Photos from Fort Scott Since Its Closing

The Fort Scott remembered by campers and staff exists no more. 1988 marked its last year of operation as a summer camp. Why did the camp close? Although there were concerns about declining enrollment in the wake of bad publicity associated with the nearby the Fernald Nuclear Weapons Facility, actual enrollments had only declined modestly. Moreover, annual tests at the camp (e.g., its water supply) never revealed any problems related to Fernald. So why did the camp close? There were probably many reasons, including a general decline in attendance at general summer camps nationwide, concerns about sundry lawsuits in a litigious era, and the possibility of "cashing in" on a class action lawsuit against Fernald (that gravy train never came to town). Regardless of the reasons, the camp did shut down in 1988 and never reopened.

Eventually, the Archdiocese sold the camp in 1995 for $525,000 to Ed Nusekabel (a Cincinnati restaurateur). In 2004, he sold the property to Douglas Homes for $6 million. Beginning soon thereafter, a plan was put forth to transform the property into large residential development (approximately 900 homes were envisioned), known as Fort Scott Community. Late in 2005, Douglas Homes razed most of camp to make way for the new development with new homes appearing about a year later. By the beginning of 2009, approximately 20 homes were built but the full development (i.e., hundreds of residences) has not yet materialized. It's unclear why this is the case (e.g., the economic slowdown, an overly ambitious plan for a development relatively far outside the Cincinnati outerbelt), but it appears that the property development has stalled out (i.e., new building on the site has slowed dramatically). Only time will tell whether the development will succeed.

Below are a collection of "recent" camp photos, taken during five different times: right before new homes at Fort Scott were built (February 2007), following the razing of much of the camp (December 2005), at the Owner's Auction (October 2004), at the Fort Scott Hayride (September 2003), and at the camp's 75th Anniversary Celebration (October 1997). To see photos from when camp was open, click here. In addition, you can look at Google Map snapshots of the camp from the early 2000s before everything was torn down (normal or closer).

In order to provide good image quality, I saved these using only minor compression; thus, some of these image files are big (expect some delays if you have a slow internet connection).

Fort Scott Reshaped, February 2007
(no new homes built... just yet)

Front of Camp Property, wide-angle (132K jpeg)
Front of Camp, wide-angle (with labels for buildings) (164K jpeg)
Camp Barn (one of three camp buildings still left, next to "new" Blue Rock Rd.) (108K jpeg)
Wagner Lodge (still standing, now the "Welcome Center" for the property) (88K jpeg)
Camp Gatehouse (last of the "still standing" buildings) (136K jpeg)
Looking toward river (Chapel at left, Girls' Lodge ahead) (60K jpeg)
In Boys Camp looking toward Playhouse (left) and Girls Camp (straight) (84K jpeg)
Where the Girls' Messhall used to be (next to trees, barn in background) (148K jpeg)
"Room to Grow" (toward Boys Tennis courts, DMZ) (84K jpeg)

Fort Scott Camp Razed, December 2005
(these photos represent where things "were")

Front of Camp and Girls' Lodge Hill (75K jpeg)
Boys Hill (from Boys Messhall) (72K jpeg)
Boys Porches (looking from 8 1/2 toward Playhouse) (93K jpeg)
Camp Office (looking toward Cabin #5) (108K jpeg)
Boys AD, Office, and Pools (in distance) (98K jpeg)
Playhouse (looking toward camp office) (102K jpeg)
Infirmary (still smoldering) (132K jpeg)
The Stables (85K jpeg)
Chapel (left side) and Girls' Lodge (right side) (94K jpeg)
The Ranch (116K jpeg)
Girls' Hill (87K jpeg)
Maggie's Porch (129K jpeg)
Directors House (background) and Girls' Shack (foreground) (123K jpeg)

Fort Scott Camp, October 2004 (Owners' Auction)

St. Victor's Chapel (61K jpeg)
Camp Front Hill (from Girls' Lodge) (54K jpeg)
Girls' Camp Hill (72K jpeg)
Girls' ADC with tree (73K jpeg)
Girl's Bughouse (inside) (35K jpeg)
Girl's Pool now pretty overgrown (85K jpeg)
Girls' Shack (inside, back) (58K jpeg)
Girls' Shack (inside, lobby) (45K jpeg)
Girls' Mess Hall (65K jpeg)
Boys' Hill (45K jpeg)
The Ranch (85K jpeg)
Boys' Tennis Courts (46K jpeg)
Boys' Shack more and more overgrown (107K jpeg)
Pepsi Sign in the Boys' Shack (it was Len) (51K jpeg)

Fort Scott Camp, September 2003 (Hayride)

The Camp Frontgate (61K jpeg)
Girls' Shack and Camp Director's House (65K jpeg)
The Stables (38K jpeg)
Boys' Camp (56K jpeg)
Oh the joys of cleaning the Boys' 8 1/2 (30K jpeg)
Boys' Flag (26K jpeg)
Touring the Main Office (48K jpeg)
Main Office Fireplace (47K jpeg)
Boys' Senior 1 (66K jpeg)
Boys' Shack really getting overgrown in woods (77K jpeg)
The Playhouse is in great shape too (68K jpeg, thanks Karen Lafkas)
The Infirmary is starting to lose a battle to the woods (74K jpeg)
Girls' Camp is in good shape still (44K jpeg)
The Girls' Messhall and Senior Cabin (44K jpeg)
The Chapel (with Karen in photo) (100K jpeg, thanks Karen Lafkas)

Fort Scott Camp, July 1997 (75th Anniversary)

The Girls' Shack hasn't changed much (64K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
The Girls' Hill has not been maintained at all (87K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
The Girls' Pool, scene of so many memorable Night Swims(57K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
St. Victor Chapel looks great on the outside (175K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
St. Victor Chapel's use as a hay barn makes you want to cry (92K split image jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
The Girls' Lodge is terribly run down (101K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
The Boys' Pool still looks like it's in great shape (94K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
The Boys' Messhall has been remodeled and is now used as a children's playroom (89K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure
The Boys' Hill looks great and the cabins have been kept up for storage (58K jpeg, thanks Biz McClure)
The Boys' Messhall and Hill (51K jpeg, thanks Shannon Bronson)
Boys' Shack and Dylan Wall (81K jpeg, thanks Shannon Bronson)



Allen McConnell
Camp Webmaster


Updated on Monday 26 January 2009
©2009, Allen R. McConnell, all rights reserved