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WHAT'S A CAMP MEETING?

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HERITAGE LANDMARK DESIGNATION

DIMOCK
Camp Meeting Ground

Serving Christ in the Endless Mountains


Dimock's History

The Dimock Camp Meeting Ground was chartered on August 15, 1877, as the Wyalusing District Camp Meeting Association.

However, its history stretches back a bit. In September of 1873, congregations within what was then the Wyalusing District in the Wyoming Conference of the Methodist-Episcopal Church (now the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church) held that year's camp meeting near Meshoppen. Some interest arose to find a permanent site for a camp meeting ground in the District. In October of 1873, a committee headed by the District's presiding elder Rev. Luther Peck began looking at sites along the narrow-guage railway from Tunkhannock that wasn't quite yet finished to Montrose.

No firm decision was reached by the summer of 1874, so that year's District camp meeting was again held near Meshoppen.

However, not long after Rev. Ira Walker became the District's presiding elder on April 14, 1875, it was clear that Dimock had been chosen. He became chair of a committee comprised of 11 men from across the Wyalusing District (which included all of Wyoming County and parts of Bradford, Luzerne and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania) to work out all of the details for the creation of the Dimock Camp Meeting Ground.

The others on the committee were: Rev. Jonathan K. Peck, Rev. W. L. Thorpe, Rev. J. H. Weston, Rev. S. Barner, Rev. H. G. Harned, E. L. Weeks, G. E. Palen, Wilbur F. Lyman, B. W. Van Auken and J. Beardsley.

All but Jonathan Peck (who was called away to preach a funeral) met on June 21, 1875, in Dimock. Responsibilities were divided up to handle such things as: securing the grounds through a lease arrangement; constructing a boarding house; acquiring supplies of provisions, horse feed and straw; getting lumber and erecting a preacher's stand and other necessary buildings; making water arrangements; working out a means of transporting baggage from the train depot to the grounds; leasing tent sites; and overseeing lighting. July 9th, 1875, was the day set aside for a work-bee at Dimock on the 23.2-acre grounds then being leased from Col. Olney Bailey. It was for "all of the gentleman friends of the Camp-meeting with axes, hammers, saws, pick, and shovels, and with a will to use them in gratuitous labor in preparing the Camp-Ground." A call went out to congregations in the Wyalusing District: "Let all who love to see a beautiful grove fitted up rally to the bee. Come from Bradford, come from Wyoming, come from the hills and from the valleys, from towns and from country in our beautiful Susquehanna - not only to prepare the Ground, but to make the Camp-Meeting a success for good."

August 25, 1875, was the first night of camp meeting style preaching on the grounds. It was reported that 7,000 persons were present that week and a local newspaper said it never "saw so many at any gathering" in Susquehanna County "as were there on Sunday." In 1876 local newspapers reported attendance at 10,000. Just prior to this camp-meeting, it was announced that monies had been put forward to purchase the ground. To pay off the debt, a decision was made to incorporate, a charter was filed in the Susquehanna County Courthouse, and at the 1877 camp-meeting people could buy into the whole enterprise by purchasing $10 shares of stock. While it provided the opportunity to have a say at the annual board meetings, there were no financial dividends. Those were presumably spiritual.

They journeyed in horse-drawn buggies to pitch their tents or by train to stay in one of several boarding houses. In time tent platforms were converted into rows of about 100 cottages which faced the main square where a preacher's stand and plank benches created an open air amphitheater. Famous people who were involved in camp meetings.

While it may be difficult in our present-mindedness to conceive of where a reported 1,455 cars, 588 horses and three motorcycles were parked in 1918, there is no question that the annual goings on at Dimock were quite an open-air spectacle.

No longer are events packed into a 7-to-10 consecutive day period, but in the summer of 2011, services in the chapel, which was completed in 1940, have been scheduled across ten consecutive Sunday evenings, and you're invited to take a step back in time to have a spirit-filled experience at Dimock.

In addition to the continuing seasonal Sunday evening services, the camp ground has served variously as a Sunday School training site, family and children's camps, and vacation spot for pastors and lay leaders and their families.

Important Moments from the 1800s
Important Moments from 1900 to 2002


A photo of a camp meeting at Dimock from the mid 1890's