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      09-11-2010, 03:18 PM   #1
Rick F.
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Z4 Touring: The Lost POW Camp

Let's see: Rumors of a secret World War II prisoner of war camp hidden away in the mountains of Pennsylvania. How could any self-respecting historic explorer not try to find what's left of it? And so I set off on Labor Day for another BMW Z4 tour of south-central PA, with the POW camp as the featured attraction.

I started in this trip in Hanover. Not far outside of town, I decided to check out Oil Creek. One thing led to another, and the next thing I knew I was on this nameless road, toward an unknown destination, and admiring the effect of the early morning light.



There's not a rural road in America that doesn't have something interesting alongside. In this case, I met an old fellow whose favorite retirement project has been restoring this old Pennsylvania Railroad caboose—which just happens to sit in his side yard. (I should have asked him how he got it there; the official tracks were 100 yards away.)



Just outside of Spring Grove, the view of this pond was marred a bit by the P.H. Glatfelter Co. factory in the distance. I shouldn't complain, however, since the factory started operations way back in 1864, manufacturing printing paper right up to today. In fact, the current President, George H. Glatfelter, is the great-great grandson of the original founder, Philip H. Glatfelter.



This was P.H.'s residence, built in 1887 right across the street from the factory.



While exiting Spring Grove, I spotted this stately Chevrolet sedan being polished by its owner. The owner's father bought the car new in 1951, and it's been garaged and carefully maintained ever since. It has never been restored—or even repainted—and it looks like it rolled right off the showroom floor. Nice!



It's entirely likely that the '51 Chevy drove across Conewago Creek on this bridge more than once. The bridge's traffic-carrying days are long gone, although it got me safely across the creek and back on foot. And yes, that reddish tint is "solid rust." Visit it while you can…



You see a lot of abandoned-looked historic houses in the Pennsylvania countryside. This one featured a For Sale sign, with an asking price of $175,000 (including the 1.5-acre lot).



I'd never been to York Haven before, but it proved to be a tiny, beautiful little town right on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Downstream, there was a coal-fired electricity generation plant. This massive old hydro-electric plant lay upstream.



The plant's operators generously allow visitors to venture out over the river on this catwalk. It was probably a lot sturdier than it felt…



Did I mention what a gloriously beautiful day it was? Plenty of sun, scenic clouds, and a temperature of 75 degrees. Perfect!



Leaving Goldsboro, I happened across this overgrown barn. The farmhouse across the road was in much better shape—and was accompanied by a beautiful young blond woman who exited the house, hopped into her BMW Z4 2.5i, immediately put the top down, and gave me a friendly wave and smile as she motored by.



Speaking of Z4's, here's mine parked in front of a small church with the most colorful window treatments I've seen in a long time. (Cheaper than stained glass, too.)



Die Frieden Kirche ("Peace Church") in Camp Hill, PA was built in 1798 and operated through 1866. It's still used for special services, and its adjoining cemetery was mammoth.




Driving the Z4 from point to historic point was more fun than I can easily describe. As noted, the weather was perfect, and traffic was light. Moreover, the roads twisted this way and that and (with rare exceptions) were free of gravel. The Z4 leapt from corner to corner and went around each one as if on rails. Absent any of the historic and scenic sights along the way, it still would have been a blast.

My next stop was Boiling Springs. Ironically, I'd been there before and found the largest of the 30-or-so springs in the area (see The Lost Town of Pandamonia, PA, but I hadn't made it to the historic—and really beautiful—part of town. On this trip, I didn't even realize it was the same town at first! Regardless, it proved to be one of the most enjoyable places I've seen in a very long time. First settled in 1737 and officially laid out by Daniel Kaufman in 1845, it featured one of the country's first iron furnaces. Back in the mid-1700s, such furnaces were banned by the British, who didn't want any upstart colonials building cannons, ammunition, or other Implements o' Destruction. Boiling Springs did so surreptitiously, and this striking mansion was built in 1797 by the ironmaster, Michael Ege.



The beautiful "Children's Lake" was originally created as a source of water to power the ironworks. I was sorely tempted to sit there admiring the view for an hour or more, but there were many other things to see in Boiling Springs, not to mention my other planned destinations.



In the late 1800s, Boiling Springs became a popular tourist and day-trip attaction, with dances, picnics, and (reportedly) the State's best fly-fishing. The trolley from Carlisle cost 5¢.



