Monday, August 2, 2010


Several weeks ago my best friend from high school invited us to camp meeting. So we drove to Dawsonville for the day. If you know anything about NASCAR you have heard about awesome Bill (Elliott) from Dawsonville, this is the same Dawsonville.

This camp ground was established in 1838. The church tent is surrounded by at least 50 smaller tents. Actually, these structures aren't really tents, but wooden structures that appear to have been there for a very long time. Families have been coming to this location for a week in July of camp meeting for almost two centuries.

Church services are held three times a day, 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:45 p.m. During services the occupants of the tents (houses) can't sit out on the porches that face the preaching tent. The preaching tent is a huge tent open on all four sides, but is equipped modern items like ceiling fans and hanging light bulbs for lighting. The floor is dirt, but covered with wheat straw. It was extremely hot the day we were there, but surprisingly comfortable under the tent area with all the fans going.

The family tents (houses) are all very similar, long and narrow, with only basic necessities, like kitchen and bath facilities. There were a few new tents that looked like they were really fancy with substantial doors and real windows and a few had air conditioning. Our friends' tent only had fans, but despite the heat it wasn't unbearable inside, which is surprising considering the fact there is no insulation in the walls or ceiling and they all have tin roofs. They had a very basic kitchen, and a very old table cover with an oil cloth cloth that would seat at least 12 people. In addition there were two "bedrooms" down stairs with curtains covering the door openings. The entire second floor was nothing but mattresses and could accommodate at least 20 for overnight and a bathroom with a shower and toilet. It was a very charming place in it own unique way. This is the side of the tent that faces the church tent.

My friend's family has been going to camp meeting all of her husband's life and he's 65 and I'm sure his parents were going when they were young. It is hard to realize families just like my friends have been doing this one week in July for 172 years. We told my friend we want to come back next year for the 173rd year.

The driveway side of the tent. Despite the brutal heat this was a fun day.


Mary said...

I remember camp meetings that were held in real tents or brush arbors. Happy memories came back as I read your description of your day in "Bill Elliot-ville"

lalchy said...

aww. this sounds great :)