Camp Lucy-Mac, Ludington State Park, Michigan: The Newspaper & Old Photos Post

There’s nothing that holds my attention like a good mystery, and for quite some time, the forgotten remains of isolated Camp Lucy Mac in Ludington State Park, Michigan, have been just that.  If you’ve not yet read this article, please follow the link below for the full tour of Camp Lucy Mac as she looks today:

But where there’s a will, there’s usually a way, and about a week ago, I finally got ahold of the newspaper articles that would provide me with the information–and even a few of the photos–I’ve been looking for.  Through these articles, I’ve been able to discover some information that was previously unknown and confirm a few of the rumors I’ve heard.

Here in chronological order are some of the more interesting articles, courtesy of the Ludington Daily News, pertaining to Camp Lucy Mac.

July 12, 1939:
July 12, 1939: This is one of the earliest articles I can find about Camp Lucy Mac.  This article makes reference to the location of the camp in relation to the CCC camp in LSP and also lists the camp staff for that year.
July 18, 1939:
July 18, 1939: One of the few photos associated with the articles pertaining to camp, this shows some of Lucy Mac’s earliest campers in what would be the 3rd season that the camp was open.
July 21, 1939:
July 21, 1939:  Not to be outdone, this article focuses on the women who ran Camp Lucy Mac in 1939.  Yet another rare photo of the people who once comprised Lucy Mac.
Close-up photo of July 21, 1939 photo.
Close-up photo of July 21, 1939 photo.
June 8, 1940:
June 8, 1940: This article is the first and only to mention that Camp Lucy Mac is a certified GS Camp.  It also is the first to reference the education that the camp’s instructors undergo.  Mrs. G. O. Kribs, who ran Lucy Mac for a good portion of the camp’s existence as a GS camp, is mentioned.
June 10, 1940:
June 10, 1940:  This article was my first evidence that Boy Scouts also used the camp and that Lucy Mac was not exclusively used by GS.
August 3, 1940:
August 3, 1940: Yet another article regarding Boy Scouts using Lucy Mac.
August 6, 1940:
August 6, 1940: Another article regarding Boy Scouts at Lucy-Mac, this one containing a list of items to bring.
August 17, 1940
August 17, 1940: Not only did Boy Scouts camp at Lucy Mac, they also had ceremonies that reportedly drew close to 300 visitors to this remote site.  In this day and age, nearly 300 people trekking out to a remote campsite for a ceremony without any motorized transportation option available would be outrageous!
June 21, 1941:
June 21, 1941:  This article mentions new buildings being dedicated at Lucy Mac, but does not say what buildings these are.  Given that 1941 was the first year any buildings were reportedly used at Lucy Mac (based on a 1944 article), this article is likely referring to the lodge, the laundry, the recreation building, and perhaps the unknown building northwest of the lodge.
July 8, 1941:
July 8, 1941: This article mentions some of the improvements made to the camp and again references the dedication of even more new–albeit unnamed–buildings.  Once again, based on the date, one can only presume that the buildings in question are the lodge, recreation building, the laundry, and the unknown building to the northwest.
July 24, 1941:
July 24, 1941: The Boy Scouts camp at Lucy Mac yet again. Note the cost of camping per week: $6 per scout!
March 11, 1942: This snippet of an article is by far one of the most interesting, alluding to three
March 11, 1942: This snippet of an article is by far one of the most interesting, alluding to three “moving pictures” that once existed of Camp Lucy-Mac. If you happen to know if these might still be in existence, please leave a comment below!
June 8, 1942:
June 8, 1942: An incredible find, this article goes through more improvements made to the camp, the staff, and even asks those girls and counselors in attendance to bring a specified amount of sugar for their stay–evidence of the cost of WWII.
June 8, 1942: Photo close up.
June 8, 1942: Photo close up.  This photo appears to have been taken with Hamlin Lake in the background and may have been taken near the remote fire pit location at the end of the peninsula (see previous post for the map!).
July 16, 1942: One of my jackpot moments, I believe this building,
July 16, 1942: One of my jackpot moments: I believe this is Bldg 1 from my previous post–the first building discovered upon my exploration of this site.  Note the fireplace, the shape of the building, and the windows overlooking the lagoon.  In the newspaper article, this building is called the recreational building / dining hall / kitchen.
July 16, 1942: Caption associated with above photo.
July 16, 1942: Caption associated with above photo and pieces of the associated article.
August 1, 1942:
August 1, 1942: A look back at health and wellness in the WWII era.
August 8, 1942:
August 8, 1942: This article details some of the day-to-day activities of campers as well as achievements.
October 2, 1942:
October 2, 1942:  Despite the trials of WWII, Camp Lucy Mac sees a boom in enrollment.  This article points out the benefits of camp for the girls who attend, citing relief of “wartime nerves” and teaching the valuable skills pertaining to civilian life in a time of war in addition to normal camp activities.
January 31, 1948:
January 31, 1948: A full 11 years after Lucy mac first opened, Mrs. G. O. Kribs remains the leader at Lucy Mac for Girl Scouts.
April 22, 1949:
April 22, 1949: Lucy Mac isn’t just a Scout camp anymore!  This article lists the numerous groups that are using Lucy Mac throughout the summer.
June 28, 1949:
June 28, 1949:  This article details more activities available at Lucy Mac for GS attendees, as well as local involvement in supporting this camp.
July 5, 1949: Lucy Mac experiences quite the boom in demand as numerous groups reserve the GS camp throughout the summer season.
July 5, 1949: Lucy Mac experiences quite the boom in demand as numerous groups reserve the GS camp throughout the summer season.
September 3, 1963:
September 3, 1963:  An article on the early history of scouting in Ludington, including a reference to Camp Lucy Mac’s opening date (July 11, 1937).

