Coshocton Campers Club is celebrating 60 years

| May 2, 2021

Coshocton Campers Club member Bob Wagner is looking at a club scrapbook made by Kathy Revay. (Submitted)

The Coshocton Campers Club was formed in 1960. Because of COVID-19 considerations last year, the club did not celebrate its 60th anniversary during 2020.   A 60th anniversary event was held Saturday evening, May 1, in the conference room of Wiley Organics. Current members, former members and their families were invited.

Doors opened at 4:30 p.m., so that guests and members could mingle and enjoy the display of memorabilia. The anniversary event included a dinner and a decorated cake with the club’s former logo.

The first meeting was held March 12, 1960 in the Lettermen’s Club Room on Main Street in Coshocton. Twenty-six people were at that meeting, when they decided to call their group the Coshocton Campers Club.

On Jan. 6, 1962, at a meeting in the Three Rivers School cafeteria, there were 13 members and 13 guests from the Columbus Chapter of NCHA (National Campers & Hikers Association), when a charter was presented to the Coshocton Campers Club. The NCHA had just been formally organized in 1954.

The Coshocton Campers Club was formed in 1960. (Submitted)

The club membership number in NCHA was #89. In 1993, the name National Campers & Hikers Association was changed to Family Campers & RVers (FCRV), with the Coshocton Campers Club still keeping their chapter #89.

One of the original families to form the Campers Club was Simon and Catherine Stewart. They had two sons who camped with them, Gordon and Bob Wagner.  Bob Wagner camped as a child with the club, then joined it in 1987 as a family, with a tent camper. Bob still belongs and camps with the club, along with his wife Kathie. They use their horse trailer which has a well-appointed camper in the front, and horse stalls in the back.

The Wagners camp at Barkcamp, Dillon, and Salt Fork State Parks with their horses. Other campgrounds where they have enjoyed camping are Spring Valley Campground in Byesville, and Winklepleck City Park outside Sugarcreek. Bob enjoyed eating at nearby Amish restaurants, saying, “It’s all about the food.”

He remembers that the Lake Park campground only had one loop and was “super primitive” with electricity strung from tree to tree. He said Joe Ely, Gordon Wagner and Simon Stewart who furnished a tractor, helped run water and electric lines. “Club members were instrumental in finishing the first area of camping, back when it was a city park,” Bob said. At that time, there was just a gravel road and pads.

Bob had another connection with Lake Park. Six or seven different times, he would arrive at Lake Park at 3 a.m. on Jan. 1, when there were already eight or 10 people ahead of him. He was there at that time to be able to reserve 25 sites together for Coshocton Campers Club members, when the park office opened at 8 a.m. “This was back when we had 40 families as members,” Wagner said.

At present, there are about 20 active members of the Coshocton Campers Club, with seven honorary members. A new family is applying for membership in May.

The Coshocton Campers Club usually camps from April through October each year, once or twice a month, going to private campgrounds or state parks. For the last few years, members have camped at East Harbor State Park on Lake Erie, or Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, during the third week of September.  Members usually arrive Sunday afternoon, stay five nights, and leave Friday forenoon.

Anyone interested in membership in the Coshocton Campers Club should contact current President Roberta Underwood, by calling 740-622-1048, or Larry Murray, secretary-treasurer, at 740-622-9672.

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