In the summer of 1932, the Reverend Arthur F. Perkins of Merrill, Wisconsin, invited a class of boys for a week at his cottage on Crescent Lake near Rhinelander. They had a wonderful time and this inspired Mr. Perkins with a desire to establish a camp where boys and girls, especially from rural communities, could spend a happy, useful vacation under Christian auspices at a minimal cost. He spoke to several pastors of rural churches about the idea and they too were attracted.
The piece of land where Perkins Memorial building and Bethel are now located was available along with the desirable beach at the cost of $400.00, a steep price back then. On December 14, 1933, Mr. Perkins along with Mr. Tremblay, a pastor at Pembine, Wisconsin, paid $5.00 each – a large sum of money – for a down payment. They approached ten other people whom they felt would be interested enough to donate $40.00 each and act as the Board of Directors of the camp. In less than two months the property was paid off and the deed was secure.
December 16, 1933, Crescent Lake Bible Fellowship held its first Board Meeting. The purposes of the camp were established, plans for a new building were drawn up and three weeks of camp were scheduled for July of 1934. In February of 1934, the Crescent Lake Bible Fellowship was officially incorporated to take some of the pressure of Reverend Perkins.
It was a humble beginning...
Over the next 90 years, the camp expanded its facilities to include the Chapel, multiple cabins, a large Dining Hall, the Maintenance Building, staff housing, and more. Modern cabins were designed to accommodate larger groups, even in the winter. Because of this, program offerings expanded to include not only Summer Family Camp, but off-season weekend retreats and eventually teambuilding and outdoor education programs that work with schools. In recent years, new activity areas were added, including waterskiing / tubing, rock climbing, challenge courses, and paintball.
A visit to the camp will certainly reveal that there are few more beautiful campsites than Crescent Lake and accommodations and facilities are improving from year to year. Come and see for yourself! Yes, Crescent Lake Bible Camp has been serving the youth of the Midwest for 90 years and stands ready to continue this service. It is to the Heavenly Father we give the glory.