Camp Etna History Newspaper Articles

Camp Etna was covered often in the newspaper at the of the last century. With digital archives of old newspaper now being available online, here is a selection of newspaper clippings.


Aug 30, 1911

Tuesday a Most Eventful Day at That Place – Fine Program carried out.

(Special to the Bangor Daily News)

ETNA– Governor’s Day at Etna Campground, Tuesday, opened with promise of fairly good weather. The cottagers which numbered many hundred, were early satir and bustly engaged in putting the finishing touches to the decorations. Everybody is enthusiastic over the Governor’s visit, which is regarded as an speech making event, not only for Etna Campground, but for the cult generally.

The world has indeed made gigantic strides in recent years, toward freedom from religious intolerance. People began to arrive at an early hour, from every direction, by train, in automobiles, and conveyance of every description. By 10 o’clock the grounds presented an animated appearance with thousands of people moving about, rambling in groves, or scattered about in groups chatting others going to the pond fishing and sailing, or returning therefrom with strings of fine base, pickerel, and perch. Children are seen on every hand, enjoying themselves immensely.

Frank A. Bishop of Hermon who was unanimously chosen as committee to invite and entertain the governor, met with a painful accident seven days previously while assisting about the decorations of the Auditorium and on that account was unable to take an active part in the day’s program. Mr. F. C. Barker of Exeter acting in his stead. Although Mr. Bishop was suffering from a badly sprained wrist, several broken ribs, and other injuries, he has conferred with the various sub-committee and the arrangements which he had outlined were carried out exactly as outlined by him. Three automobiles conveyed the reception committee to the station to meet Governor and Mrs. Plaisted who arrived at 11:00 a.m. The reception committee were, F. C. Barker of Exeter, acting chairman J. J Staples, Warren L. Foss, Dr. C. F. Cowan, Arthur C. Smith, and William L. Packard. Mrs. F. C. Barker and Mrs. C. F. Cowan attended the reception committee to the station to meet the Governor and Mrs. Plaisted.

On arrival at Camp Etna Hotel at the campground 50 children dressed in white, and carrying pretty flags were lined up in two ranks, open faced in, under charge of Mrs. Lue Friend of Etna Camp, Committee on children. On alighting from the autos, the Governor and Mrs. Plaisted were met by the officers, committees of the association. Introduction followed and the Gov. and Mrs. Plaisted were heartily welcomed. Lancheon was served at 12:30 p.m. in the hotel dining room 62 plates being laid. President Mrs. May S. Vanderbilt representing the association, acting as hosts. Just as the large assembly were seated Mrs. Vanderbilt arose, demanding silence for a moment when she said paid in part:

“All peoples of all religious denomination have been want in all ages to give thanks as they sat to eat, but surely we today, have reason to give thanks for we are honored with the presence of the Governor of our State of Maine. I think we should give him a rising toast, and drink to his health.” Immediately every one was upon their feet, and with a glass of pure sparkling water from the glorious hills, drank to the health of the Governor. As the company were seated, Gov. Plaisted with a radiant smile upon his face happily responded in the following words:

“I came to you last year tired and worn in body but of good courage, that courage was renewed, and I received inspiration and help to go on, and so I wanted to bring Mrs. Plaisted to see some of the best people in the best state on the green earth. I thank you for your cordial welcome.” As he said this, he held aloft in his hand a glass of the sparkling water. The dining room was beautifully decorated, being the work of Grace Staples, A. Lennis Snow, and Maggie Packard, Mrs. Nellie Fahey had charge of the dining room and everything passed off in a most commendable manner.

At 1:30 p.m. Governor and Mrs. Plaisted were escorted from the hotel by the reception committee and officers of the association to the auditorium, long lines of children dressed in while and carrying flags were lined up on either side of the entrance to the auditorium. After the governor’s party were seated on the rostrum, the children marched up and took their seats on one end of the rostrum which had been reserved for them. The auditorium was packed with people, and the Governor was enthusiastically welcomed by clapping hands. It was a pretty and inspiring spectacle, the auditorium is beautifully decorated with bunting and flags, evergreen trimming, Japanese lanterns, and flowers.

Seated on the rostrum were President May S. Vanderbilt, Gov. and Mrs. Plaisted, Mr. and Mrs. I. A. Packard, Mr., and Mrs. W. E. Howes, A. F. Burnham, acting chairman, F. C. Barker, Mr., and Mrs. F. A. Bishop, Dr., and Mrs. C. F. Cowan, Mr., and Mrs. Arthur c. Smith, Mr., and Mrs., J. J. Staples, Mr., and Mrs., William L. Packard, S. M. Olle, Mr., and Mrs., E. N. Bartlett, Mrs. Mary Drake Jenne. The Schubert of quartette, 50 children carrying flags, and many others, among them prominent gentlemen from away.

The afternoon session began at 5 p.m. President May S. Vanderbilt presiding. The ladies Schubert quartette of Boston gave a song of welcome. The President, Mrs. Vanderbilt gave a stirring address of welcome to the Governor, in which she paid a glowing tribute to his broad mindedness and bravery in accepting an invitation to visit the campground of a religious cult, so long ostracized, misrepresented, and misunderstood, Gov. Plaisted responded in an eloquent speech which was frequently applauded. He referred to his visit to this campground one year ago and spoke in praise of his reception at that time and the impressions he then received. The governor seemed especially pleased with the presence of the children, and the part they taking.

