Blog Archives

Timber Ridge and Archives Birthday Party…

…is only a few days away! Have you signed up to go yet? It’s so easy! Follow this link, and say you’ll be there! That’s all you have to do! Let us know if it’s just you, you and your family, or you and your whole troop, BUT you better hurry, there’s not much space left! Here’s a basic run-down of all the fun goodies that will be there:

CTR-ArchivesAnniversariesProgram2014-V2-page-001

Here at the GSGATL History and Archives committee, we are so excited! Everything is almost ready- crafts, games, songs, s’mores, presentations, and more! We will have lots of fun vintage items on display at our booth in the Camp Timber Ridge Dining Hall, and some of us will even be wearing some vintage uniforms!

Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes even have a chance to earn the Girl Scout Way Legacy Badge while at the celebration (badge itself is not included) so make sure to stop by the coloring station to pick up your worksheets!

See you all there!

Camp Timber Ridge Turns 90!

2014 marks the 90th birthday of Camp Timber Ridge in Mableton, GA! Now, that’s a lot of camping!

penelope the turtle

In October of 1924, the Civitan Club of Atlanta deeded 39.5 acres of land in Mableton, 12 miles west of today’s Metro Atlanta, to the Girl Scouts of Atlanta and then in November of that same year an elaborate opening ceremony was held. The establishment of the camp was largely due to the help of Mrs. Albert Thornton, who gifted $1,000 (big money back then!) for a central dining hall and recreation hall to be built on the property. The first camping season was in the summer of 1925 between June 22 and August 8 and the original buildings on the site included the office, infirmary, nature hut, art hut, rest hut, and of course, the tents!

circa 1920s Thornton Hall, named for Mrs. Albert Thornton

circa 1920s Thornton Hall, named for Mrs. Albert Thornton

Camp Civitania was renamed Timber Ridge in 1953 and then in 1971 the Timber Ridge Environmental Center was born. The Timber Ridge Environmental Center, known as TREC, was made up of 30 acres of wooded land, designed to teach about the history of the land as well as its use and to demonstrate natural forces at work.

Camp Civitania 1936

Camp Civitania 1936

Camp Timber Ridge has grown over the years and now consists of over 220 acres of wooded land (both hardwood and pine forests), natural streams and even a bamboo forest! During the summer, girls can choose between day camps or sleepaway camps, platform tents or cabins. Troops can also reserve a campsite at any time during the year for a troop bonding weekend!

Today, Camp Timber Ridge remains one of the largest girls’ camps in the South still in operation!

Timber Ridge 1969

Camp Timber Ridge 1969

1950s Camping Supplies

1950s Girl Scout Bag

One of the perks of volunteering at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives is to see all the pieces of history that come in to stay. We recently received this acquisition from a former Girl Scout, and the staff were excited because we did not have this bag in our collection. We had a matching mess kit, as seen below, that was produced around the same time. You can find the plaid mess kit available online in many places, but a search for the larger matching bag is not quite as easy.

1950s Girl Scout Bag with matching mess kit

This plaid bag first appeared in the 1954 Girl Scout Equipment Catalog, and was marketed as a lunch bag. Girls would have used this at camp to carry their mess kit and canteen, or other items that might be useful. When not at camp, the Girl Scout could use it to carry her handbook and writing material. These types of bags are still popular with Girl Scouts today.


Camping: An Early Tradition

Camping has always been important in the Girl Scouts. In fact, in 1915 when the first Girl Scout troop was formed at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church (please see our post on Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta: Beginnings), they also camped in the woods near the church in what is now Atlanta’s Morningside neighborhood. Camp activities were patterned after the Boy Scout camps but modified to meet the needs of young women and gave the Girl Scouts the opportunity to earn badges for proficiency in homemaking, needlework, and cooking.

The camp, attended by 20 Girl Scouts, was run by the pastor’s wife, Mrs. A. Linton Johnson, who was the leader for Atlanta’s first Girl Scout troop. Both the troop and the camp were disbanded when the Johnsons moved from the area. After the Atlanta Council was organized, local Girl Scouts attended Camp Juliette Low on Lookout Mountain or Camp Highland, a YWCA camp near Atlanta. Mrs. Victor Kreigshaber and Mrs. Lee  Ashcraft headed the camping committee.

Camp Civitania Arrivals, 1928

In 1923, just two years after the formation of the Atlanta Council, 70 acres in Cobb County, near Mableton, was selected to form Camp Civitania (now Camp Timber Ridge). The land was purchased and donated by the Atlanta Civitania Club on the provision that the Council could build and run a camp.  On June 22, 1925, Camp Civitania opened for its first season. That year, an average of 35 campers each week paid a $7 fee. Food was the main expense at 50 cents per day per camper. Mrs. Frank D. Holland and Mrs. John Miller Thrower, both of whom who had attended Camp Juliette Low, ran the camp.

The camp started with an office, infirmary, nature hut, art hut, rest hut and tents, as well as Thornton Hall, the combination dining and meeting hall with a kitchen.  Arts and craft activities included making kimonos with tie-dyed borders, batik work, and printing flowers, leaves and ferns on blue print paper donated by an architectural firm. The girls used the sun to make the prints and the stream to set them.

“The girls stayed two weeks each and we always had several from orphan homes or similar institutions who paid nothing,” Mrs. Malcolm Fleming reported. (Mrs. Fleming was the chairman of camping for the council.) Volunteer college students taught diving and swimming in the swimming pool, created by damming a stream.