WHAT'S A CAMP MEETING?
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HERITAGE LANDMARK
Camp Meeting Ground
Serving Christ in the Endless Mountains
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
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
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
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
Important Moments from the 1800s
Important Moments from 1900 to 2002