In the fall of 1951 Scout Executive Charlie Cook called two of his field executives, George Coward and Vick Vickery, into his office and gave them a map of the area around Lake Ocoee (also known as Parksville Lake) in Polk County, Tennessee. He showed them a marked plot of land in the Cherokee National Forest and directed them to go and look over the site to see if it was suitable for a summer camp. At his request, they took a canoe and camping gear and headed for Lake Ocoee. They put in on the north side landing at Highway 64 and paddled across to what is now the site of Camp Cherokee. It was an old sawmill site which had been used when the timber was cut from the land, now covered by the creation of the lake. The only road to the camp forced you to cross a high creek seven times.
Chief Cook made the decision and instructed his staff to prepare about 44 acres and open Camp Cherokee for the summer of 1952. Camp Cherokee remained the Cherokee Area Council camp through 1972.
For a while, Camp Cherokee operated separate weeks of camp for African-American Scouts. Newspaper articles reflect that Camp Cherokee held these segregated weeks of camp in 1955.
PHOTOS FROM CAMP CHEROKEE
1950-04-23 - Cherokee Is Chosen as Scout Camp Name
Camp Cherokee Development Pamphlet (approx. 1952)
1952-05-12 - New Scout Resort Opens July 20
1952-07-25 - New Scout Camp Booked for Year
1952-08-01 - Final Week Sees Camp for Scouts Filled Up
1952-08-07 - Miller Will Head Scout Camp Fund
On February 11, 1953, the council Executive Board decided to proceed "at once" to construct "enough of the main building at Camp Cherokee on Ocoee Lake to take care of the summer camp which opens about the middle of June."
1953-02-16 - Weekly Peek at Scouting
1957-04-12 - Camp Cherokee to Open June 23
1957-05-24 - Counselors Set for Scout Camp (Rhea McClanahan, Eula Home, Larry Prestwood, Paul Rouse, Robert Pierce, Craig Tennant, Ken Barger, Marlin Morgan, Harry Nelson, Cliff Bowers, Jr., Wayne Harris, Charles Turner, James Barnwell, John "Red" Bledsoe, Wayne Neeley, David Lamar, George McMillan)
1958-06-01 - Boy Scout Camp May Be Crowded (Charles Cook, George McMillan, W.C. Short, Burnett Roberts, Rebecca Glenn, Lilly Haney, John Nickets, Houston McKissick, Paul Rouse, Henry Ransome, Jr., Jack Milne, Ted Robinson, Wayne Sneed, Robert Pierce, John Jenkins, Larry Harvey, Ronnie Stulce, Jerry Pearce, Terry Underwood, Craig Tennant, Byron Baker, Sam Hudson, Robert Thomas, Frank Warlick, Stanley Workman, Billy Overall, M.F. Langston)
In 1967, the Camp Cherokee staff consisted of the following:
Frank Smith (Assistant Camp Director)
Bill Williamson (Camp Commissioner), John Walters (Camp Commissioner)
Lawrence Baskin (Aquatics), Dick Oliver (Aquatics), Ralph Allison (Aquatics)
Ken Boyd (Scoutcraft and Chaplain), Don McClain (Scoutcraft)
John Hawkins, Jr. (Rifle)
Richard "Butch" Chambers (Handicraft Instructor)
Roger Smith (Commissary Officer)
Bertha McClendon (Cook), Rachel Voiles (Cook)
Mrs. Frank Smith (Trading Post Director)
Elzie Brown (Camp Ranger)
Junior Staff Members: Paul Oliver, Keith Johnson, Dennis Wooden, William DiGennaro, David Watson, Eddie Pruett, George Campbell.