His speech was entirely free from partnership, referring to himself as governor of all the people. He touched upon many points of interest. Our united Country, The flag, The Fraternalizing of the North, and South. The development of Our Noble State, ending with an eloquent appeal, for honest, broad-minded citizenship. Great enthusiasm prevailed at the close of the governor’s remarks, Master Joe Packard, stepped forward, took from the table a beautiful bouquet of roses, and addressing Mrs. Vanderbilt said:

“Madam President, with your kind permission, in behalf of the children of Camp Etna, I take great pleasure in presenting to the first lady in our State, Mrs. Plaisted, these flowers, as a slight token of our appreciation of her presence here among us, and as conveying to her assurances of our respect and esteem.

Mrs. Plaisted arose and received the flowers with thanks, seeming much pleased:

At this point the services of the afternoon were taken up. The Schubert quartette, dispensing excellent music, Mrs. Vanderbilt gave the lecture of the afternoon, taking her subjects from the audience. “What is inspiration? How does Spiritualism prove immorality? Is the old world growing worse or better?” Mrs. Vanderbilt expounded along these lines, in a worthy and commendable manner, teaching, inspiring, and cheering, she touched vital points, and showed us conclusively that humanity is making progression, and that the world is becoming more spiritualized. With a master hand she touched the magic wand of unfolded womanhood, showing that when both wings of the American eagle were unitedly free, and woman unhampered, the world would speedily move on to better things, for woman’s hand was needed in every department of human life.

Mrs. Vanderbilt followed her lecture with spirit messages, which were convincing and most comforting. At the close of the service Gov. Plaisted shook hands with all of the children saying some special word to everyone. Then he turned to the older people and gave hearty handshakes until the auto arrived which was to bear him to the station. The children were all lined up again, and as the auto passed between them with a mass of people reaching to the upper gateway, three cheers, twice over was given the governor, also Mrs. Plaisted. The governor stood up in the auto, waved his hat, smiled and was whirled away amid the singing of America. It was a pretty sight to behold, and one which will long linger in our minds as a pleasant memory.

The grounds were beautifully decorated by S. M. Olle and E. N. Bartlett, G. C. Lower, most kindly assisted and his magic touch, lent a grace and charm to all, the arch gateway was especially beautiful with flags, and evergreen. The various committees have all served faithfully and well, making this event a great success.

The cars which were used in escorting the governor and party, were owned by F. C. Barker, Mason of Bangor, and Fred Dow of Newport. The governor expressed great pleasure with his reception, and surely this day will go down in history as a “Red Letter Day” in the annual of Camp Etna.



1919 Sept 6

Last Honors to Beloved Leader

Impressive Memorial Services for Mrs. Mary S. Vanderbilt at Etna Campground.
(Special to the Bangor Daily News)

CAMP ETNA – As the sound of Taps rendered by Francis O’Brien was concluded one of the most impressive burial services ever held in Maine.

The place was Barrett Square, Etna Campground and the occasion was the dedication of the Vanderbilt Memorial.

A Hugh boulder has been transported for miles and simply cut, only bearing the name Mary S. Vanderbilt and the date 1919 marks the spot where all that was material of that talented woman now mingles with mother earth.

Mr. Vanderbilt husband of the deceased raised a fine United States flag (his gift to the camp) over this monument and the strong breeze caused the tall staff, given by Mr. Fales an admiring friend, to sway and bend.

Sometime before the appointed hour a large number of campers and others came for the occasion, were at the spot and each as he left dropped on the place, where the ashes were interred, his flower or evergreen tribute to her whose ministrations have made Etna a Mecca.

Three selections were sung by Prof. and Mrs. Lyon. Only a Thin Vell Between Us. Where the Roses Ne’er Wither, and Only Remembered By What We Have Done. One friend M. E. Cadwallader came from Chicago to pay the tribute of friendship and loving appreciation to our risen sister. The principal address was by Rev. F. A. Wiggin of Boston.

He also offered the opening prayer and pronounced the benediction.

Visitors were here from Florida as well as near by states to attend the dedication of this simple and plain yet eloquent monument to her who labored among us and whose memory now becomes the richest treasure of this popular camp.

M. E. Cadwallader, editor of the Progressive Thinker, Chicago, gave the following address:

Dear Friends:

Away from the turmoil, strife and vicissitudes of daily life, we have gathered from far and near to consecrate this hour, to dedicate this shine to the memory of our beloved and arisen sister Mrs. Mary S. Vanderbilt.

Every heart has a shrine, every home a sacred spot sacred to the memory of our loved ones.  Therefore we have come to Etna Camp to dedicate a shrine which in all the ages to come shall mark the enduring work of the one who but yesterday was in our midst, as well as to the pledge ourselves anew to carry on her mighty work.

It took ages to prepare for the coming of such a gifted soul – the angels bending low at the cradle imprinted on her brow a seal, which set her apart from her fellow men to her was given a gift from Heaven, a power divine enabling her to go forth as aner angel to minister to the sorrowing. She became a comforter. I one to whom Mrs. Vanderbilt gave a message from an unrisen loved one, bidding then known that father, mother, husband, wife, or child still lived in the land of immortality, could but place single grain of wheat upon this shrine, they would be as numberless as the sands upon the seashore.

How fitting it is that here in Maine.