Ege's Bridge crosses my old friend, the quiet Yellow Breeches Creek. On the day I visited, incidentally, there was no shortage of fly fishermen and women trying their luck in the creek and by the lake. After taking this photo, I almost literally bumped into Patricia Roland-Mateya as she was walking her dog on a nearby path. Patricia is a writer for the Harrisburg Patriot-News and enthusiastically told me about Boiling Springs' history. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, with escaping slaves aided by Daniel Kaufman—one of the only such people ever arrested, jailed, and fined for providing assistance. Patricia's own property was recently identified as the site of Kaufman's barn, where the slaves were hidden during their journey, and it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.



This mammoth grist mill survived a fire in 1897 and now serves as apartments for some of the town's 15,000 residents.



What a perfect, historic town. The only thing that could make it even better would be if the original iron furnace had managed to survive. Yep, it's right there (and a lot easier to find than it was under British rule). And, naturally, it produced armament for use against the British in the Revolutionary War.



Despite his $4,000 fine, Daniel Kaufman appears to have done well in life: This was his home from 1880 on.



While I was chatting with Patricia, she told me about an article she had written on "brick end barns." I had never heard of this type of barn, which is rapidly becoming scarce, but back on the road I quickly spotted one in a distant field. The use of brick for just the ends of the barn saved substantially on construction costs and allowed creative designs for the ventilation openings necessary to keep the hay from spontaneously combusting. This particular barn, as it happened, did not have any patterns. (I'll keep looking, Patricia!)



Many of the farms in this part of Pennsylvania are thriving, thanks to the arduous efforts by the Amish. This farmhouse, however, was not among them. But the barn complex across the road still looked serviceable.




Proving that West Virginia has nothing on Pennsylvania when it comes to having Odd Things in Front Yards, check out this one: Someone decided that it would be a good idea to take an old wagon, strap a boat on top of it, and then fill the whole mess with miscellaneous wood. Now, how could that idea be improved upon? Well, why not park an old lawn mower underneath? There you have it. I do not exaggerate these stories.



I don't know about you, but I find it hard to drive by an abandoned farm with scenic old buildings and a convenient place to make my car a part of the picture. When I got home and looked at the picture, I kept thinking that it reminded me of something, but what was it?



Eventually, I realized that the composition was reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth's famous painting, "Christina's World." With appropriate apologies to the late master, here it is for comparison.



So, did all these rocks end up in this little creek as a result of a major flood, major erosion, creative Ice Age, or some other explanation?



I happened across quite a number of barns on this trip, not surprisingly, but this is the only round barn that I encountered.



This is the upper loft of the barn…



…and this is the old gas pump outside. Here's their website, in case you'd like to visit sometime: http://www.roundbarngettysburg.com/



In Fairfield, the classic Fairfield Inn and Restaurant has been going strong since 1786(!).



This unidentified, abandoned church, however, was a sad sight. Its sign showed only the plaintive message, "Pews for Sale."



Yep, a photo-op around every corner.




So far, no sign of the prisoner of war camp—but patience, faithful readers, it's coming. As I worked my way toward its vicinity, my next stop was the Renfrew State Park east of Waynesboro. The park is named after the two young Renfrew sisters who were massacred there in 1764 by Indians during the French and Indian War. The park features a beautiful setting and several historic buildings dating from the early 1800s.




These youngsters were having a great time playing by Antietam Creek, vigorously transferring stones from the bank to the creek. I assume they were unaware of the story of the Renfrew girls!



With the clouds getting denser, and the day drawing late, I charged off to what I hoped would be the site of the POW camp. But I couldn't resist stopping for a picture of the Emmanuel Chapel at the Mont Alto branch of Penn State University. It's been there since 1854 and was the last place that John Brown worshipped before his famous raid on Harper's Ferry just before the beginning of the Civil War.



Oh, and I also stopped for a picture of this pavilion at Mont Alto State Park—the oldest state park in Pennsylvania and once host to as many as 15,000 visitors a weekend. The pavilion used to covered a carousel, and the original South Mountain Sanitorium Camp was located nearby.



