New Hampshire’s Caddie Camps

In the early days of golf in New Hampshire,

especially at the luxury hotels located in the White Mountains, it was traditional to provide caddies for golfers.  Since many of these hotels were in fairly remote areas, there simply were not enough local youth to fill these positions.

Then someone came up with the idea of recruiting young men from the inner cities (many from Boston MA), and provide them with a camp-like experience, where they would learn how to caddy, and earn some money to help them financially. They stayed in anything from tents to cabins to dedicated buildings.  “A Daily Dose of Fiber” states that over 2,000 young men learned about golf this way. In 1998 a shrine was built in Bethlehem NH, on the edge of Maplewood Village.

According to “Rye Reflections,” and other sources, the mastermind behind this idea was Norman Franzeim. He was a social worker at the North Bennett Street Industrial School in the North End of Boston.  Reportedly he not only started the Maplewood Hotel caddy camp (route 302 in Bethlehem NH) and ran it from 1910 to 1940, but possibly also the Bretton Woods camp (which his son ran after World War II). Another Caddy Camp was run in Wentworth NH. By 1920 Poland Springs Caddy Camp had opened. In 1928 [one source says 1938] an arrangement was made with Boy Scouts of America, to establish a camp of 50 boys at Bald Peak in Moultonborough NH, where the Bald Peak Club might obtain caddies.

Some of these camps, such as the one started at the The Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods about 1945, and Poland Springs, continue to hold “Caddy Camp Reunions” to bring together these “alumni,” many of whom became successful in life.

Some alumni of caddy camps include:
Dr. Harry Ernst, of Arlington MA
Johnny Kelley, charismatic athlete who ran the Boston Marathon sixty one times [who claimed all the walking he did at the caddie camps helped prepare him for marathons]
Stephen P. Barba, Executive Dir. of University Relations at Plymouth State University, formerly president and managing parter of The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel

By 1969 some of the caddy camps were winding down. The caddy camp at the Maplewood Hotel in Bethlehem became “Camp Duncan,” the second of the name and reserved for the boy’s choir (Bretton Woods Boy Singers). Other caddy camps like one at Bald Peak in Melvin Village continued into the late 1970s.

And if you are wondering, according to several dictionaries, “caddie” is the usual spelling in golf, although “caddy” may also be used, both as a noun and a verb. A caddy is also a box for storing tea.

Janice

*Additional Reading*

When Good Caddies Grow Old ….. [added 2015]

Photographs of NH Caddy Camps[search for word “caddy”]-

South End House Association

North Bennet Street Industrial School Records, 1880-1973 (at Harvard University)

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27 Responses to New Hampshire’s Caddie Camps

  1. Gladys McKie says:

    My husband has fond memories of the Mt. Washington Hotel Caddy Camp in the 1960s. We often visit the hotel and play the golf courses. Of course they’ve changed quite a bit. Whenever we’re on the golf course, it’s like he goes back in time. They must have been wonderful days. Do you know if there’s any interest in a reunion of the boys from Caddy Camp at Mt. Washington Hotel?
    Thanks.
    Gladys McKie

    • Hi, Gladys.
      Sorry I am so tardy in replying.

      My late father, John P. Campana, ran the Bretton Woods Caddy Camp, which serviced the Mt. Washington Hotel, from about 1954 (?) until 1957.I recall spending time there in the summers with my sisters and mother. He died in 1984 so I have no idea where there are any campers’ records. I don’t know if your husband went to a different camp – seems to me there was another camp in the immediate area. But he went to the camp long after my father left so I can’t help him.

      I caddied at the Maplewood Hotel Caddy Camp in Bethlehem from 1958 through 1962. We had a reunion in September 2015. Wonderful memories came flooding back.

      Best of luck in trying to find other caddy campers.

      Michael

  2. Dave Patterson says:

    Hi..I believe that I was the last caddy master at Bald Peak Colony Club about 1976. Mike Chiapetta was the head pro. I was a caddy at the camp for a few years before I went to work in the pro shop. The members up there were wondeful people and I made a lot of friends with other caddies. I wonder if the boys from Bald Peak Caddy Camp ever get together anymore?

    • Patrick J Donahue says:

      I was a caddy at Bold Peak two seasons, 1946 and 1947. At the ages of 13 and 14 and can still remember the good times spent there. Being from Roxbury, and a member of the Roxbury Boys Club you were entitled to go to be a caddy after a little schooling on the rules of golf. I can relate to many wonderful experiences I had at the caddy camp and will never forget what I learned from a teenager to my adult life. And I still play golf and will be 80 in two months.

    • Tom Paulus says:

      Oh my god Dave, This is Tom Paulus! You were Bishs’ best “A” caddy.
      I was up next, one tough character, but a good guy. I was one of the 57 caddies that was invited back 3 yrs in a row. Not many of us that made it that far. Good on you for making
      Caddie master! I guess those “scab” days made a difference!
      tpsigns@comcast.net to compare great memories. Or call 508-428-9910

  3. Patrick J Donahue says:

    Correction, I typed Bold when I meant Bald Peak…Maybe getting old, huh?

