1917 - 1924

Before It Was Royaneh

Even before Royaneh was named and found a home in the Cazadero area it existed.

It existed in the hills of Marin county where the first summer camp took place in 1917

It would move in 1920 to the Elim area of Cazadero at the old Berkley Music Camp before making it's final move in 1925

All three of the summer camps had to start with a ferry boat ride from San Francisco. Either the Sausalito or the Cazadero ferry crossed over to Sausalito where the scouts would board a train to head north. Can you imagine almost 500 scouts aboard a ferry boat? 

1917 Warner Canyon, Mill Valley
from SFBA Council Online History

In April of 1917 the San Francisco Council sent out flyers to the Scouts indicating that the first summer training camp for the council would be held near the town of Cazadero at Eliim Grove.  However for unknown reasons the location could not be secured so the training camp had to be moved at the last minute.  The council was able to secure the Mill Valley property of Dr. Alexander Warner for the site of the first training camp.

The first summer training camp run by the San Francisco Council was held in the Warner Canyon area of Mill Valley in June of 1917.  Dr. Alexander Warner was the owner of the property and rented it to the Scouts for $210 per year.  The camp was attended by 140 boys and their leaders and Scout Executive Raymond O Hanson acted as camp director.  Assisting Mr. Hanson as the Camp Adjutant was Homer J. Bemiss, Scoutmaster of Troop 14.  Bemiss would ultimately become the future Scout Executive of the Oakland Area Council (from 1920 to 1957) as well as the longest tenured Scout Executive in the Bay Area even until this day.  

Each day the boys would be instructed in five hours of Scout craft, first aid, agriculture and signaling.  Eighty-five of the boys earned the special War Emergency Badges for completing their requirements.  The Scouts camped in large tents that held seven Scouts each with a leader in charge of each tent.  The tent group rather than the Scout Troop unit was made the basis for the camp organization.  On the fourth of July the boys went into the city of Mill valley and participated in the 4th of July Parade.  Later that evening, the Scouts made quite an impression upon the public with a presentation of a camp play at the Mill Valley theater and cleared $25.00 towards their camp expenses.

The following report was submitted to the Executive Board on July 19, 1917 by Scout Executive Raymond O Hanson regarding the Training Camp:

“In order that the Committee may have a general idea of the routine of the camp, I shall outline just briefly the daily program.  

At 6:30 o’clock every morning reveille was sounded and the boys were given fifteen minutes in which to rise, dress wash and take their place in line for roll call.  Punctuality was insisted upon and the boys who were tardy were placed in what we called the late's line where they remained until breakfast was well under way.  No more effective punishment could be devised than this.

At 6:45 flag raising exercises were held., the boys standing at salute while old Glory was hoisted to the top of the pole by a special color guard.  The boys then gave the pledge of allegiance to the flag, followed by the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.  To participate in such exercise every morning for a month could not fail to inspire the boy with a deeper sense of patriotism and a greater love for his country.

For fifteen minutes prior to breakfast the boys were grilled in calisthenics.  Following the morning meal a half hour was given over to camp duty when the boys were required to air their blankets and prepare their tents for morning inspection.  Each day a group of boys were assigned to squad duty and were required to clean up the grounds and to perform any other work laid out for them.  Following this the boys were instructed for an hour and a half in signaling and first aid, and it was indeed and inspiring sight to see groups of boys scattered all through the hills earnestly  engaged in fitting themselves for service and increasing their own scouting efficiency.  Scout games were later indulged in as a recreational feature after which the theory of agriculture occupied the remainder of the morning.

Just before dinner, camp inspection was held and a banner was awarded each day to the tent which presented the neatest appearance.  Competition was very keen and the inspection very rigid.  On several occasions when Army officers were visitors at the camp a regulation military inspection was made and this added very much to the dignity of this feature of camp life.

The afternoon was usually give over to hikes and the passing of Scout tasks.  Two showers were provided for cleanliness and were in constant demand.  Occasionally the Scouts were taken on swimming trips and to points of interest in the country round about.  The secret of the success of the camp may be attributed largely to the fact that the boys kept busy every moment.  The requirements for the second and first class badges and the war Emergency Emblem did not leave much room for idleness.

Every day the boys were drilled in military marching for an hour or more in order that they might be familiar with military tactics  and able to co-operate effectively with the soldiers in case of war emergency.

