Where did Camp Betty Washington Road get its name?

With housing growing in York Township’s Ore Valley like mile-a-minute vines and a construction project planned at the Mount Rose Interchange, Camp Betty Washington Road has been in the news.
What was Camp Betty Washington and who loaned her name to the camp?
An unsourced document in York County Heritage Trust archives tells the camp’s story:

It was started and used by York’s St. John the Baptist Episcopal congregation from the 1920s to 1940.
The church initially had used a camp for its Girls Friendly Society in York County near the Susquehanna River. But in drawing water from a nearby spring, it had unwittingly polluted Marietta’s water supply. The spring water passed through a pipe across the Susquehanna to Marietta on the east bank.
So, a cottage with a concrete swimming pool was purchased in Spring Garden Township, along what would become Camp Betty Washington Road.
Mrs. Fahs Smith of St. John’s backed the project, and the camp drew its name from an ancestor of Mrs. Smith.
The document did not connect the dots, but history lists Betty Washington as a sister of George Washington.
The camp grew to include tennis and volleyball courts, and two dormitories and a chapel later were added to the cottage.
Mr. and Mrs. J. Charles Heiges, the brains and brawn behind the camp, also operated a small zoo there. The 1933 flood ruined it and other parts of the camp, but not before the animals were freed.
After about 17 years in operation, the Heiges could not keep the camp going, and it was sold in 1940.
Oh yes, the mile-a-minute vines may have York County roots, too. The prickly vines, which may have been accidentally introduced in the county in the mid-1940s, are becoming the kudzu of the east.

Also of interest: Where was the site of Camp Betty Washington, along the road so named? and Mile-a-minute weed’s York County origin questioned and York Township’s long-closed Springwood Park spawns memories, Part II.

Related posts:
- So, can you find long-gone Springwood Park in this photograph?.
- 19th-century mines gave Ore Valley its name.
- Yo, Yoe never was Yohe.

Edited, 2/13/12

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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8 Responses to Where did Camp Betty Washington Road get its name?

  1. Anika says:

    Thank you so much! We were wondering why it was called this. Again,Thank you so much!!!

  2. Peg Vanderau Lyons says:

    It was with a great deal of fondness that I remember summers spent as a camper at Camp Betty Washington. My parents spent $7.00 a week to send me there from Chambersburg and I loved it so well that I was able to stay for the camping season.I remember everything about the camp like it was yesterday and at that price it is a wonder my parents ever brought me home.Mary Barton was the cook, Bud and his friends ran the “bus” candy store when they were not there swimming. Mrs Loucks was a councelor and she brought her son Kenny along..I could go on and on about those wonderful days…

  3. Pingback: Get ready for five years’ worth of roadwork on Mount Rose Avenue

  4. Pingback: Get ready for five years' worth of roadwork on Mount Rose Avenue

  5. Lee Woodmansee says:

    Jim:

    How can Mile-a-minute-weed be the “Kudzu of the east” when Kudzu is the Kudzu of the east? Kudzu is an eastern blight.

  6. Jim McClure says:

    Lee, I guess I thought Kudzu preferred warmer climes, that it was not prevalent in Pa. but was more of a Southern thing?

    I take it you’ve battled with Kudzu with the township etc?

    Jim

  7. Jeff says:

    Nice to know where the name came from, now if you would just let us know how Jug road in conewago township got it’s name…. Good clay in the ground? A local still? What’s the scoop?

    • Jim McClure says:

      Jeff, There could be a lot of reason for that. I went to the trusty “Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties,” and the usually helpful booklet did not help. Maybe someone out there knows about the origin of the name of this Conewago Township road./Jim

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