA) in 1967, 1968 and 1969. He recalls that the first mechanical calculators, all of two, showed up in camp in 1965. He recalled that the first two women to breach the male domain were Charlie Miller’s wife Ruth, and his wife Vicki. The first two women students to “invade” were Beth Deatline and Ann Hadley in 1969. There were those among the faculty, including Charlie Miller, that held the opinion that women had no place in the profession, and that it was not possible to accommodate women at Lost Lake. This wall of resistance was breached by Beth’s and Ann’s fathers. They arranged to have a trailer placed beside the staff cabin. It took a few years but women campers became an essential component of camp and the forestry program generally. The men learned that a majority of the women had bladders of almost infinite capacity, or were sufficiently versed in wilderness skills to find places outside of the men’s visual fields. In addition, the men learned to respect the privacy of the women while on field exercises. Pending information to the contrary we’ll also assume that this applied in camp.

A newly hired professor, Joseph O’Leary, replaced Charlie Miller as camp director upon his arrival in 1974 and directed camp for the first time in 1975. His stay at Lost Lake that year was cut short by the birth of his daughter, Jamie. Joe’s family became an integral part of camp. His wife Joanne was second in command when the situation required leadership in Joe’s absence. Expressing the feelings of all summer camp directors, Professor O’leary took the greatest satisfaction from safely returning all the students to their homes or summer jobs.

The poets reappeared in 1975 with the “BALLAD OF LOST LAKE,” Purdue Log 1975, p. 39, lyrics by Bob Cassell and Kim Cook, with creative setting courtesy of Mr. Earl. Mr. Earl’s was the closet store and “watering hole,” a place where personal relationships were cemented over brews and “war stories.” The poem was dedicated to those foresters of the future who will never see the hemlock-strewn shores. There is no mention of the tune to which the following was sung, but no doubt that didn’t matter to Mr. Earl.

Every night at 10, I go to bed,
Nothing to do but scratch my head.
If the ticks and don’t get you, the mosquitoes will.
Can’t sleep at night, I just kill, kill, kill!
Chorus: Lost Lake Camp, oh no—I don’t want to go! (twice)

No towns around to get any girls,
Wish I could find one and take a whirl.
Charlie’s fixed it, we’re all alone,
Girls are scare as letters from home. (Chorus)

The exercises are fit to kill,
If the bugs don’t get Charlie, I think I will.
The tents are something to behold,
No sign of relief, were out in the cold. (Chorus)

The meals are something, we think they’re fine,
Too bad my stomach’s shriveled up to my spine.
Breakfast’s delightful, lunch is good,
If they didn’t get ya, I know dinner would. (Chorus)

Out every night to catch a few (fish),
I think I’d die if we ever did.
We come back in and leave for town,
Stop in at Earl’s and buy a few rounds. (Chorus)

If you think this song is a big farce,
You should see this place once it gets dark.
We’re not just lying, tell ya about it,
Lost Lake Camp is a bucket of _____! (Chorus)

William (Bill) Hillenbrand for many years provided the staff and students with a special treat when he came up to his cabin near Lost Lake. He came up primarily to hunt morels, always with success. He had a long-standing relationship with the Department of Forestry and sought help in the management of his farm outside Batesville, IN. When Bill came to camp he brought along steaks and brew for everyone in camp. Bill was the majority owner and manager of Batesville Casket Company and Hill-Rom Industries. Next time you’re in a hospital room it’s likely that the bed and other equipment came from Hill-Rom.

In 1978 Lost Lake Camp was sold back to the US Forest Service and the Special Use Permit cancelled. As the owner of the camp from 1958 to 1978 Purdue was responsible for maintenance and the cost of any new structures. The capital improvements made over this period included: 1958-59 – refurbish camp, $6,153; Furniture, refrigerators, etc., $4,310; Right-of-way clearance, $1,300. 1960 – Lecture Hall constructed, $5,435. 1966-67 – New foundation and addition on mess hall, $8,341. 1963 – Improve wiring, $500. 1972 – Replacement of cabin, $3,500.

