Camp Washington Carver
Camp Washington Carver, named for the legends; Booker T. Washington, and George Washington Carver is located in beautiful Fayette County, West Virginia. It is home to the very first African American 4-H camp. It is also home of the Appalachian String Band Festival. In 1940 the first building was completed, but it quickly expanded to become what it is today.
Backstory and Context
Camp Washington-Carver is a spectacular location atop the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. The camp was named for two legends: Booker T. Washington and George Washington-Carver. It is located in Fayette County and has been known to be the very location for the first ever 4-H Camp for African Americans. There were programs here that helped develop African American culture. One of those programs included the Appalachian String Band Festival, which was held at the Great Chestnut Lodge, “the largest log structure of its kind in the world.”
In 1940, the first building on the campus was completed. It was a two-room guest cottage, along with a water tank and pond. But just two years later, the campus expanded tremendously and began to attract the interests and hearts of the residents of West Virginia. In those two years, a log lodge, two frame dormitories, a swimming pool, and a bathhouse were all completed. In July 1942, the camp was dedicated and opened to the public.
Initially, it served the purpose of an off-campus learning for what is now West Virginia State University. The Clifftop served many different programs, all of which catered to African American culture and successes. The camps ranged from 4-Hcamps to the Boy and Girl Scouts, to church camps and other programs. The dining hall and pool could be rented for luxury gatherings such as weddings, reunions, or picnics. The camp became a part of the West Virginia Department of Culture and History to become an arts center. Now, it has made the national Register of Historic Places and still holds the Appalachian String Band Music Festival which attracts thousands of people for the exciting week in August.