TwHP Lessons

Camp Misty Mount:
A Place for Regrowth

[Cover photo] cabin
(A cabin at Camp Misty Mount, National Park Service)


he gentle Hunting Creek water gap in Marylandís Catoctin Mountains has long drawn people to it. Although the Susquehannoughs, northern Iroquois, and Algonquins who lived in the area had battled one another for many years, these tribes agreed to preserve this bountiful place as neutral ground. Starting in the 1730s European Americans arrived in increasing numbers, as second-generation Americans and German immigrants pushing out from Philadelphia turned southwest at the Susquehanna River. Throughout the 18th century, Germans, Swiss, and Scots-Irish continued to appear. Some trudged on west in search of fertile lands, but many settled the mountainsides. One of the areaís largest communities became known as Mechanics Town, a name reflecting its thriving manufacturing and service industries.

Crucial to successful settlement were trees. Originally regiments of them covered the mountainsides, but their ranks began to fall as European Americans moved in. Settlers cut them to build simple but sturdy log homes and to clear fields for farming. On creeks water-powered sawmills popped up, producing lumber for more elaborate houses or for distant markets. When an iron furnace was built near Mechanics Town, larger areas were clear-cut for the charcoal needed to feed its voracious appetite. By the beginning of the 20th century, most hills had been stripped of their guardians and bore only scars of erosion. Starting in the 1930s, however, people began to reclaim the land. The story of how the area near Hunting Creek regained its forest is the story of Camp Misty Mount.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Catoctin Recreational Demonstration
 Area, 1930s

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The Changing Uses of the
 Catoctin Mountain Forests

 2. The Construction of Camp Misty Mount
 3. Job Application and Completion Record

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Children from the Baltimore League
 for Crippled Children, 1937

 2. A cabin at Camp Misty Mount
 3. Plan of Camp Misty Mount
 4. View of the forest, 1930s
 5. View of the forest, 1970s

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Determining the Success of Jobs Programs
 2. Providing Outdoor Opportunities
 3. Recreation and Conservation

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Catoctin Mountain Park

This lesson is based on the Camp Misty Mount Historic District and Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) Architecture at Catoctin Mountain Park, two of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



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