Okay, finally, what about the POW camp?? It's located near the Pine Grove Furnace State Park, on route 233 in Pennsylvania. I'd gone by Michaux Road any number of times without investigating what might lie nearby. This time, armed with information from Lee Schaeffer's incredibly fact-filled website (http://www.schaeffersite.com/michaux/, I knew that—somewhere—there were the remains of the camp. The area started life as a farm in the mid-to-late 1700s. In 1931 the Civilian Conservation Corps built a camp for young men who, among other things, helped improve the Appalachian Trail in this area. The CCC camp closed in 1941 and, in 1943, it was taken over for use as an interrogation center for captured German officers. It was a closely guarded secret throughout its operation, and even local residents were unaware of its existence. One of the prisoners painted this view of the facility (historic pictures courtesy of Mr. Schaeffer's website):



After World War II, two local churches tore down the prison fences and watch towers and converted what was left to a youth fellowship camp. It petered out in 1972 and has sat vacant ever since. The property reverted to the Michaux State Forest, and the State of Pennsylvania helpfully tore down all of the buildings shortly thereafter.

I found what I hoped was the main entrance to the camp and, with the sun setting and the woods growing dark, I set off down a faint trail to see what was still left of the camp. Very soon, I spotted these stone steps and the foundation of the Michaux Lodge, which served as the interrogation center during the POW years. I was on the right track!



This old photograph shows the prisoner mess hall and the surrounding security fence. If you look carefully in the center of the picture, you'll see a stone fountain built by the CCC boys. (The path leads directly to it.)



The path is still there, although rather overgrown these days. And, remarkably, the fountain has largely survived as well.



The bright blue, glass-like stones surround the fountain are pieces of slag from the Pine Grove iron furnace.



Further on, I found this flat circular stone, with numerous faded markings. I couldn't make them out, but subsequent input from Vince Montano, an amateur historian on the POW camp, revealed that the stone was placed there when the POW camp closed. The markings indicate "Third Service Command" and "Pine Grove" at the top, and the Third Service Corps insignia is shown in the center (the triangle-shaped part). Below that are the letters "P.O.W." and the opening and closing dates of the camp. (Many thanks, Vince, for this information and for providing other information and corrections about the area!)



Lee Schaiffer was a student delegate at the church camp in 1961 and took this picture of a Young Lovely (who is sitting on the words "Pine Grove," with the W in "P.O.W." just visible to her right).



The foundation of the mess hall is still easy to spot, complete with its spooky openings. (Support beams and a supply of leftover lumber are visible inside.)



There were any number of other artifacts visible on either side of the main path, including the foundations of other buildings and what later proved to be the base for the main gate into the prisoners' holding area. Eventually I also found the camp's water supply system, which I mistakenly thought was "the old swimming hole," which the CCC built by placing a dam on Tom's Run and concrete liners around the pool. This is the water supply (thanks again, Vince)—and now I need to return to find both the old swimming hole and the later swimming pool that was built for the church campers.



Looking down the spillway. The little footbridge was all of about 18 inches wide, and it gave noticeably when I placed a little weight on it. Although I'm not afraid of heights or bridges, I couldn't bring myself to cross it! Instead, I scrambled down the bank of the spillway, crossed on the slippery moss-covered rocks, and then crawled up the opposite bank. Next time, I'll take the bridge—after I watch another 200-pounder cross over first!



With the woods definitely getting dark, I retraced my steps back to Michaux Road. I was excited by all that I'd found, but I was still looking for one more item. I'd seen a photo of what looked like a massive stone prison wall, complete with bars in the windows. I even had a purported location for it, but there was nothing to be found. With the sun very low on the horizon, as shown in this "self portrait," I decided to give it one last try.



The last try involved taking a blocked-off section of the Appalachian Trail. The signs indicated that one really ought not to go down this part of the trail, but the pile of brush blocking the way wasn't very high, so, off I went. And, sure enough, only 200 yards in I found this:



Although it was next to, and not on, the POW camp grounds, this had to be part of the prison facilities, right? Especially with the brick bars still in place in many of the windows?



Well, it wasn't. Even by the time of the POW camp, this building was already a ruin, with only this wall remaining. (The wall is visible in the upper-right corner of the camp painting, above.) It turns out that this is one end of a huge barn, believed to have been built shortly after the Revolutionary War by captured Hessian troops. The wall is 3 feet thick and has stood for over 200 years, although the rest of the barn is long gone. And the bars in the windows? Well, my guess is that they represent an early colonial version of the same brick end barn ventilation holes that Patricia wrote about.

I completed the last 30 miles of my route back to Hanover in the dark, wondering what other marvelous landmarks I was missing. I arrived back home after 15 hours of extremely enjoyable motoring, exploring, photographing, and talking with interesting and knowledgeable residents. It was so much fun that I'm planning to head back soon to find the other 20 or 30 remnants of Camp Michaux before the forest reclaims them all.

