The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Camp Washington-Carver

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Formerly know as the West Virginia State College 4-H Camp or the West Virginia 4-H Camp for Negros, this complex of timber and stone buildings adjacent to Babcock State Park is a cultural-arts facility operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The camp annually hosts the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival, traditionally held in early August.

Construction of the camp was authorized in 1937 by the West Virginia Legislature as a "Negro 4-H Camp" -- to provide black youth with a designated camping and recreation area -- and was dedicated in 1942. West Virginia State College provided educational programs and administrated the camp until 1979, when the institution was transfered to the state culture and history division. The camp was renamed Washington-Carver by West Virginia State College in honor of American Black leaders Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.

The Washington Carver complex, according to the nomination for the national register, was designed by the West Virginia Board of Control and constructed by the Works Progress Administration from materials acquired primarily at the site -- principally stone and timber. The camp's Great Chestnut Lodge, its Assembly Hall, and its principal guest cottage were built almost entirely of chestnut timber that had been harvested from trees killed by the Chestnut Blight. The lodge is the largest log structure in West Virginia built of chestnut, according to the National Register nomination.

In addition to the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival, Camp Washington-Carver hosts a variety of culturally oriented programs and may be rented for weddings, reunions, company picnics, and other private activities.

See: West Virginia Division of Culture and History