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The History of Camp Turk

In December of 1923, the Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Asylum Fund purchased 472 acres of land in the Adirondacks. Subsequently, additional land was purchased totaling over 1,500 acres which included Round Lake, a 56-acre private and spring fed lake. The purpose of the purchase was to provide a summer space to benefit the orphans, widows, and other residents of the original “Masonic Home” in Utica, New York that was opened in 1893 and was also a property of the Trustees.

On August 9, 1924, 177 children arrived at the camp to enjoy the remainder of the summer. Starting in June 1925, children came to camp when school let out in June and returned to Utica on Labor Day.

The older boys from the Masonic Home worked to refurbish existing buildings, and to construct new ones to accommodate the children and seniors from the Masonic Home.

In 1960, because of the dwindling number of children at the Masonic Home, the Youth Committee of the Grand Lodge of New York State sent 20 boys to attend camp selected from twenty Masonic Districts from across the state.
The program continued to grow and in 1975 both sons and daughters of Masons were able to attend two-week sessions at the camp. In 1990 the camp program at Round Lake was named Camp Turk, in honor of Nathan Turk who was the Grand Master of the New York State Masonic Fraternity at that time.

Today, Camp Turk is open for all children to enjoy from ages of 7 to 16.