Camp Etna History Timeline

1807   The area of Etna was settled and called Crosbytown after the Crosbys of Hampden.  Names on record were, Crosby, Friend & Friend, Diemet, Harding and Sylvester.

1820   Crosbytown incorporated and changed its name to Etna.

1858   Daniel Buswell built the house at top of hill on Route 2 just west of Camp Etna. Camp Meetings (Religious Gatherings) held in Buswell's Grove.

1876   Daniel Buswell Jr. hired a large tent and speakers for the first fall camp meeting at Camp Etna. Admission was 10 cents/day.

1880   The pavilion was built in 1880 for approximately $500 and had a seating capacity of more than one thousand.

According to Wikipedia, 78 cottages were on Camp Etna grounds in 1880.

According to Mary Drake Jenne (Secretary of MSSAC 1909-46 Director/Secretary ESA 1925-46)  there were 131 cottages on property before the fire of 1922.

1890   Buswell transferred ownership of approximately 300 acres to the First Maine Spiritualist State Camp Meeting Association.

1893   Harrison D. Barrett, born in Canaan, Maine in 1860, founded the National Spiritualist Association. Harrison served Camp Etna many years as platform speaker and president as did Mary Scannel Pepper Vanderbilt. Her grave and head stone are in Barrett Sq. Mary Drake Jenne worked with them from 1902 until Harrison passed to spirit in 1911 and Mary Vanderbilt in 1919. Mary Drake Jenne continued to be a worker for Spiritualism until her death in 1946.

1899   The First Maine Spiritualists State Camp Meeting Association filed their corporation papers.

1906   Trustees purchased the Echo Farm & Hotel and changed the name to the Camp Etna Hotel. Hotel had 50 rooms, good livery, spring water and a 5 minute walk to train depot.

1911    The first Governor's Day was proclaimed by F.W. Plaisted.

1919   The First Maine Spiritualists State Camp Meeting Association changed its name to Etna Spiritualist Association. Admission increases to 15 cents/day.

1922   On April 5, 1922 the temple, the store, the boarding house and 83 cottages east of Pond Street were destroyed by fire. 48 cottages & 7 other buildings were saved. When the fire was out, Mr. Packard stood atop a picnic table and declared fervently the summer season would go on as planned. 3 main buildings were rebuilt.

1930    50 room hotel not mentioned, but, dormitory (Etna Inn) w/16 rooms in program.

1931    Camp Etna Hotel sold to Millard McLaughlin.

1936    Found in program “Old Dance Hall has been transformed into a most artistic clubhouse...with adjoining bowling alley through the generosity of A. Lincoln Blaisdell.”  Camp Etna Hotel changed name to The Tavern which was newly remodeled.

1941    Hotel on campground up next to Route 2 is now called The Etna Inn.

1946    The Etna Inn is reopened as The Etna Tavern. First time phone mentioned in advertising sponsors. The Etna Eagle was published.

1948    Last mention of 300 acre property in program.

1957    First year program does not mention a railroad stop.

1961    Bangor & Aroostook Railroad discontinues passenger service to Bangor.

1968    The Etna Tavern, now used as boarding house and furniture storage was destroyed by fire January 13, 1968.

1971    The Temple built after fire in 1922 collapses due to snow load. Gladys Laliberte Temple constructed in years to follow by camp members.

1980    The Harrison D. Barrett Church was constructed on the grounds and held church services from May through September with the exception of the Camp Etna seasonal meetings in June and August.

1991    The First United Spiritualist Church held services from May to September with the exception of Camp Etna seasonal meetings; June & Aug.

1990s  The Etna Inn (dormitory rooms upstairs) is closed for safety reasons.

2000s   Temple repaired, buildings reborn, porches rebuilt, web site established.

2015    The Healing Light Spiritualist Church holds services every Sunday year round with the exception of the two month Camp Etna Summer Season.

Camp Etna Historical Society
Diane Jackman Skolfield