  4. irene daly says:

    I would love to hear from any of the caddies the last few years the caddy camp was in operation

    • Dave Patterson says:

      Irene! Hi… I remember you and Bob very well. You ran the Bald Peak Caddy Camp for a few years when I was there in the late ’60s. I remember Kathleen, Chis and Bob and ??. I went on to work in the pro shop and think I was the last caddymaster at Bald Peak before they shut the camp down. Any idea what is there now? I hope you and your family are well.
      Dave Patterson

      • Dennis Dunne says:

        Dave……it’s great to here you are alive! I caddy’d with my brothers Dan Dunne, Dave Dunne and me Dennis Dunne the years you were also at BPCC…….what ever happened to you and Bish Davis? I forget…did you get hurt in the accident at the cog railway? Dan had promise to become a pro one day but had to have rods put in his back after the accident and has had limited movement ever since. Send me an Email dldunne555@aol.com

    • Dan Dunne says:

      Hi there.. I posted below, but remember you well for our last years there at the Bald Peak Caddie Camp… would be interested to learn if any of the boys that were in the accident on the mountain road contacts are known? take care and please respond… didn’t you and Bob have a beautiful daughter staying with you one summer

      • Dan MacLellan says:

        Dan, I don’t know if you remember me but we spent a few summers together up at Bald Peak. My name is Dan MacLellan and I came from Dorchester back then, I was up there for 3 years and my younger brother Kevin was up the year we had the accident going up to Mt Washington.
        When I got older I moved to Plymouth with my wife and daughters and I always remembered you being from White Horse Beach (I believe). Some of my fondest memories of my youth were from the summers up there in New Hampshire.
        I was driving around Plymouth and Manomet earlier today and you popped into my head and when I got home I (finally) thought to google Bald Peak and see if any caddies posted anything online and lo and behold I saw your name.
        I hope you are well and if you do remember me and and would like to reconnect you can reach me at demmm@aol.com

        Dan MacLellan

  5. Michael E. Campana says:

    Thank you for this, Janice. Much appreciated.

    I caddied at the Maplewood Caddy Camp (MCC) from 1958 through its last summer, 1962. My late father, John P. Campana, also caddied there. He grew up in Boston’s North End. After the Maplewood Hotel burned down in winter 1963, the North Bennet Street Industrial School moved the caddy camp to Clauson’s Resort in North Falmouth, MA, on Cape Cod. I was there from 1963 through 1967.

    You mentioned the memorial on Route 302 – ‘Our Lady of the Fairways’. It had fallen into disrepair and is now being restored. Anyone who wishes to buy an engraved brick (name and dates of attendance) can contact Fred Forte at fxffred@aol.com before 31 January 2014. We are planning a reunion up there for the weekend of 3 May 2014. Fred has the details.

    My father ran caddy camps at The Balsams in Dixville Notch, NH, and then ran the Bretton Woods Caddy Camp, which served the Mt. Washington Hotel. I believe his last year at the BWCC was 1957.

    I have fond memories of my caddy camp summers in the Bethlehem area. Great experience!

  6. My Dad and his brothers were Caddies at Maplewood. Dad is 91 and still has fond memories. And still loves golf. He became an orthodontist on the GI bill. Was a poor kid from Chelsea Mass.

  7. Dan Dunne says:

    I was a caddie at Bald Peak Colony Club – carried for Mr Begs and Mr Black everyday then worked in the kitchen. I was one of the boys that never got to the “Old Man in the Mountain” as our camp cook flipped over the flatbed truck all the boys were on benches under a canvas cover. My brother and I were both injured… the caddie camp – Green Street Boys and Girls Club sponsored out of Charleston MA… I caddied for 3 years there and would love to connect with anyone that was in our accident that changed many lives. Never heard of reunions of the caddies… what a great idea

    Dan Dunne
    dan.m.dunne@gmail.com

  8. Pingback: Current Event: New Hampshire Caddie Camp Reunion September 11-13, 2015 | Cow Hampshire

  9. Gerry finkelstein says:

    I was at becca from 1949 try 1952. My brother Elliot was also there. I noticed a 1951 photo some reason on one of the sites, and it is also posted in the hotel with one of the Wentworth twins.some of my revere buddies are also in the big photo. They were very nice summers

  10. John Kelliher says:

    Dave, Dan D, Dennis and Dan M I was at the BPCC in 68, 69 & 70. I am a year late in corresponding but I just found this site. The truck accident was awful. I was one of the few who did not go on the trip for some reason I cannot recall. My years at the camp were some of the best summer years of my life. It is so good to see your posts!

    • Dan says:

      John, same years for me. Minus the accident, the best summers of my youth. Friday night trips in to Wolfboro, swimming in lake Winnepesaukee, carrying doubles to make more money. Fun times.

      • Dave Patterson says:

        Hey, I was there at the same time as you 🙂 It would be great if we could figure out way to play one more round of golf at Bald Peak like we did in the evenings so many years ago. Definitely, a great place to grow up every summer!

    • John Kelliher says:

      Dan & Dave, I was not sure if anyone checked this thread where it had been a year since your last emails. I can’t believe you responded this quickly. Again, it is great to communicate with you. i hope all is well in your live’s.
      John K
      Email jfkellier55@gmail.com

  11. John D. Lenihan says:

    I was at the Balsams caddy camp during the summers of 1947 and 1948. The director John Campana was my history teacher at Erasmus Hall high school in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn,NY and he invited me to the camp.He was a wonderful man and we had our own cooks and single rooms.There was diversity at camp with Jewish,Protestants,seculars and Catholics .We all got along and developed many new friends.Also we would go home with $250-$300 in our pockets in September.The camp food was good and John Campana made us keep the place very clean and his family was very pleasant. The camp got us out of the hot,humid Brooklyn during our
    early teens (14-15) and all because of John Campana. God Bless him– John D. Lenihan

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