Camp Gulliver, Pine Hill, NY

July 19, 2014

Well, who knew Gulliver was known for an SDS convention?  I don’t think I did when I went there.  I think I was 9 at the time, summer of 1967, when I went.  I was in the youngest girls’ bunk, I had an older sister, 2 older cousins, and a number of family friends’ children (also older than I) who were also there that summer.

I wonder if my father knew about the convention.  It had been held a couple of years before.  I vaguely remember that the camp had a new owner when we went, and perhaps I had a sense that the camp had been more controversial in the past.  Maybe the new ownership was part of the explanation for why we were allowed to go.  The camp song still talked about the original owner, though.

In any event, I only found out about this SDS convention business because I googled Camp Gulliver after thinking about it after I got an invitation the other day to help crowd-fund a CD project called The Pine Hill Project, which is being recorded near Pine Hill, NY, but is not named for it.

Maybe my family knew about the SDS convention — Camp Gulliver connection and I was just too young to take it in.

Here’s a picture of the main house at Gulliver:

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The CD project can be found on kickstarter.com.  It sounds like it will be a great record.  Having been induced to help other people with projects under much murkier terms, I kind of enjoyed that the terms of participation are so clearly spelled out in this case.  That was part of what got me over the hump of hesitancy to engage with the technology and contribute.

 

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27 Responses to “Camp Gulliver, Pine Hill, NY”

  1. laurie diamond Says:

    When you posted that picture of the main house at Gulliver, you probably had no idea how happy you’d make someone – and more than just me, as I’ve shared it. That house burned down long ago (mid-70’s, i think), and I don’t know if there are other pictures of it, but I haven’t seen any. Gulliver
    was so important in my and my family’s life. I was there from 1956-62, and going back to visit after that house was gone was painful.

    The SDS convention was soon after my time there, but I’d known about it somehow and wasn’t surprised because the original owners were socialists, and you’re right, they had sold it, I think, shortly before you were there.

    I don’t think it was ever really “controversial,” though it had a lot of “red diaper babies,” it wasn’t quite up to some of the better known “commie camps,” such as Kinderland, Wo-chi-ca, etc. But it was an extremely wonderful place for many of us, and though I google it from time-to-time, I never expected to see the Main House again.

    Thank you!
    laurie diamond

    I am wondering about the camp song about the previous owners….? I can’t remember one, but it was so very long ago…..

    • Diana Moses Says:

      re the song: I think it’s to the tune of Cornell’s song: High above polluted waters, Where the river meets the sea, Murray Singer built Camp Gulliver, Where it stands disgustingly (?) Where we learn to chew tobacco, Where we learn to smoke and drink, Gulliver our alma mater, Gulliver we think you stink (?)

      That’s what I remember. It could have been idiosyncratic to the people who were there when I was, since our skits often involved putting new lyrics to old tunes, and not really a camp song.

      Glad you enjoyed the picture. I’ll see what other ones I have. (update: I can see I will need some tech support before I can upload another picture — has to do with switching to a newer operating system recently — sorry! I found a picture of the cabins on the lake, I think they housed Bunk 8 and Bunk 9 when I was at Gulliver)

      • laurie diamond Says:

        Thanks, Diana, I’d love to see any other pictures you have, I appreciate it, because “enjoy” doesn’t begin to describe what the picture does for me, and I only have 2 others.

        The song may or may not be familiar to me – just can’t tell because a lot of these songs are passed along from camp to camp, although not with “Murray Singer” of course.

        I am curious: when you were there – was the camp no longer into peace and justice issues, folk singing, etc.? Were you there only in 1967?

        By the way, I often appreciate your comments in the nyt –
        when I first saw the Gulliver post, I didn’t realize it was you.
        Thanks again,
        ld

      • Diana Moses Says:

        It was still into all that. I was there only in 1967; in 1969, 1970, and 1973 I was at Buck’s Rock Work Camp — there were a few ex-Gulliverites there. As I added in my earlier reply, I am having trouble uploading pictures right now — sorry.

