Hope Historical Society

Meeting of August 21st 2008


A evening meeting at Hope Historical Home was attended by: Bob Appleby, Bob & Carol Bender, Joe Berry, Marie Berry, David Bowman, Dick & Gwen Brodis, Hope Chase, Jean Connon, Dan Dalrymple, Bob Doughty, Gordon & Susan Fay, Randy Goderre, Faith & Obed Hart, Herb Hart, Mary Ireland, Bill & Judith Jones, Will Keene, Dorothy Kimball, Ann Leadbetter, Barbara Ludwig, Julie Pfeiffer, Arthur Small and Ron Smith.

During a brief business meeting, President Bill Jones summarized the draft minutes of the July 15th and special July 22nd meetings, specifically as regards Hope Historical Society's business with the Town. He also summarized the outcome following those meetings and the special town meeting, as follows: 1) HHS received from the Town ca. 15,000 sq. ft. of land, of which ca. 5,000 is a triangle behind the Memory Garden and along Barbara Carver's lot which we can use and ca. 10,000 sq. ft. is a long piece along the north side of the property which we agreed not to use; 2) that brought the size of our lot above the 40,000 sq. ft. required by the Land Use Ordinance, which made it possible for us to give the Town ca. 30 sq. ft. along Camden Road which, added to the new Corner firehouse lot, gave that lot the 150' of road front required by the Land Use Ordinance. Mary Ireland, head of the Historical Signs Committee, reported that we are ready to install the signs.

When the business meeting adjourned, members enjoyed refreshments and a loop slide presentation prepared by the speaker Dave Bowman from Highfields Boys Camp publicity.

In 1996, Dave and Cynthia Bowman bought most of the property of former Highfields Boys Camp (1946-84). The property had previously been the site of a girls' camp (1924-45), and subsequently Portanimicut sailing camp (1985-?). Most of the artifacts and information the Bowmen have uncovered pertain to the Highfields Boys Camp. In addition to Dave Bowman's presentation, the meeting was enriched by contributions by Randy Goderre, daughter-in-law of Col. Cleo Goderre, the camp's founder and, with her late husband, Director after the Colonel retired; by Willis Keene, a camper; by Bill Jones, a councilor; and by Gordon & Susan Fay, parents of campers. The speaker also explained, however. how important it was to check out the myth that Jacqueline Kennedy had been a camper at the girls camp.

Apparently, she had not. Therefore, the property was not declared a historic site, which would have prevented the Bowmen from making changes to the many buildings, which had fallen into various stages of disrepair during the Portanimicut period. In the event, the Bowmen were able to salvage most buildings and donate them to other camps, which re-used them. They are turning the site into Highfields-on-Alford-Lake, an events' center-to-be. The site continues to be visited by nostalgic Highfields campers.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Jones, Acting Secretary