A Chester Heights Camp Certificate from 1897
Note: As hard as it is to imagine today Chester Heights Camp Meeting was front page news to say the least. in the Chester Times. Early July was the biggest camp week and the camp was front page news for a week. A great example is below. A different vacation The Camp opened in 1872 on 148 acres.
CHESTER TIMES – July 31, 1905
CHESTER HEIGHTS CAMP HAS BIGGEST DAY IN ITS HISTORY – THOUSANDS OF People Visit the Grounds on the Wooden Slopes of Aston Township and Every Service is attended by Great Things – Stirring Meeting, Songs and Sermons
If there was a man or woman who did not get their money’s worth, spiritually, at Chester Heights yesterday, it would be hard for the Good Man above to provide a place where their appetites could be appeased. It was the greatest day ever known on the old camp ground. More people, more teams, more meetings, and in fact more of everything calculated for the uplifting of the souls of men was provided than ever before in the history of the camp.
About one thousand teams entered the grove during the day and evening and it is not out of the way to say that during the afternoon there were at least eight thousand persons on the ground. No matter in which direction one looked, there was a seething mass of humanity, and this condition existed notwithstanding the fact that all of the meetings of the day were overflowing, the crowds being so big that it was hard for those standing in the rear to hear what was said. Unlike other years most of those who came to camp remained until the evening service, the late stayers being provided with a special train which backed up from Wawa and left the Heights at 9:30 o’clock.
While thousands drove to camp over every road leading there, thousands braved the hot sun and rode as far as Wawa on the train and then walked from there to the camp ground. It was truly “big Sunday” at Chester Heights, and if the same spirit is evinced next year by those in charge which characterized the management this year, more accommodations will be afforded the public to each the camp ground and the crowds will be so large on Sundays that it will require several meetings in progress at one time to accommodate the crowds. With the exception of the sprinkling of a few rain drops shortly after the noon hour, the day was ideal camp meeting weather.
OLD TIME METHODISTS THERE – It was truly an old time Methodist shouting camp meeting during the entire day. It has been years since so much shouting was done and so many amens said as yesterday. There was no tardiness about this feature of the camp. From the time the old bell was rung at 55 calling the worshippers to the early sunrise meting the religious caravan had on a full head of steam. Rev. Samuel W. Kohr was greeted by over one hundred of the faithful at the early meeting. Indeed the confines of the old chapel were too small to give proper accommodations to the people who were full of pent up religious enthusiasm.
After an hour’s worship the leader, followed by his band, marched through the woods, serenading several of the cottages. The first visit was that of Spiritual Director Rev. George M. Brodhead and he was joined in this wonderful demonstration of worshipping. From the Circle the band marched to the hill top singing as they went, “We Are Marching to Zion,” and “We go singing and shouting on our journey home when the day breaks.” From the hill they marched down to the love feast, which was in progress and this proved one of the most spiritual meetings of the day. Mrs. Congleton, who is past eighty years of age and whose speech is feeble, stirred the hearts of the good men and women by giving her experience through Dr. Brodhead. Among others who gave their experience were Dr. Brodhead, Rev. Samuel Kohr, Rev. W.M. Ridgway, Rev. Thomas A. Armour and Mr. Borneman.
FINE MORNING SERVICE – The echoes of this meeting had not died away before time for the regular preaching hour. Preliminarily, there was a pleasing song service by Rev. A.S. Dingee, in which solos were sung by Mrs. Gertie Carey of Chester; Mrs. J.G. Wilson and Mrs. George M. Brodhead of Philadelphia. An orchestra of seven pieces made up from the congregation of Rev. R.M. Howells of Crozerville, assisted with the singing.
A collection of $180 was asked for and more than this amount was given. When the collectors first started through the congregation one would have thought that there was no one in camp but Chester people, but Philadelphia and other places brought up the rear.
The preacher of the morning was Rev. William M. Bamford, and he preached an able sermon. ON account of the lateness in starting the preaching service the minister said that he would not talk long. He limited himself to thirty minutes, but when the time was up there were calls for him to go on. It was one of the ablest sermons of the camp. Dr. Bamford took for his theme, “More Than Conquerors.” His thought was that no real character is obtained in this world by men and women without a conflict and that to serve God as we should requires great sacrifices and work on our part. “God’s love is a pledge to humanity that our conquests shall gain,” said Dr. Bamford.
ROUSING CHILDREN’S MEETING – There was at least one thousand young folks at the children’s meeting at 3:00 on the hill. This was in charge of Rev. T.A. Armour, Rev. J.K. Royer, and the leader being absent attending to his own church service. The regular Sunday school lesson prepared by the Methodist Church was taken up and several solos were sung.
Previous to the afternoon preaching service, Rev. Dingee conducted another delightful song service. Solos were rendered by Miss Bessie Simpson, Mrs. Carey and Miss Mae Scott of Crozerville. Previous in the sermon Dr. Brodhead announced the program for today – closing day. In the morning, he said Mrs. R.M. Howells of Crozerville will preach the annual wash day sermon, and will endeavor to clean some of the dirty linen. In the afternoon Rev. Vincent Nichols, who has the charge of Chester Heights and Stony Bank M.E. churches, will preach and in the evening Dr. Brodhead is going to have short talks from all of the ministers present. This will be followed by communion and the annual procession. Already the cottagers and tenters have begun the work of decorating with flags and bunting. Japanese lanterns will illuminate the grounds.
DR. MEAD PREACHES – Dr. C.H. Mead of New York preached an able sermon. He took for his theme “Sampson’s Riddle.” He spoke of the liars and cheaters which are encountered on life’s pathway such as greed, selfishness, fashion and liquor and warned his hearers against these.” He also referred to the conditions in Philadelphia. He was asked by the Times representative before the sermon if he would say anything relative to the conditions in Philadelphia.
“It is such a popular subject at this time that one can hardly refrain from referring to it. Some months ago when in Philadelphia making speeches I condemned Mayor Weaver and the administration for the way things were run, and now that the Mayor has begun his re-environment, it is only just to him that I should say something good of him. I take it that he is sincere and look upon the matter in that light.
“An honest ballot will be a great gain for truth and righteousness, and if the elections are stripped of all dishonesty, in Philadelphia, it will go a long ways toward purifying the elections in every section of the country, and will certainly help the people to elect honest men to office.”