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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CAMP WISE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CAMP WISE had its beginnings in 1907 when the Council of Educational Alliance and the Council of Jewish Women sent 25 boys and 25 girls for a summer outing on the SAMUEL D. WISE† property in Euclid, OH. Encouraged by that summer's success, Wise donated his property, located north of Lake Shore Blvd. at Babbitt Rd., to a new organization. Named in his honor, the Camp Wise Assn. was incorporated in 1907 "to establish and maintain a fresh air camp for boys and girls." Camp Wise officially began operations in 1908.

Consisting of a main building and several cottages, the camp was situated at Stop 133 of the CLEVELAND, PAINESVILLE & EASTERN interurban line. Each summer it accommodated some 750 boys and girls. By 1922, however, the property was hemmed in by housing and factories, and camp directors began searching for a new campsite. In 1924 Camp Wise was relocated to Painesville. Its first season opened with only tents for the children, but soon eight cottage buildings were added. Nearly 1,000 children each summer enjoyed this location. By 1953 officials were again looking for a new location. Lake and air pollution, as well as an eroding shoreline, were making the Painesville location unsuitable.

Finally a new site was identified, and with proceeds from sale of the property to the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING CO. and a gift from the Eugene and Blanche Halle Foundation, 325 acres were purchased in Geauga County, just north of Burton. Opening in 1966, this third campsite remains the Camp Wise home. Offering swimming, arts and crafts, sports, nature experiences, drama, and Jewish studies, Camp Wise in the 1990s annually served some 500 boys and girls. It is sponsored by the JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION.

Brown, Albert M. The Camp Wise Story: 1907-1988 (1989).

Last Modified: 04 Mar 1998 03:54:13 PM

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