About Camp Etna
History of Camp Etna
Located on 27 woodland acres in Etna, Maine the Camp Etna campmeetings are recorded to have begun in 1876 and Spiritualists came every summer to camp out in their tents to hear the top mediums and inspiratonal speakers of the day. The campers eventually built platforms on which to place their tents and then built cottages on top of their platforms and the community was born.
On September 1, 1899, The First Maine Spiritualist State Campmeeting Association was incorporated in the State of Maine, Penobscot County. On September 5, 1919, we changed our name to the Etna Spiritualist Association and it remains our name today.
At its peak in the early 1900’s there were 350 cottages that formed the vibrant summer community. People came from Boston, Hartford, Providence, and New York by train and got off at a stop at the camp next to Etna Pond. Mainers came far and wide by horse, carriage and on foot. Visitors numbered over 3000 for the campmeetings, an antiquated term used for religious gatherings.
The camp played a pivotal role in the study and promotion of physical phenomenon and spirit communication in the early years of Spiritualism. In addition, the camp was involved with women’s rights, and camp members were active in the political issues of the day. Over its long history, the camp has continued its strong support of students engaged in developing their mediumship and healing abilities.
Camp Etna has hosted many local and national notables from Harrison D. Barrett (first Pres. of the National Spiritualist Association) to Mary S. Vanderbilt and C. Harrison Engel.
A fire in 1922 destroyed most of the camp buildings, the temple and a hotel located across the street were destroyed. A new temple erected in its place collapsed several decades later due to heavy snow load on the roof. The third temple named the Gladys LaLiberté Memorial Temple stands today. Today about 50 cottages make up the campground.