Rick F.

PS: My overall route came, once again, right out of RoadRunner Magazine, the best motorcycle touring mag I've run across. If you're a subscriber, you can download the articles and GPS routes right from their website. If not, you can purchase them for $5.00. All of their routes feature fun roads and beautiful scenery. It always pays to experiment some, however, which is what led me to the caboose, Children's Lake, and Camp Michaux.

Last edited by Rick F.; 09-22-2015 at 05:19 PM.
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      09-11-2010, 10:04 PM   #2
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58 viewers and no one has responded to you?? Terrible...I just wish to say that viewing this has been a respectful peaceful adventure. I do the same here in Illinois and south Missouri...but have not done the documentation you have so well advanced. IMHO, you ought to do a table book--car included of course. What a delight. Thank you for your effort, and your expertise...well done, top drawer. Bests.
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      09-11-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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Rick,

Nice trip... Wonder if that overgrown barn near Goldsboro had any prizes inside. (maybe a bunch of old cars... )

Really like the photo of your Z4 in front of the abandoned farm, with the grass and the partly cloudy sky the car helps set off all of the colors.

Thanks Again for sharing!

Dave
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      09-11-2010, 10:24 PM   #4
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This thread is really inspiring and I'm now going to plan a trip with my son in the Z for the fall. Thanks.
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      09-11-2010, 11:13 PM   #5
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Rick, At first I just liked to look at the pictures, and I thought that there were too many words.... Well now I really enjoy the narrative. Your writing style is a very enjoyable read!
Thank you
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      09-12-2010, 11:52 AM   #6
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Once again, very nice, Rick! I was wondering what you might be up to. The gray-ish clouds in those picks helps add a nice dramatic effect!
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      09-12-2010, 01:30 PM   #7
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man, you take some Thanks for posting all of this!
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      09-12-2010, 08:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zkeeper View Post
58 viewers and no one has responded to you?? Terrible...I just wish to say that viewing this has been a respectful peaceful adventure. I do the same here in Illinois and south Missouri...but have not done the documentation you have so well advanced. IMHO, you ought to do a table book--car included of course. What a delight. Thank you for your effort, and your expertise...well done, top drawer. Bests.
zkeeper,

I'm always pleased when anyone reads my posts--but it's also great to get feedback. Thanks!

Let me encourage you to post some photos (with or without text) from your own journeys. I always enjoy seeing what's in other people's back yards.

As for the book of trip reports, I've been thinking about it. The various Internet-based publishers make things a lot easier.

Thanks again,

Rick F.
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      09-12-2010, 08:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoU4 View Post
Rick,

Nice trip... Wonder if that overgrown barn near Goldsboro had any prizes inside. (maybe a bunch of old cars... )

Really like the photo of your Z4 in front of the abandoned farm, with the grass and the partly cloudy sky the car helps set off all of the colors.

Thanks Again for sharing!

Dave
Dave,

You know, this is terrible: With all the old barns I've happened across, I've never inquired about any potentially interesting old cars inside. What was I thinking?? One of my (numerous) longstanding fantasies is finding an Aston Martin in such a barn (or at least a 1951 Dodge…)

I'm writing myself a reminder for future reference.

Rick F.

PS: Partially cloudy skies + HDR photography = dramatic background skies. As a result, however, perfectly clear skies on a trip are kind of disappointing! Go figure.
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      09-12-2010, 08:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevedotmil View Post
This thread is really inspiring and I'm now going to plan a trip with my son in the Z for the fall. Thanks.
Steve,

That's a great idea--and you're in luck. The latest issue of RoadRunner Magazine has a "Shamrock Tour" that's based in Greenville, SC (see http://www.roadrunner.travel/article-6854.php). It might give you some good ideas for routes and destinations. Their Shamrock Tours, incidentally, usually have four different tour routes, each one starting and ending in a particular place.

Be sure to take a camera!

Rick F.
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      09-12-2010, 08:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pemco View Post
Rick, At first I just liked to look at the pictures, and I thought that there were too many words.... Well now I really enjoy the narrative. Your writing style is a very enjoyable read!
Thank you
pemco,

Okay, you're tackling the pictures and the words--maybe now I need to add music?

Seriously, I'm glad you've enjoyed the reports. And I'll confess that I sometimes check out my older reports, mostly to look at the pictures!