      • laurie diamond Says:

        No problem, nothing to be sorry about, as I said, you’ve
        made me so happy with that one picture, please don’t give it another thought.
        Ya, we have some Buck’s Rock Work Campers here too.
        Thanks again,
        ld

      • Diana Moses Says:

        I had to get my printer/scanner issues resolved so I can keep up with all the paperwork I find myself continually in the midst of, and their resolution allowed me to upload the Bunks 8 & 9 photo into a new post: https://dictaobscura.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/another-gulliver-photo/

      • laurie diamond Says:

        What a great way to wake up – seeing Bunks 8 & 9!
        Diana, thank you so much, you obviously can’t help being a very generous spirit, and, as I said, it is deeply appreciated.
        Best wishes,
        laurie

      • Diana Moses Says:

        You’re quite welcome. It was a nice motivator for getting some help with linking my peripherals to my computer with the new software they needed — and my IT guy imported my old business emails and address book into the new, too — so I benefited as well.

      • Louise Lippin Says:

        actually, there were other verses to the Camp Gulliver song

        High above polluted waters
        ‘Midst the muck and grime
        Murray Singer built Camp Gulliver
        God forgive his crime
        Now he’s serving time
        Murray please resign

        High above polluted waters
        Where the river meets the sea
        There it stands our alma mater
        There it stands disgustingly

        Where we learn to chew tobacco
        Where we learn to smoke and drink
        Gulliver our alma mater
        Gulliver we think you stink

      • Diana Moses Says:

        Thank you, didn’t know that first verse — it gets sung to the same tune?

    • Peter Lipow Says:

      Laurie,
      I’m sooo glad to find you. My family here in Bremen, Gernany and I were just watching my father’s old movies (which we recently digitized) and there are lots of scenes with you and your family. I will get Jane and Rob to help me get in touch with Richard and Lucy who will then get me in touch with you
      Can’t wait to talk.
      Love, Peter

    • Marcy Gendel Says:

      Oh my, this brings back memories. I do remember the Murray song. There was another song that wasn’t very nice about the wife of the owner, but I remember it. “Oh Miriam, Oh Miriam you cause us delirium, the size of your rearium is something to fearium” I was a camper when I was 10 -11years old, and loved it there. I still sing the songs from then to my own children. I don’t remember it being controversial, just a “love one another,” folksie camp, non-competitive. Anyway, it suited me. I always will love the idea of waking up to Wake up Little Suzie, and put on your long and long or long and short.

      It has been along time since there was a post here, so this may not get noticed, but thank you guys.

    • Michael Gottschalk Says:

      I was a camper there in 1963. I was part of the “work camp.” We began laying the floor for a rec hall near the pool. Our bunks were a short walk past the pool. Sid Citron, Swali Mohammed Bassar, and Roger Lionhart were my counselors. The camp song is certainly accurate;I still sing it to my family today! The cook would step outside the back door of the kitchen and yell “Soup’s on”- that would be our call to the dining hall which was located on the right side of the main building. The other side were offices and upstairs were the bunks of the youngest girls and boys. I had a great time there. The worst things that happened is that two counselors drained the lake and that the boys and girls switched bunks once. I went back this year to see if I could find any remnants of the camp but it seems to be mostly private residences now. I have the yearbook to keep the memories alive.
      This was possibly the best camp I ever went to!

  2. laurie diamond Says:

    P.S Oops, missed your update. Yes, they were bunks 8 & 9 on the lake.
    I very much appreciate it, but really don’t want you to go to any trouble – you can’t imagine how happy I am with the Main House picture.
    Many, many thanks,
    ld

  3. Andy Pitt Says:

    My sister and I were there-Late 60’s (67/68. Fantastic time -great people-still good friends with many of them.
    Andy Pitt

  4. Beryl A Says:

    I was there in the for 5 summers in the 50’s when it was camp Lilliput and Gulliver. I went just after turning 3 and my sister had her 3rd birthday during her first summer there. It was an 8 week camp.
    I went back in the early 80’s after it burnt down. Everything looked a lot smaller then I remembered.

