Dimond-O (1954 Camp History as written by Homer Bemiss, continued)
New buildings have been added to the camp as the needs for the facilities developed. Among the first of these to be erected was the Nature Lodge that was built by funds furnished through the mother of George Hulten, an Eagle Scout who served with us for many years and who lost his life during the invasion of Sicily in 1943. The Heath Lodge was made possible through a donation by the Oakland Rotary Club and was built largely through volunteer labor
The Leader’s Lodge has an interesting background. The construction of this building was undertaken after we had acquired it from the United States Navy as a gift of a carload of Italian oak planks. This particular building has the distinction of being a foreign import as far as its framework is concerned. The building is dedicated in memory of Don Gruzen who served as a member of the Public Relations Committee of the Council for many years. He was the State Editor for the Oakland Tribune and as such contributed much to the council’s public relations and special events activities. The building is used by all Scouters of the Council as a recreational and meeting place while in camp.
The present mess Hall was built after the original building was destroyed by fire. For many years the Council carried on what was called a Moot over the Labor Day weekend. Here Scouters could meet and talk over the problems of Scouting and enjoy the fellowship. Outstanding leaders in Civic, Religious and educational fields were special speakers. Entertainment features included the famous Tuolumne Players headed by former Scouter Richard Glissman. In 1935 such a meeting was in progress and after everyone had retired for the evening when fire broke out in the kitchen. The building which dated back to about 1919 and of wood frame construction become enveloped in flames immediately and was completely destroyed in a matter of minutes.
The camp committee immediately undertook the designing and building of a new mess hall. The current building was designed by architect E.W. Cannnon and was erected almost entirely by volunteer labor. The only employed person on the job was a truck driver, Russell Carlton, who hauled all the gravel for the concrete from the creek bed three miles above Buck Meadows on the Big Oak Flat road. Three carpenters under the direction of Ed Anloff did all the carpentry work including the setting of forms and laying out the construction of the building. The concrete was poured by volunteers under the direction of one of our good Scouters, Ray Wolfe. The steel was erected by volunteers and the major portion of the work was completed by spring of 1936. The building was finished and put to use in the summer of that same year. It was one of the outstanding evidences of interest and enthusiasm on the part of Scouters in the development of any camp project I have seen. Funds for this building came from a gift of $5,000 from an unknown person. The balance of the money for the project cam from the insurance of the old buildings and from gifts from interested individuals.
The building was originally designed to have two fireplaces, one on each side of the main dinning hall that would give us adequate heat for any weather we might have at camp. During construction of the fireplace though it was discovered that the ground surrounding the mess hall would not maintain the terrific weight of the river rock. Later development showed that there was a spring underlying the area that was down about 12 or 14 feet below the excavations for the foundation. The eventual tilt of the fireplace in later years was due to the underground spring.
The building itself is well constructed on a concrete foundation with steel girders supporting the roof. The ceiling in the mess hall was put in recently to help reduce the tremendous noise factor when two or three hundred Scouts are using the facility at any one time. The handing of this ceiling was based upon the very careful study made by competent engineers and should cause no problems for the roof structure.
The most recent addition to the camp is the shower house in the upper camp area. This was built in 1954 by funds furnished by the Oakland Rotary Club who dedicated it in the summer of 1954. This is a fine addition to the facilities at camp and which could be repeated in at least two or three other areas of camp when funds are available.”
Other Notable Dimond-O Events
1926, Rev. RC Waddell named chaplain for first summer at Dimond-O
1928, First Eagles Flight in the high sierras is held (c 1928 – 1930). This was the special hike open only to Eagle Scouts
1929, Mountaineers, Rangers, Vigilantes & Frontiersmen are the names of the Provisional camping areas at Dimond-O
1930, Frontiersmen Treks start at Camp (c1930 – 1944)
1932, Dimond-O was opened to all scouts and dropped the requirement that you must be a veteran of Camp Dimond in order to attend. To qualify though a Scout must prove he can campout for two nights and a day and cook all his own meals.
1935, Mess hall burns down after fire starts in kitchen during the Scouters Moot weekend
1936, Rebuilding of the mess hall at Dimond-O takes place as a work party breaks ground on the new dinning hall and kitchen. Cost was $12,500
1938, Oakland Rotary Club donates money and materials to build the first aid station at Dimond-O
1939, Dimond T at Dimond-O is organized for troops that wanted wilderness camping. T stood for Troop, phase out around 1950
1940, Miwok is the name chosen as the tribe of Indians at Dimond-O. The following year it turns into Miwok Training which last 39 years until 1979.
1947, Family Camp area is developed at Dimond-O for families of the volunteer leaders.
1956, The Long barn, which was previously used as a trading post and storage was torn down due to poor condition.
1958, Dinning hall renovated, family service building finished, 50 troop tents purchased for the troop area
1958, Permission asked for old buildings at Dimond-o to be demolished due to being unsafe. Buildings to be replaced by tent campsites. The council burned about half of the original logging camp buildings and rearranged others on the grounds. Some of this action was taken because of the age and poor condition of the buildings and some was spurred by national BSA council direction to have scouts stay in tents rather than in buildings. The buildings that were in better condition were retained for various uses, including storage buildings, a trading post, a craft building and a nature lodge.
1958, Council requested additional acreage from Stanislaus national forest for D-O. An additional 80 acres was granted in May 1959, Fourteen new campsites added. Jamboree style cooking added.
1959, Dimond-O, additional 80 acres of land is leased from the forest service. Fred W Taylor Trust of $20K was slated for a dormitory and clubhouse. Properties committee decided against that and instead completed with more than a mile of water lines laid and sanitation facilities of wash racks and toilets.
1960, Oakland board discusses installing a Swimming pool due to the cold waters of the Tuolumne
1968, New 10 position rifle range at Dimond-O is completed by Scouters from Mission Peak and Twin Valley districts
1971, The last structure to be built at Dimond-O was the Lum Building, also called the Health Lodge. Named for the camp physician, Dr. Lum, who died in 1968 and donated construction money to the Boy Scouts, the building was finished in about 1971 and is the only Scout building still remaining as of 2010. Dr. Lum spent 15 summers at Dimond-O administering to the medical needs of the Scouts.
In the late 1970’s, scouting was experiencing a steep decline in membership. Concurrently, the improvements at Dimond-O required a raft of health and safety repairs required by Tuolumne County. Given the overall situation, the San Francisco Bay Area Council, formed from a merger of the Oakland and San Francisco councils, decided to eliminate one of its four camps. Since Dimond-O was leased and the others were owned, Dimond-O was the camp to be closed down. In 1979, the Forest Service approved a request from the San Francisco Bay Area Council for non-use of the camp for the camping season of 1979 and a reduction of the acreage under permit from about 60 to 19. Although Dimond-O would never reopen as a Scout Camp, the land was eventually turned into a campground for the US Forest Service aptly named, Dimond-O in honor of the Scouts.
1979, Final Miwok Training is held, ending almost 40 years of leadership training
1979, Article in Bay Area Scouter indicates that Dimond-O will not reopen
1981, Dinning hall structure is dismantled after almost 50 years of use