Rick F.
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      09-12-2010, 09:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosstones View Post
Once again, very nice, Rick! I was wondering what you might be up to. The gray-ish clouds in those picks helps add a nice dramatic effect!
Jeff,

Yep, I haven't been able to keep to my intended every-other-weekend schedule too well. Nice to be missed.

BTW, next weekend I'm off to see Neil at the D.C. concert. He's got a new drum solo for the current tour, and I'm looking forward to finding out what he's been up to!

Oh, and they'll be playing "Red Barchetta," which will be the icing on the cake.

Rick F.
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      09-12-2010, 09:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoch View Post
man, you take some Thanks for posting all of this!
bhoch,

Hey, my pleasure--thanks!

Rick F.

PS: I'll confess that I got a little carried away with this last one. I try to keep the number of pictures to between 30 and 40, but the POW report had 52… Believe it or not, I weeded out about 200 others to get down to this number!
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      09-12-2010, 10:20 PM   #14
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Yeah, Rick, what an inspiration your trips are. Evern since getting the Z4M and then finding this forum, your day trip documentaries are something I really look forward to. I love car traveling and photography, and I really think just touring the country side to check out the historical sites is a blast. Sometimes, thing's go by too fast with the M, so I have to remind myself to take in the sites too.

Your touring of South Central PA is also fascinating because my wife and I spent some time in that area too, though I'd bet it's not what you might think. We were separated by 500 miles due to work/school for 2 year - she at Virginia Tech, I at Cornell. Turned out, Gettysburg was nearly exactly half way, so for 2 years we met there every 4-6 weeks, a few times staying in Carlisle or Chambersburg too. Gettysburg kind of became a second home for us and I've always wished we'd had more time to explore the general area. It's an area we'd move to with no reservations if the opportunity presented itself.

As always, the photos and comments were a pleasure to read. Great work!
(p.s., curious about some details of your photography - the photos seem so vivid, saturated - is it camera settings, or post processing, or both?)
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      09-12-2010, 10:34 PM   #15
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splendid photographs! very well taken and looked to be a blast of a trip!
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      09-16-2010, 09:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onebluemcm View Post
Yeah, Rick, what an inspiration your trips are. Evern since getting the Z4M and then finding this forum, your day trip documentaries are something I really look forward to. I love car traveling and photography, and I really think just touring the country side to check out the historical sites is a blast. Sometimes, thing's go by too fast with the M, so I have to remind myself to take in the sites too.

Your touring of South Central PA is also fascinating because my wife and I spent some time in that area too, though I'd bet it's not what you might think. We were separated by 500 miles due to work/school for 2 year - she at Virginia Tech, I at Cornell. Turned out, Gettysburg was nearly exactly half way, so for 2 years we met there every 4-6 weeks, a few times staying in Carlisle or Chambersburg too. Gettysburg kind of became a second home for us and I've always wished we'd had more time to explore the general area. It's an area we'd move to with no reservations if the opportunity presented itself.

As always, the photos and comments were a pleasure to read. Great work!
(p.s., curious about some details of your photography - the photos seem so vivid, saturated - is it camera settings, or post processing, or both?)
OneBlue,

I'm really glad that you enjoy the reports. I've never been able to figure out whether having an M Roadster instead of my 3.0i would mean (i) I'd get to interesting places much quicker than usual, or (ii) I would zoom by interesting sites so quickly that I'd never see them at all!

As you note, this part of Pennsylvania is exceptional. Lots of natural beauty, hills, valleys, woods, farms, etc., and more history per square inch than almost anywhere. Between PA, MD, VA, WV, and DE, I don't think I'll ever tire of exploring this area.

Regarding the photography, I use a Canon SX10 IS "superzoom" camera, usually with the "vivid" setting for the colors. The results are sometimes a little too much, but generally they're closer to real life than the standard setting.

In addition, most of my photos these days are "HDR"--high dynamic range. You take three pictures of a given subject, with -2, 0, and +2 stops, and then combine them digitally using a program like Photomatix. The goal is to capture the detail across the full range of light to dark. Usually with digital photos (or film, for that matter), it's all too easy for the sky to be washed out at the same time that shadows are just dark masses. By combining elements of over- and underexposed photos, you can get that detail back.

