Mayfield Lake Youth Camp

where "the memories of a youth well spent are made"

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History of Mayfield Lake Youth Camp

An area youth camp was in the planning stages in the late 1950s. The project was initiated by the Lewis County 4-H Leaders Council; they were soon joined by the Granges, Lions, Eagles, Elks Clubs, and others. Lewis County 4-H Leaders Council joined with the Thurston County 4-H to develop a youth camp at Deep Lake in Thurston County. After the camp had been operated a few years by volunteer groups, it was decided to turn the camp over to the State Parks Department to be operated as a part of Millersylvania State Park.

Lewis County 4-H Leaders Council received $1,000 as their share of the proceeds, which became the seed money for a Lewis County youth camp. In 1952 a Water Resources Committee was organized in Lewis County to develop plans for the resources to become available from the creation of Riffe and Mayfield Lakes. The lakes were to be created by the construction of the Mossyrock Dam and Mayfield Dam by Tacoma City Light. Various camp sites were considered, but a decision was made to purchase the Mills farm of 35 acres on Winston Creek. In 1961, the property was purchased with the 4-H Leaders Council money used as the down payment. The purchase price for the property was $18,000 to be paid by December 26, 1961. To meet the money raising deadline, many community organizations held fund raisers, including scrap iron sales, auctions, a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game, bake sales and others. These efforts were lead by the various Grange organizations of the area. Significant donations were made by many; the largest contributor was John Markham of Centralia. Other citizens contributing many volunteer hours and money were A.T. Flagg, James Petra, L.T. Murray, Col. W.C. Nelson, Ms Harry Parnell, Ernie Kuper, Dr. Cornelia Van Prooyen and Paul Schwelder.

The Tacoma City Light arranged through lease to give the Mayfield Lake Youth Camp an additional 20 acres, making the total site approximately 75 acres.

Articles of Incorporation were completed and became effective on January 8, 1962. Work began on developing the Youth Camp in 1963 and was headed by John Markham a retired logger from Centralia. He drew plans and supervised the construction of a 36x140 foot lodge with kitchen facilities and 70 buildings, including sleeping cabins, showers, restroom facilities and staff quarters. Volunteer labor completed all of the buildings, land clearing, a well water system and other camp facilities which included a lakefront swimming and recreation area. The Mayfield Lake Youth Camp was originally designed to serve 600 campers.

Mayfield Lake Youth Camp was dedicated on June 25, 1964 with some 2,500 people in attendance. Dignitaries such as Governor Albert Rosellini, Congresswoman Julia Butler Hansen and local Mayors participated in dedicating the camp and naming the new lodge “Markham Hall”. The auditorium with stage was named Flagg Hall.

With the Mayfield Dam completed in 1963, a 13 mile long Mayfield Lake was created for the enjoyment of the citizens. Mayfield Lake Youth Camp is on the Winston Arm of the beautiful lake and offers swimming, boating and other camp life to the youth of the area. The first group to use the camp was Lewis County 4-H with 130 campers on July 19, 1964.

Sources:

• Scrap Book from Dr. Cornelia Van Prooyen

• 75 years in the Northwest Forests: by John Markham

• Memories from Family Albums of School Dist. #206, compiled by Marjorie Aldrich

• The Land Called Lewis by Sandra Crowell

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