One of the most enjoyable features of the camp life was the camp fire every evening around which the boys grouped themselves together while they participated in a program consisting of songs, scout yells, stories and the like.  At 9:15 the boys began preparations for the night and at the sounding of taps at 9:30 lights were put out and the boys rested from a strenuous day of profitable as well as enjoyable activity.”

In September the Warner Canyon site was also used again as a weekend camp site for three days of training in Scout craft.  The Warner site was used sporadically during the first year as a weekend campsite, but the summer camp would move to a new location the following year due to issues with renting the property.

1918-1919 Howard Estate Ranch, Olema, Marin County
from SFBA Council Online History

For the summers of 1918 and 1919 the summer training camp moved from Warner Canyon in Mill Valley to the Howard Estate dairy ranch outside the town of Olema in the Bear Valley area at Pt Reyes.  Through the courtesy of the Shafter and Howard families, a large section of the ranch was made available for Scout camping.  Nearly four hundred boys and their leaders participated in a daily program of instruction in first aid, signaling, agriculture and other special subjects.  Tents were setup in a large laurel grove and semi-permanent buildings were constructed including a large field kitchen, store-house latrines, store and a post office.  The water in a mountain stream was made available for swimming by means of a well built dam.  During their free time the boys roamed to their hearts content in the famous Bear Valley area adjacent to the camp.

The Shafter and Howard families owned most of Point Reyes for 82 years, from 1857-1939.  At the height of the Shafter and Howard empire, 31 dairy ranches were in operation.  During that time, the operation of the ranches changed little, except for modernization in technology and transportation.  However with the eventual sale of the ranches starting with the Hart Hill ranch in 1919, the scouts would require a new location for their summer camp operations the following year.

1920 - 1924 Elim Grove Cazadero, On Austin Creek, Sonoma County
from SFBA Council Online History

1920-1924 – Elim Grove, Cazadero, Sonoma County - $12.00 per two week session
After the Howard ranch was sold, the San Francisco Council required a new location for their summer training camp operations.  As early as 1917 the Council had looked at a number of sites for their training camp including one site near the town of Cazadero on the George S Montgomery property.  Back in 1917 the Cazadero site had generated the most interest but was not chosen due to its location.

The Cazadero site was located one mile south of the town of Cazadero in Sonoma County along the banks of the Austin creek at Elim Grove. (One mile from Cazadero, thus Mile spelled backwards).  The site was also directly adjacent to the narrow gauge train tracks of the Northwestern Pacific railroad (which ran from the town of Duncan Mills along the Russian River over to the town of Cazadero).  The site was still available for use from the Montgomery family and the Council selected the location as the new semi permanent location of the San Francisco Training Camp which was also known as Camp Redwoods.

Several buildings were constructed on the site including a field kitchen and latrines.  Other equipment in the way of boats were also provided that was lacking at the previous two locations.  At a wide spot in the Austin Creek, a 150 foot wide gravel dam was erected for swimming and boating.

Over two hundred scouts and leaders boarded a ferry in San Francisco for the first leg of their journey across the bay to Sausalito where they would catch a train for the remainder of the trip.  In Sausalito the scouts caught a special Northwestern Pacific train destined for the station at Elim Grove and two weeks of fun and adventure.  The train stop at Elim Grove was approximately 77 miles from Sausalito and would take about three hours of travel time including a stop at Duncan Mills.  The rail line from Sausalito to Duncan Mills was standard gauge, but the rails from Duncan Mills to Elim Grove was narrow gauge.  This change in rail gauge necessitated the need for the scouts to transfer over to a narrow gauge train for the remainder of the seven miles from Duncan Mills to Elim Grove.

During the first week at camp, the scouts hiked from Elim Grove over the hills to the town of Guerneville where they had a “good hot dinner” and camped overnight next to the Russian river.  The next morning the scouts took a dip in the river before trekking fourteen miles back to Elim Grove by way of the railroad tracks.  A total of four hundred and four Scouts and leaders were in attendance during the four weeks camp was in session that first year.  

A portion of the former camp site is now occupied by Raymond’s Bakery at the Elim Grove location.

Dear Nana,

We got here Saturday at 3pm. When anybody wants any milk he hollars pass the canned cow. We are going on a hike today which is Tuesday. My address is  Cazadero Cazadero Care of Mr. J. George.

Post card is postmarked July 25, 1921, from Cazadero and is addressed to Mrs. L Peters 37 Crest Ave Pt. Richmond California.