Camp Ganoga and the Susquehanna Trail

Illustration in the May 1926 Issue of Boys’ Life, published by the Boy Scouts of America

Illustration in the May 1926 Issue of Boys’ Life, published by the Boy Scouts of America

This illustration is from the May 1926 Issue of Boys’ Life, published by the Boy Scouts of America. The issue also contains a brief item about York County’s Boy Scouts Camp along the Big Conewago Creek, known as Camp Ganoga.

Joan Concilio’s post on Saturday contained a photo, shared by her reader Gloria Ranker, of men at Camp Ganoga, with the notation on the back “May 28, 1936, At Camp Ganoga on Susquehanna Trail, Newberry Twp., Route 333.” I believe the photo has a connection to a two-year-old comment from one of my readers.

When I posted about Zion View and the Susquehanna Trail, a reader commented that she first met her husband when men from the Civilian Conservation Corps at Camp Ganoga attended a dance at Zion View. My “keep a lookout for list” has contained this item for a while: “Photo of the CCC men at Camp Ganoga; reference comment on Zion View post.” The reader asked if I came across such a photo to contact her. At the time, two years ago, I did not find such a photo in the collections of the York County Heritage Trust, however I believe Joan Concilio’s post displays a photo she might be interested in.

Unfortunately I no longer have her contact information; it was lost in the great purge of all Blog comments when USA Today took over the YDR. Hopefully that reader will see either Joan’s post or this post; if so, she might be able to elaborate on the photo’s history. Maybe her husband is in the photo. Maybe she has additional information on Zion View’s Green Frog BBQ; since the dance was in Zion View during the 1930s.

Camp Ganoga and the Susquehanna Trail

A new campsite for the Boy Scouts of York County was opened with dedication ceremonies for Camp Ganoga on July 16, 1919. Mayor Hugentugler, of York, broke a flask of water, from the adjoining Conewago Creek, over the porch of the main building to officially christen the camp. The Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Stein, of York, delivered the principal address. Dr. C. H. Ehrenfeld, president of the York Collegiate Institute, presided at the ceremonies. The name of the camp, GA-NO-GEH, is from the Seneca language word for “water in the mountains.”

One year earlier, in 1918, the Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association had selected State Route 333 as the route to be improved as the Susquehanna Trail in northern York County. The existing Route 333 bridge over the Big Conewago Creek, at that time, was a much smaller bridge closer to creek level than any of the recent concrete bridges at that location. See the 1906 Map in the following “Before and After” the construction of Susquehanna Trail and Ganoga Bridge over Big Conewago Creek; utilizing topographic maps.

Before and After the construction of Susquehanna Trail and Ganoga Bridge over Big Conewago Creek (1906 and 1943 Topographic Maps Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2016)

Before and After the construction of Susquehanna Trail and Ganoga Bridge over Big Conewago Creek (1906 and 1943 Topographic Maps Annotated by S. H. Smith, 2016)

Extensive work on the northern York County section of the Susquehanna Trail did not begin until 1923. Route 333 was altered slightly at a few locations to build a better roadway. The new Susquehanna Trail bridge over the Big Conewago Creek was built at a higher elevation and a short distance downstream from the existing bridge. Also the route of the Susquehanna Trail was shifted a short distance to the east of Route 333, now Hill-N-Dale Road, in northern Conewago Township. I placed RED MARKS beside the bridge and roadway section in the 1943 Map to show where the totally new section of the Susquehanna Trail was completed in 1926.

The new bridge was the longest bridge on the Susquehanna Trail in York County at a length of 419-feet. The five-span, ribbed-arch, reinforced concrete bridge over the Big Conewago Creek was built in 1926 and stood until 2010. The newest concrete bridge, replacing the 1926 bridge, was built just downstream of the previous bridge locations.

The 1926 bridge and shifted roadway cut off seven acres from the western side of Camp Ganoga; designated by the “B S A CAMP” label on the 1943 Map. As a result, the York County Boy Scout Council purchased additional bordering land in the immediate area. In 1926, the York County Commissioners named the new bridge “Ganoga Bridge” after the adjoining Boy Scout camp. The following photo is a 1950 northward view of the Susquehanna Trail’s Ganoga Bridge over the Big Conewago Creek.

1950 Northward view of the Susquehanna Trail’s Ganoga Bridge over the Big Conewago Creek (Collections of York County History Center)

1950 Northward view of the Susquehanna Trail’s Ganoga Bridge over the Big Conewago Creek (Collections of York County History Center)

Camp Ganoga was built to accommodate the 40 troops of York City and County. In 1933, scout troops from Adams County also began to use the camp when the York-Adams Area Boy Scouts Council was formed. The steady growth of scout membership resulted in the council looking for a bigger campsite. A site southwest of Dillsburg along the York County / Cumberland County line was selected in the Dogwood Run Valley near two of York County’s highest summits. That campsite is the Boy Scouts’ present Camp Tuckahoe. The Boy Scouts last used Camp Ganoga in the summer of 1946. The York-Adams Area Boy Scouts Council sold the Camp Ganoga site in 1948.

Links to related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America.” Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.

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