This time, from my Dad’s experiences at the Sebago School and Camp Ironwood, run by Matt and Margaret Werner in St. Louis (school) and Harrison, ME (Ironwood).
From the camp — I just loved these first two:
The next few are from a driving trip the school/camp took through the western United States:
Like it? Hate it? Let me know!
A grizzly bear? He caught a grizzly bear crossing the road?
Is that a grizzly bear? Awesome! Unfortunately, my Dad passed in 1997, so no way to ask him about this bearish encounter.
Incredible. What great pics. I’ve never heard of the camp. Was that your dad diving?
My dad and mom, uncles and aunts, were all involved with the Sebago club in St. Louis and with Ironwood in Maine. They were campers and counselors and my grandmother was Matt’s secretary.
Thanks, Sarah. I would love to connect and hear more about your family members’ experience with Sebago/Ironwood and the Werners. I will shoot you an email at the address WordPress provided.
I grew up in Coconut Grove personal friends of the Werners, went to Camp Ironwood and they closed it to everyone except my family for 2 weeks. Yes they did actually see the grizzly bears and when we hiked they always warned us to be on the look out. Great pictures, thanks for sharing! I have alot of jewelry handmade by Margaret in her studio.
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I grew up in South Waterford, Maine and spent much of my childhood at the Werner’s summer home in the 1970’s and 80’s. The children’s camp, known as Camp Ironwood, was located on Bear Pond in South Waterford but had a Harrison mailing address because it was located on the Harrison side of the lake and the road to get around the lake was privately maintained. The rural mail route for South Waterford continued to come from Harrison through the 1990’s. This causes a lot of confusion for people trying to locate things in this area. The photo that includes canoes looks like Long Lake in nearby Harrison, which I know from Margaret and Matt’s stories, was often visited for long camp canoe trips. The other lake photo is definitely taken from the beach, looking northwest, at Camp Ironwood on Bear Pond in South Waterford. The main camp was located on the Southwest end of the lake and included the all the camp amenities, main kitchen and boys cabins. That is where the beach is off what is now called Wabanaki Pass. After the Werner’s sold this property, it was a family campground into the 1990’s and is now a private condo type property. The girls cabins were across the south end of the lake on the road that is now Rt.s 35 and 37. before the split. It was the largest of the three girls cabins and the two closest little cabins that Matt and Margaret kept as their summer home. I learned to canoe there and spent many happy hours in the lake. My father was a master goldsmith that Margaret befriended soon after my parents moved to the area in 1969 and we were essentially adopted by the Werner’s. I think we shared meals with them at least once a week when they were in Maine during my entire childhood. I still remember the camp phone number and the chime of their mantle clock. Since both their sons lived far away and had no children, we became family. It was an interesting childhood for my brother and me. I’m sure your father had some great experiences on that little lake.
Your photo with the station wagon looks like New England, maybe White Mountains, and the bear looks like a large black bear in New England. There are no wild grizzly bears in the Eastern US and the forest in the background looks more like the New England area than the Midwest and Western US. I have been to all these areas but I could be wrong.
I hope this is a help for you to better locate some of your photos. I was fun to see them.
Hi, Ariane! Thank you so much for this comment! My father took us to visit from time to time in what would probably have been the late 60s/early 70s, so I wonder if we met in passing! The Werners also ran a school in St. Louis, where my father boarded during the year for perhaps 7th or 8th grade, and then continued to attend Camp Ironwood during the summers. I think Matt and Margaret were almost foster parents for him when his birth family got complicated, so I always though of them as auxiliary grandparents. Really appreciate hearing your story.