Marlborough camp looks to rebuild after snow collapse

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Marlborough - posted Fri., Feb. 11, 2011
A photo of the damage from the rear of the building. Photos by John Garaventa. - Contributed Photo

The headlines dominated the news during the first week of February. All over the state, roofs were collapsing due to the weight of snow and ice from recent storms. On Sunday, Feb. 6, Marlborough experienced its own weather-related disaster, as the Hartford County 4-H Camp Dining Hall’s 5,200 square foot roof collapsed. “It’s the main building, called Baldwin Hall,” said camp Public Relations Chair Simone Upsey. “That building was just the hub of camp. It was the meeting place. It houses so many fond memories. People have grown up there.”

But administrators of the camp are determined to rebuild in time for the summer camp season. “They’re assessing it now, to see whether they need to demo the building or whether the lower level will be okay,” said Upsey. Upper Baldwin, which housed the kitchen, dining hall, and a fireplace, is totally destroyed; the weight of the falling roof caused the walls to buckle, as well. Lower Baldwin houses another fireplace, arts and crafts, the camp store, several ping-pong tables, and recreation storage. “We’ll have to see,” said Upsey.

According to administrators, the entire camp took 90 days to build in the spring of 1966. “This time around, the camp is rebuilding Baldwin Hall and will have about 120 days,” according to a press release.

"We are already in the process of meeting with our insurance folks and architects/contractors,” said Liz Mills, president of the camp board.  “Our Board of Trustees has created a committee for the development process for the rebuilding of Baldwin Hall. We are also hoping to seize the opportunity to explore building code upgrades and improvements to Baldwin Hall, and have established an Improvement Fund for friends of the camp to donate."

“Over the past 45 years, Baldwin Hall has been the epicenter of Hartford County 4-H Camp's eight-week summer camp program,” reads a press release. “Over Labor Day Weekend 2010, over 300 camp alumni, families, and friends gathered for three days to celebrate Hartford County's 4H Camp 80th/45th Birthday Bash.” It had been 80 years since the development of the camp, and 45 years since its relocation to its current location in Marlborough.

“The roof may have collapsed, but the spirit of camp has not,” said Upsey.

To donate to the Baldwin Hall Improvement Fund, make a check or money order payable to Hartford County 4-H Camp Improvement Fund, and send to: Harford County 4-H Camp, c/o Chuck Ferguson, 188 Brent Road, Manchester, CT 06042.

For further information, visit, or Facebook page: Help HC4H Camp Baldwin Hall Improvement Fund. Or you may contact Public Relations Chair Simone Upsey at or 203-218-5468.

The Hartford County 4-H Camp Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides a safe, healthy, enriching and fun outdoor experience with a learning-by-doing philosophy. “Through 4-H principles, we endeavor to foster personal growth in an atmosphere of stewardship for individual, community and our world,” said Upsey.

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