The first camp meeting held in the Champlain Conference began August 30, 1844, at West Chazy, New York. The Sunday crowds were large and many souls were saved. "The work of the Champlain Conference started in a blaze of glory, and this feature of the work of the Conference has been continued more or less through the intervening years.
By 1888 the camp meetings had come to a halt, not to commence again until 1904, during the presidency of E. D. Carpenter. A committee, consisting of H. C. Shares, J. F. Wright, A. J. Allen, Cardilla. Bassett, and Antoinette Rubardt, was to make full arrangements for the holding of the camp meeting. A tent, measuring 40' x 61', was purchased at a cost of $194.00 in Des Moines, Iowa, and 126 seats were purchased for $66.00.
The present camp grounds, containing ten acres, were purchased in the fall of 1904, or early 1905, at a cost of $1500.00. In 1907 an excellent well was put down and a dormitory built, equipped with thirty cots. A larger tent, 40' x 80', was in use. It seated eight hundred people. In 1909 a building, 23' x 29', was erected for the use of those staying on the grounds. This building burned to the ground April 11, 1962, along with several other cottages. The Mattoon and Hill Dormitories were built in 1913.
Dr. Frank H. Wright, formerly a pastor in the Conference, and for many yea.rs professor of theology at Houghton College, writes a brief resume of the history of the tabernacle: "I moved to West Chazy in July, 1914, from Oberlin, Ohio, where I had just received my A.B. degree majoring in Bible and Theology. The Champlain Conference was holding a ca.mp meeting on land owned by Earnest Goewy, directly across from the Roman Catholic Church. The services were held in a large tent rented from the Army barracks in Plattsburg. Since there was no electricity then, the tabernacle was lighted by lanterns hung in the tent. There were several small tents around in the woods. In 1916 I learned that the Milton Rees tabernacle in Plattsburg was for sale. I went down on the train and bought it. Later I was paid back by the Conference. When the Reverend Rees knew it was to be rebuilt on the Camp Ground at West Chazy he was glad to take a big discount. I made a "bee" to take it down. Men came from West Chazy, West Plattsburg, Beekmantown, and Plattsburg. A farmer from Beekmantown came there on the same day with his wagon and hay rack, drawn by a yoke of oxen, and drew the seats to West Chazy. We took the tabernacle roof off first and then cut down the sides and ends in sections just as they were put up. Men with horse drawn wagons drew the tabernacle to West Chazy in one day. We started to rebuild at once with the help of many men from nearby churches. Conference was held in West Chazy that year, the year I was ordained."
The tabernacle was completed and ready for use August 1, 1917. It was dedicated August 24, 1917. The Reverend J. L. Coleman, professor of theology at Houghton College, preached the dedicatory sermon from the text, I Peter 1 :3. Total cost of the tabernacle was $1,125.25.
Electric lights first glowed in the auditorium, dining hall, and on the grounds in 1924. The board for the 1927 camp was raised from $5.00 to $6.00 for the entire ten days. A new dining hall and kitchen (now the Crusaders Dormitory) was built in 1928 costing $1,496.41. This building was doubled in size in 1948. The first Youth Tabernacle (now the Missionary Tabernacle) was built in 1942 by the Reverend Duane Chadwick at a cost of about $3,000.00. The property adjacent to the camp grounds, owned by Mrs. Robinson, was purchased in July, 1946, for the conference president's home. The property cost $3,900.00 with another $1,000.00 for necessary repairs, improvements, and incidentals relative to the securing of the title. With the conference president living on the camp grounds, many improvements in the physical features of the grounds were in evidence. In 1947 the president gave one month of his time to working on the camp grounds, the camp meeting paying that one month's salary. A brick building, containing modern rest rooms and a laundry, was erected in 1948 and 1949 at a cost of $500.00 for labor, and $800.00 for materials. Charles Dayton donated 10,000 bricks. A new 153 foot well, new rest room equipment, and numerous repairs on the buildings, as well as the erection of a fine garage on the president's home, were realized in 1949 and 1950. A book stand and refreshment stand were in operation on the grounds in 1948 and 1949. The Youth Center, accommodating both chapel services and other youth activities, was built in 1954 and 1955, costing $1,600.00 in labor and $1,700.00 in materials. A sizable piece of ground, consisting of about thirty acres
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Photos of early Campmeeting
West Chazy Holiness Campmeeting Association 55 West Church Street West Chazy, NY 12992