Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Most aren't aware of this nowadays, but for many years the college owned a camp. In the 1950s and early '60s that was Camp Totem, up in the Adirondacks. In 1962 it was decided to sell Totem and to purchase a property closer to home and so the college bought the Fancher campus. This was a largely undeveloped, 500 acre property just 15 minutes west in Orleans County. There were woods, fields, and a small body of water, McCargo Lake. One of the first things the college did was to build a lodge there that could be used for various purposes; meetings, retreats, conferences, and other purposes. In the photo here we see the handsome stone fireplace, and on the left is Gordon Allen, and on the right is Harold Rakov; the administration and student services buildings on campus today are named for them.

Fancher was used for the long running Brockport Summer Arts Festival, for water studies on the lake, for recreation, and many other purposes. Dr. Hellman of the Biology Department spent  years developing an arboretum at Fancher for example. This photo shows him on site, inspecting a seedling. The camp was very popular for some time, but as the 1970s went on there seemed to be somewhat less use, and the costs of maintaining the property became increasingly difficult to justify as state aid to colleges began to be reduced. In the mid 1980s the college sold it and today it is Hickory Ridge, a public golf course and RV park.

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