Reminiscences of Summer Camp at Lost Lake

Anon. 1959. “And Now We Go North.” ’59 Purdue Log. p. 30. (Preview of Lost Lake facilities.)

Anon. 1960. “Class of ’61 Initiates Lost Lake Camp.” Purdue Log 1960. p. 38-39.

Anon. 1961. “Class of ’62 Keeps Summer Camp Traditions Alive.” Purdue Log 1961. p. 34-36

Anon. 1962. “Junior Summer Camp.” Purdue Log 1962. p. 36-37

Anon. 1963. “Lost Lake Forestry Camp.” Purdue Log 1963. p. 40-41.

Anon. 1964. “Lost Lake Forestry Camp—1963.” Purdue Log 1964. p. 36-37.

Anon. 1965. “Lost Lake Forestry Camp—1964.” Purdue Log: Golden Anniversary. p. 32-34.

Bricker, Tom. 1966. “Summer Camp “65”.” Purdue Log 1966. p 32.

Miller, C.I. 1967. “Student Training.” Purdue Log 1967. p. 6-13. (Overview of training provided at Lost Lake with photos.)

Jurkiewicz, Dewey. 1967. “Social Life.” Purdue Log 1967. p. 16. (Reviews social life at Lost Lake Summer Camp.)

Anon. 1968. “The Endless Summer.” Purdue Log 1968. p. 6-9.

Bricker, T.E. 1967. “Camp Life.” Purdue Log 1967. p. 17-20 (Report on 1966 Summer Camp.)

Dwyer, John and J.D Fox. 1969. “Summer Camp 1968 or HOW LONG CAN YOU TREAD WATER.” Purdue Log 1969. p. 8-11.

Hadley, Ann and David Williams. 1970. “Summer Camp ’69.” Purdue Log 1969-70 Fall. p. 6-9.

Anon. 1971. “Summer Camp.” Purdue Log 1971. P. 38-39. (Group photo only, but see next article.) (This is first issue featuring Prof. Fred Montague’s artwork.)

Sparks, Brian. 1971. “The Lost Lake Legacy 1970.” Purdue Log 1971. p. 40-43. (Mr. Sparks discusses “extracurricular activities” at Lost Lake.)

Wierman, Chuck. 1972. “Summer Camp.” Purdue Log 1972. p. 39-44.

Anon. 1973. “THEY CALL IT “LOST LAKE”.” Purdue Log 1973. P. 12-13. (Photos only.)

Anon. 1973. “I DOUBT IT, I REALLY DOUBT IT.” Purdue Log 1973. p. 14-16.

Anon. 1974. “CAMP – A GLORIOUS EIGHT WEEKS WITH NATURE.” Purdue Log 1974. p. 14-17.

Anon. 1975. “BEARS, BEER, STREAKERS LIVEN TIPLER.” Purdue Log 1975. P. 4-9. (First Lost Lake Camp without Charlie Miller as director. Professor Mac Brown filled in.)

Bertram, John and Charlie Monogue. 1976. “SUMMER CAMP TRADITION GOES ON.” Purdue Log 1976. P. 25-28. (Joe O’Leary’s first year as camp director.)

Anon. 1977. “1976 Summer Camp . . . The Closing of An Era.” Purdue Log 1977. P. 16-20. (Last summer camp at Lost Lake.)

Lost Lake Purdue Forestry Summer Camp Reunion, June 8-11, 2014

Forestry Summer Camp is the most memorable experience for almost all forestry students. Purdue forestry students enjoyed the Great North Woods from Lost Lake Camp from 1959 to 1976, and again from 1983 to 1984. Alumnus Richard (Dick) Haskett, Mahtomedi, MN, has initiated the process of bringing Lost Lake alumni together at the newly rebuilt Lost Lake Camp for a celebration of lives well led, rekindle friendships, and reminisce about good times at Lost Lake Forestry Camp. The target is to have the reunion during the summer of 2014.

For more information view Lost Lake Reunion.