Northrop History

The story of Northrop camp begins with a remarkable woman, Alice Rich Northrop. She loved nature and wanted to share this love with inner city children of New York City. In 1920, Alice Northrop bought a 150-year old farm house on 300 acres of land in the village of Mt. Washington, Massachusetts. She made arrangement for a group of children to come in the summer of 1922. But while driving up to the camp to make the final preparations, she was instantly killed in a car accident. Read her story and see how the camp developed!

In the fall of 1993, there was a fire that destroyed the main buildings.

During it's 71 years of operation, many people passed through and many lives were impacted. In 'Alumni Memories' read about what many people remember about their time at Northrop and how their lives were touched and changed.

"New Horizons" is an Audubon article written by Grace Petersen, fondly referred to as "Doc Pete" in the alumni memories. She emphasizes the value of nature education using actual examples from her experiences at Northrop.

We all have different talents and express our thoughts differently. Harvey J. Gardner, who was a camper in 1943 and 1946, used poetry. Read his poetry and get a glimpse of life at Northrop through his poetic eyes. We also have some poetry from a few other campers who bring fresh insights into the Northrop experience.

One day in August, 1993, Hubert & Millie Ling were in the Northrop area for vacation and they dropped in. After a hike to Mt. Everett they chatted with someone about Northrop and it turns out that person was a reporter from a local newspaper who requested an article. That article is reprinted here.

There were very many people that were instrumental in helping Northrop camp grow and in bringing nature into the lives of many children. We have records of a few and we are sure there are very many more. Read about them in our 'Northrop Hall of Fame'.

After the fire in 1993, the board realized, even after some fund raising, they did not have enough funds to rebuild the camp to the way it was and the camp stopped operating.

In 1997, the camp had complete records of the names of all the campers from 1923-33 and 1961-93, and incomplete records for the years 1934-60. But there were only about 20 current addresses of alumni. It took considerable effort by (then and still board member) Joe Gerver to locate alumni and make contacts. The camp's official photo albums, dating back to 1923, had been kept under lock and key in the director's office in the main house, and all were incinerated. However, on a trip to camp in 1997, board members Joe Gerver, Judy Lukin, and Susan Argutto discovered in a drawer in the library a few boxes of Kodachrome slides which had survived the fire. The photos on this website from 1962, 1965, 1972, and 1977 were made from those slides. The photos from the 1980's were found in an envelope in the NYC apartment of board president Rose Mayor; no one had gotten around to putting them into albums! Many alumni also contributed photos, including Fred Hanzalek, Joan Menkin Gerver, Patricia Jackson DeCoursey, Cynthia Jackson Fisher, Michael Malamy, Arlene Holzapfel Bogart, and Gus Hercules. In 2008, Lou Danziger, a 1939 camper who was then 85 years old, contacted us to ask if we had any photos from his year. Upon being informed that all of our photos had been lost in the fire, he did an online search and tracked down his old nature counselor, William Weber, who was alive and well at age 90. Weber put us in touch with his grandson, Ragnar Müller-Wille, who organized Weber's many photos and sent us the pdf file that you can view in the Photo Gallery.

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