Camp Washington Carver Dedicated: July 26, 1942

Aug 18, 2016

Camp Washington-Carver was dedicated as West Virginia’s black 4-H camp on July 26, 1942. Named for Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, the camp is located at Clifftop in Fayette County.

Carver Lodge, Camp Washington-Carver at Clifftop, Fayette County.
Credit e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

It was the first 4-H camp for African-Americans in the country, and its Great Chestnut Lodge is the largest log structure in West Virginia and one of the largest in the nation.

The camp was built under two New Deal programs: the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. It originally included the lodge, a guest cottage, a water tank, a pond, two dormitories, a swimming pool, and a bathhouse.

During the years of racial segregation, Camp Washington-Carver sponsored summer 4-H camps, Boys and Girls State, Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps, mining and home economics camps, and church camps for African-Americans. It also served as an off-campus learning center for West Virginia State College (now University) until 1979.

Since 1979, Camp Washington-Carver was has been managed by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, which hosts various reunions throughout the summer as well as the popular Appalachian String Band Music Festival.