Something happened in various school districts across Pennsylvania early in the last century.  Pennsylvania being an agrarian state, many of her farm boys did not show up for school on the Monday following Thanksgiving. 

Too much turkey and mashed potatoes?  No!  It was the first day of Rifle Deer Hunting Season and those boys, experienced in using rifles, were out with their dads and uncles and granddads, trying to bag their own deer.

So, with all the absenteeism, school districts across the state decided they may as well make it a school holiday.  The holiday is not national, although several states observe it… Ohio, for instance. 

About 1935 a group of men, mostly from Fairview, organized loosely to arrange for a site in the state forest in Potter County, near Coudersport.  They planned to build a cabin, although that first year they slept in tents.  A stream ran nearby, so they would not need plumbing.  Nor would they need electricity; they were in the woods, after all. 

They called their site and eventual cabin “Fairview Camp.”  They traveled there in “a beat-up old truck,” said Joan Fiesler, a descendant.  Alphabetically, they were R. C. Exley, Elmer Getz, Frank Getz, Frank Hartley, Ralph G. Heidler (who served as secretary), H. L. Kidder, C. H. Michael, Roy Peterson, T. T. Scwab, C. L. Swalley, August Vitter and Harvey Walter.

Their first season the group was quite successful.  Secretary Heidler recorded that the men bagged three bucks and two does.  He also reported that a man at another camp had discovered a large rattler on one of the trails (35 rattles, he wrote) and killed it. 

In addition, Heidler’s report included the fact that the men arrived on December 1 and left on December 13.  This year the season began on Monday, November 26 at 6:33 a.m. and will end at 5:06 p.m. on Saturday, December 8.

And guess what?  Descendants of some of those men continue the trek to Fairview Camp year after year, hunting for deer. 

There must be some grand tales emanating over those years from Fairview Camp!


Note:  This early photo does not include all the men who were part of the original camp.  Can anyone identify any of them?

One thought on “Fairview Camp”

  1. My grandfather, Ralph E. (Fuzzy) McCray was a member of the original camp which caved in due to the “big snow of ’44.” I never knew that camp, but have fond memories of its replacement, just down the Twelve Mile Road from it. I spent time there with my grandfather from about 1953 to 1960 when my family moved to Illinois. I have been back there a few times in the 1980s and spent time there with family. At the time, Buck Getz was captain of the camp and we got permission from him to use it periodically for a few days.

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