For over 100 years, Peninsula State Park has been a destination for local residents and tourists alike. With its beautiful views of Green Bay and the surrounding villages, the park continues to draw thousands of visitors each year.
Many who visit set up camp, staying in one of the park’s many campsites and joining a long tradition of living, however temporarily, in the park. Native Americans, including members of the Potawatomi and Oneonta tribes, lived in what is now Peninsula State Park for thousands of years. Some of Ephraim’s earliest residents built homes in the park, and a few remained even after Peninsula State Park was officially established in 1909. And for nearly two years, from August 1935 to June 1937, Peninsula State Park was home to two very different camps.
The first, Camp Meenahga, began in 1916 and was a summer camp for girls, where horseback riding, swimming, and dancing were some common pastimes. The second, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp named Camp Peninsular, housed young men, ages 18-25, who were unemployed, often uneducated, and in desperate need of financial relief due to the Great Depression. Though the camps were vastly different, they shared a common goal: to provide attendees with valuable training that would serve later in life.
This booklet shares stories, images, and artifacts from these two unique camps that, for a brief period, coexisted in Peninsula State Park. It includes text and photos from the 2016 Ephraim Historical Foundation exhibit in the Anderson Barn Museum, titled Two Roads Diverged: Camp Meenahga and Camp Peninsular in Peninsula State Park.