Camp Washington Carver

camp lodge with Camp Washington Carver sign over entrance road
Entrance to Camp Washington Carver

Mark Bollinger

Quick Facts
Clifftop, WV
Camp Washington Carver opened its doors in 1942 as the first 4-H camp for African Americans in the United States.

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

African American Heritage Driving Tour Stop 2: Camp Washington Carver

Camp Washington-Carver was named after Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the early 1940s. Camp Washington Carver opened in 1942 as the first 4-H camp in the country that was for the African-American youth. Today, Heritage Arts Camp, the Appalachian String Band Festival, and the Great Chestnut Lodge, the largest log structure of its kind in the world, make this site a favorite place for festivities.

On July 26, 1942 the first African American 4-H camp in the United States was opened here in Fayette County. A 1929 report showed that 44 of the state’s 55 counties had 4-H camps for white children, but none for black children. Fleming Adolphus Jones, a black member of the WV House of Delegates presented to the legislature the importance of Camp Washington Carver:“For the purpose of teaching Negro boys and girls the 4-H standard of living, and to inspire them to lift themselves toward these standards, and to discover and train Negro boys and girls for leadership, and for the purpose of teaching standards of excellence in agriculture, soil conservation, vocational agriculture, and home economics.”

Use of the camp began immediately, even before construction was fully completed. The peak years of use occurred during the 1950s when the camp accommodated approximately 1,600 campers annually. A camper’s day included nature study, music, drama, crafts, swimming, play time, and evening vespers. Today the site is used for many different purposes, weddings, reunions, festivals, and other gatherings. Local historian Norman Jordan said it best, “Regardless of what it [the camp] becomes, its roots will always represent a landmark for African American unity and achievement.”

For the full story go to Camp Washington Carver: Clifftop, WV

Driving Directions:

From Beckley, WV Take Highway 41 north and travel 28.5 miles to Clifftop Road (Route 11). Turn left on to Clifftop Road toward Camp Washington Carver. Go 3/10 of a mile and turn left on Old Clifftop Road. Travel 1.5 miles and turn left at Camp Washington Carver on Camp Carver Road. Tour Stop (Camp Washington Carver) is at the end of the road.

From Fayetteville, WV Take Highway 19 north and travel 6.8 miles to Highway 60. Exit onto Highway 60. Turn left on Highway 60 east and travel 9.5 miles to the junction of Highway 41. Turn right onto Highway 41 and travel 1.6 miles to Old Clifftop Road. Turn right on Old Clifftop Road and travel 2 miles. Turn left at Camp Washington Carver on Camp Carver Road.Tour Stop (Camp Washington Carver) is at the end of the road.

Directions to Next Tour Stop:


Physical Address: Keeney’s Creek Baptist Church, Winona, WV 25942GPS Coordinates:  N38.047379 -W81.991094

From Camp Washington Carver: Return to Old Clifftop Road and turn right onto Old Clifftop Road. Travel 2 miles to Highway 41. Turn left on Highway 41 north and travel 1.6 miles to Highway 60. Turn left on Highway 60 west and travel 5.3 miles to Lansing Edmond Road (Route 82). Turn left on Lansing Edmond Road and travel 2 miles to Keeney’s Creek Baptist Church in Winona. Tour stop (Keeney’s Creek Baptist Church) will be on the left.


New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

Last updated: May 24, 2022