You have a huge amount of creative control over the results. With my favorite settings, I usually end up with a lot of saturation and a fairly even pattern of tones from light to dark. It really brings out the detail in streams, skies, shadows, and any heavily textured materials (e.g., weathered wood, rough stone, etc.). With these settings, I'm probably pushing (and sometimes exceeding) the limits of realism--not to mention good taste--but I prefer the dynamic look to a compressed, limited-range result.

Thanks again for your very kind comments.

Rick F.
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      09-16-2010, 09:40 PM   #17
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splendid photographs! very well taken and looked to be a blast of a trip!
r4gs,

Thanks! Yes, it was a great trip. As sometimes happens, I enjoyed the first third so much, and spent so much time at it, that I had to rush through the middle third a bit to get to the last third in time. As it was, I was hiking through strange woods with the light rapidly disappearing. Fortunately, the main trail was pretty well marked.

The fun driving by itself would be enough incentive, but the historical and scenic elements add a lot of icing to that ol' cake.

Rick F.
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      02-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #18
aweltman
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exploring Camp Michaux near Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Nice to see that visitors from outside the very immediate area have "discovered" Camp Michaux. I live barely a mile up the road from this site, which has been... a farm for the iron industry at Pine Grove Furnace, mid or late 18th century to 1919; a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp in the 1930s; and a church camp until the early 1970s. And, don't tell anyone, it was a top-secret interrogation camp for the U.S. Army during WW2.

The Lee Schaeffer website you mention is a good source of information, as is a book from the Cumberland County Historical Society: The Secret War at Home by John Paul Bland (2006).

I built the unofficial wooden bridge over the creek, which is so skinny because I had to carry it in over my shoulder (about 8 or 10 years ago). I check it regularly and can assure you it's still solid -- I went across it on X-country skis just a week ago. You surely could have walked over it! This Spring I plan to double it by "sistering" a duplicate next to it, so it will be a more comforting 36 inches wide. Come back and try it again when it's wider, and the weather warmer than it is now.

If anyone is going to be in the area and wants to try to set up an informal tour, shoot me a note. My email is below.

--Andre Weltman
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      02-08-2011, 06:53 PM   #19
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Rick, another brilliant adventure told through your lens and words. Always enjoy these posts.
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      02-09-2011, 07:46 PM   #20
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Rick, thank you, fantastic pictures and commentary. Fun to see the old car, my dad had a 52 Chevy when I was growing up in Sweden. I can't stop looking at your photos, amazing.
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      02-09-2011, 10:41 PM   #21
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Wow Rick I can't believe I missed this thread! I too LOVE exploring abandon buildings... there is something exciting about creepy old places and trying to make a mental picture of what the place used to look like. Maybe one day we can take the Z4s and explore together
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      02-19-2011, 01:15 PM   #22
Rick F.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aweltman View Post
Nice to see that visitors from outside the very immediate area have "discovered" Camp Michaux. I live barely a mile up the road from this site, which has been... a farm for the iron industry at Pine Grove Furnace, mid or late 18th century to 1919; a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp in the 1930s; and a church camp until the early 1970s. And, don't tell anyone, it was a top-secret interrogation camp for the U.S. Army during WW2.

The Lee Schaeffer website you mention is a good source of information, as is a book from the Cumberland County Historical Society: The Secret War at Home by John Paul Bland (2006).

I built the unofficial wooden bridge over the creek, which is so skinny because I had to carry it in over my shoulder (about 8 or 10 years ago). I check it regularly and can assure you it's still solid -- I went across it on X-country skis just a week ago. You surely could have walked over it! This Spring I plan to double it by "sistering" a duplicate next to it, so it will be a more comforting 36 inches wide. Come back and try it again when it's wider, and the weather warmer than it is now.

If anyone is going to be in the area and wants to try to set up an informal tour, shoot me a note. My email is below.

--Andre Weltman
aweltman2@sysmatrix.net
Andre,

Thanks so much for the additional information. On the day I was there, I probably went right by your house while looking for the giant ant hills that used to be near Ridge Road. (I didn't find any.)

I suspected that your bridge was still sturdy, but I just had this mental image of it giving away exactly in the middle, dumping me into the spillway! I'll look forward to crossing it properly on my next visit.

Thanks, too, for your contact information. I'd love to join one of the formal or informal tours.

Rick F.

PS: I've finally corrected several mistakes I made in my original post about the camp, with information from Vince Montano, an amateur historian for the camp. It's great to see that local history remains alive, even as the physician signs of it gradually disappear.
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