    • Diana Moses Says:

      “Everything looked a lot smaller then I remembered.” I felt the same way when my late husband and I went to take a look while we were in the area for a wedding many years ago.

      The Lilliput part rings a bell (I think I was told that back in the day we in my bunk would not have been the youngest campers), but I had no idea so young. Eight weeks away for toddlers? Wow.

    • Peter Gadiel Says:

      Peter Gadiel:
      I was at Lilliput-Gulliver (as it was then called) in 1956 as an 8 year old, and then two or three times more until my last attendance in 1960. I looked on Earthquest to try and get an aerial view of the site and could not locate it. Altho’ I did see two lakes near Rt 28, neither seemed to fit my memory of how the camp was set up. Does anyone have its location?

      • Andy Ames Says:

        Hi Peter,

        On Google Maps type in Pine Hill. You’ll see Rose Mountain Rd heading northwest off Rt. 28. Gulliver was on that road, less than a mile up on the left. Zoom in on that road and switch to Google Street View and you’ll recognize the decaying remnants on your left. Probably the first thing you’ll see is what’s left of the tennis court. Sad but sweet.

        Best,
        Andy Ames

  5. Jane Madell Says:

    I remember that there had been an SDS conference there. Murry Singer and David Glazer were the owners when we were campers. We ran into David and his wife in Mexico on a vacation years ago. I think Gulliver was a place with a lot of red diaper babies who’s parents wanted their kids to be somewhere where they had other red diaper baby friends but not quite so obvious as Wyandot, WoChiCa etc

    Jane Madell

    • Peter Gadiel Says:

      My parent were definitely not interested in raising me as a red diaper baby, but I distinctly remember a counselor when I was in the 10 year old boys’ bunk who had a Lenin style goatee. He also showed slides of his visit to the Soviet Union. This at a time when no one ever went to the USSR except to study the “workers’ paradise.”

  6. Andy Ames Says:

    Hi all,
    What a wonderful surprise – to see the main house – and to hear those stirring camp lyrics…

    I was at Gulliver ’59-’65. Some of the most wonderful memories of my childhood. My brother Jonathan (aka Akasha) was there through ’64, I think.

    You can see the camp (or what’s left of it) on Google Street View – it’s a ways down Birch Hill Rd. right off Rt. 28 in Pine Hill. The tennis court, journalism shack and the little walking bridge, the the lake (must have been a pretty dry period when Google drove down the road), the infirmary, the Sunday tree — much closer to the blacktop than I remembered. Someone or some group is living there and looks like some renovation/construction is going on. How sweet it is…

    Thanks so much for this page, the photo and comments.

  7. Howard Brooks Says:

    If you loved Camp Gulliver, look for the Camp Gulliver group on Facebook. Former campers sharing stories, memories and pictures

  8. Bruce Hack Says:

    I went camp there in 1969
    The following 2 summer I worked on the staff
    Camp for iner city kids
    Tittle 9 program

  9. Scott Mellis Says:

    How delightful! Was there summer ’66 as a rising 6th grader. Remembering “Wake up, Wake up, rise and shine” by charming chef over PA in am. Being taught “Like a Rolling Stone” on guitar by assistant counselor who also recounted his acid trips and visits to other dimensions. Gave me book “Psychedelic Prayers” by Timothy Leary. Parents were less impressed with the mind expansion possibilities and the book suffered a mysterious disappearance. Great road trips with the bunk to beautiful swimming holes, scenic NY, New England spots. Great admiration for Jane P from Great Neck, Debbie W from Paramus. What a wonderful summer.

  10. Peter Lipow Says:

    I was there from 1956 to 1960, in the Work Group and then as an assistant counselor. A wonderful life transforming time. Now living in Bremen, Germany. I wish I could send my 15 and 17 year olds there.


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