Camp Lucy Mac Bonus: The Lodge, The Rec Building, or Something Like It…

Since my first article on Camp Lucy Mac, I have struggled to clearly define which building at the camp was the lodge and which one was the recreation hall, opting simply to call the buildings Bldg 1 and Bldg 2 as I could not say with certainty which one was which.  Not necessarily assisting me in my quest to delineate between these two buildings are the newspaper articles that seem to confuse each building with each other for different reasons.  Before I go into detail on the reasoning behind this debate and for your reference, here’s a copy of the map from my previous article.

One of my presents to you--my artistic rendering of the general layout of Camp Lucy-Mac. Not to scale. Bldg 1: Likely the recreational building / dining hall / kitchen Bldg 2: Likely the lodge Bldg 3: Unknown. Reportedly a classroom/sleeping quarters, but this is unconfirmed by newspaper or historic source.
One of my presents to you–my artistic rendering of the general layout of Camp Lucy-Mac. Not to scale.
Bldg 1: Up for debate!
Bldg 2: Also up for debate!
Bldg 3: Unknown. Reportedly a classroom/sleeping quarters, but this is unconfirmed by newspaper or historic source.

So, here we go: why I was so darn confused about the buildings of Camp Lucy Mac!

Case 1: Bldg 1 is the Lodge, Bldg 2 is the Rec Hall / Kitchen / Dining Hall.

Evidence for Case 1: The June 22, 1944 article clearly describes the lodge as being at the end of a lagoon with a “great view of the lake”.  This readily describes Bldg 1 and not Bldg 2, which does not border any water.  Notably, this section of the article doesn’t mention a recreational building at all.

Less on the scientific and more on the intuition side of things, Bldg 1 struck me initially as the lodge, not Bldg 2, which was less scenic and seemed more like a general purpose building.  But hey, they’re foundations.  What do I know.

Case 2: Bldg 1 is the Rec Hall / Kitchen / Dining Hall, Bldg 2 is the Lodge.

Evidence for Case 2: Just when you think you have everything all figured out, a newspaper article gums up the works!  A July 16, 1942 article, which includes a photo of what (structurally speaking) almost has to be Bldg 1, specifically refers to this structure as the Rec Hall / Kitchen / Dining Hall.

Per the photograph in the article, the building is in an L-shape; the only L-shaped foundations found at Lucy Mac were those of Bldg 1.  This clearly does not describe Bldg 2.  The building was described as having a kitchen and a stone fireplace, which have both survived in varying degrees to this day as the fireplace is still visible and the tile in the end of Bldg 1 appear to be from a kitchen.  Structurally speaking, Bldg 2 has nothing to suggest that it ever contained a kitchen or a stone fireplace…or at least, it has nothing remaining!

Case 3: Bldg 1 is all of the above and Bldg 2 is something completely different.

Y’know, sometimes it just happens: buildings undergo structural and/or functional changes, and are known by various names at different times, sometimes going by two names interchangeably.  I believe this is almost certainly the case in this little saga as in one instance, the June 22, 1944 article actually refers to the recreation hall and the dining hall / kitchen / stone fireplace as being the same building: “The rustic recreation building served as a dining hall and kitchen and the stone fireplace was used for campfire when rain prevented the use of outdoor campfire”.  Interestingly, this section of the article doesn’t even mention a lodge.

As a teasing additional tidbit, a June 21, 1941 article describes a dedication ceremony that took place in the “main lodge”, suggesting that there may have actually been two buildings that served as lodges at one point in time.

Now, while the information presented in Case #3 doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibilities of either Case #1 or Case #2 being correct, it does seem to confirm that the same building is being described in two separate parts of the same article and is apparently known by two names.  This is the most likely answer and (for the moment) the best conclusion I can offer to my lingering constructional conundrum at Camp Lucy Mac.


6 thoughts on “Camp Lucy-Mac, Ludington State Park, Michigan: The Newspaper & Old Photos Post

  1. I went to camp there in around 1951. I took pictures of the grounds in 2009 and also have articles from the Ludington newspaper and they were some of the same articles you have. All of the information I had I turned over to the Ludington State office. From what I can remember Bldg 1 is where we sleep.


  2. I believe this same camp came under the direction of the MUCC. I attended this camp in the summer of ’73, between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Many great memories from those 10 or so days, including and overnight hike across to the St Park and up across the dunes at the North side of Hamlin Lake. We eventually struck camp for the night in the shadow of the Big Sable Point Light. Also had a harrowing canoe trip around the dam and out into Lake Mich, which was roaring with 5-footers. Swamper the canoe, but saved my life avoiding the jetties that were present along the beach front south of the outlet at the time. A fellow coming up the road saw the distress me and my canoe-mate we’re in, and helped us gather up our boat and gear into his pickup and hauled us back to the outlet where the rest of the gang was waiting, wisely having chosen not to leave the protection of the river. Great times. Still remember counselor Karen, whom I had a great crush on, in spite of her being some 6 or so years my elder.


  3. I worked as a counselor and WSI at this camp the summer of 1978. At this time it was a MUCC camp. Building #1 was the dining hall and kitchen. It had a working fireplace used for indoor campfires and big windows overlooking Hamlin Lake.
    Building #2 was the dorm for campers as well as a rec room and a room for the male counselors we called the “swamp”. Building #3 was for the female counselors. That summer we had 6 weeks of camp, 4 for boys and 2 for girls, with 60 campers each week.


    • I camped there a few times in the 70s during the off season, mostly with church groups. This is the configuration I remember also. Building 1 was the kitchen/dining hall with a big fireplace. And yes, a gorgeous view of the lagoon and Hamlin Lake. Building 2 was the dorm, separated into two “wings” by a center room. An examination of the foundations bears this out also, you can still tell where the kitchen was in Building 1.


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