Camp Cleghorn Established 1897

Aerial photo of Camp Cleghorn and Lost Lake Wilderness area
Home Located on Columbia Lake off of Cleghorn Road

About Us

Camp Cleghorn was established in 1897 and is one of the oldest associations on the Chain-O-Lakes. You can read about the campís history ďhereĒ, but what follows is the Readerís Digest version.

In the 1890ís Captain John F. Cleghorn was looking for a place for the Good Templars to hold assemblies, having outgrown their previous location at Phantom Lake. The Wisconsin Good Templars were part of the International Order of Good Templars whose mission was to promote temperance.

To promote the cause, the Good Templars held educational assemblies where families would stay and enjoy recreation on the Chain-O-Lakes while also attending religious and educational meetings about the evils of drunkenness and the virtues of abstaining from alcohol.

Similar educational assemblies became popular throughout the country from 1910ís into the 1920ís. Camp Cleghorn was part of this boom, becoming part of the Chicago ďChautauquaĒ circuit. The Chautauqua circuit brought nationally known speakers to discuss science, politics, and religion while also offering entertainment to middle America. As modern technology (of the 1920ís and 30's) such as radio and automobiles became mainstream, interest in the circuit declined.

Times changed and educational camps lost their drawing power to silent movies and the ability to drive an automobile to the city for year-round entertainment. Prohibition also blunted the relevance of the temperance message. Camp Cleghorn evolved in the 30ís to offering summer camps for many different youth groups.

Times changed again and finally by the 60ís the summer camps disappeared, as the dormitories and dining hall became unsafe and eventually had to be torn down. The camp store also disappeared as the majority of residents had easy access to bigger and better stores in town.

Today, cottage owners of the Camp jointly hold the ownership interest in the Camp. It was organized as a nonprofit institution at its inception in 1897 and is still focused today - not on making money but leaving a heritage for the future. Although legally, we are not a homeowners or condo association, the Camp is very similar to those types of nonprofits. All members pay dues to offset the common costs of property taxes, road maintenance, security lighting, and all other expenses incurred by the Camp. Taxes are paid on all lands and buildings except the Chapel and fellowship hall.

But above and beyond its mundane responsibilities, Camp Cleghorn shares a commitment to family Christian living, temperance in avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, and a commitment to preserving the natural resources with which we are entrusted. We have this obligation both to our children and our neighbors who share the natural beauty of the Chain-O-Lakes.

The Camp is dedicated to offering Sunday services at the Camp Cleghorn Chapel each summer. Everyone is welcome to attend. At least one Sunday morning message is preached about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. All offerings received in the church services after expenses go to local charities in the area. Those dedicated to alleviating the tragedy of drug and alcohol abuse are preferred charities.

The Camp also has pledged to preserve the natural heritage of the land. It includes a 20-acre wilderness area that will never be developed. Lost Lake sits in the middle of this miniature nature preserve. Click here for more "lost lake" info. We continue to work closely with the DNR to maintain our wilderness area as a viable resource for native plants and wildlife.