Reunion planned for former Salvation Army campers
Release from the Salvation Army
Years ago hundreds of Iowa and Nebraska children spent happy days each summer at Camp Laurie near Madrid, Iowa. After more than four decades of service, The Salvation Army camp closed in 1969.
Some of those Camp Laurie campers of yesteryear are planning a reunion for Labor Day weekend. Captain Robin Rutledge, an officer at The Salvation Army Corps in Boone, said the Camp Laurie reunion will be a relatively informal affair. A special dinner and program is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 1. A worship service and Sunday lunch is planned for Sunday, Sept. 2.
Persons interested in attending the reunion are encouraged to contact Captain Rutledge at 515-432-5570 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Captain Rutledge is one of the thousands who enjoyed summer camp as a youth at Camp Laurie.
Originally known as Camp Dunlop, Camp Laurie was purchased by The Salvation Army in 1927. For more than four decades the camp hosted a variety of summer camps for young people as well as weekend retreats for adults. By the late 1960s Camp Laurie was hosting upwards to 1,600 individuals each year. The facility could accommodate up to 120 campers at a time.
Among the special camps offered by The Salvation Army over the years was a camp for students from the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton. For many years, Mother & Children Vacation camps were offered at no charge to underprivileged women and their children from Des Moines. Golden Ager camps for senior citizens were also provided. Music camps provided music instruction for young people in a camp setting.
At the time it closed, Camp Laurie featured a swimming pool, main lodge, dining hall, multiple sleeping cabins, three officers’ cabins, a nurse’s cabin and a chapel. Located on the Des Moines River, the campgrounds flooded frequently. Before the swimming pool was built, swimming was banned during periods of high water on the river.
Camp Laurie was closed in 1969 when it was acquired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Saylorville Lake Project.
A portion of the original Camp Laurie lives on today as Swede Point County Park. Operated by the Boone County Conservation Board, the 128-acre park is located northwest of Madrid near the location of the former town of Swede Point which was founded in 1846 by early Swedish settlers.
The Camp Laurie reunion activities will be held at Swede Point County Park.
Today The Salvation Army’s camp for western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota is located south of Omaha. Gene Eppley Camp and Retreat Center is a 118-acre facility near Bellevue, Nebraska.