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Culver Academies' Council Fire
Council Fire Postcard

A wonderful postcard from Jim Croy's collection depicting the Council Fire, a part of the Woodcraft camp's summer program that has been the source of generations of fond memories, and continues to be a weekly Culver tradition on Saturday nights in June and July. The first permanent Council Fire Ring was apparently built in 1917 (presumably that one is what we see in the above images), with various changes and additions being made in subsequent years. Mark Roeder's Culver history book has some fascinating detail about the Council Fire's history here.

Woodcraft Students March

Woodcraft students march en masse to the Council Ring on a summer Saturday night in the late 1960s to attend a Council Fire dance in the ring in the Bird Sanctuary.

1947 Calendar 32

A 1946-47 photo of Chief Bull, "Indian Lore Personified" (Chief Bull assisted with the Indian Lore and Council Fire programs for several years). This photo, courtesy Martha Payson Ryman, comes from a collection of photos taken by CMA band director Col. Edward Payson and published in the 1947 "Culver Calendar."

1947 Calendar 27

A familiar scene to attendees of the summer Council Fire dances at Woodcraft camp, two campers -- in full costume -- guard the Council Ring circa 1946. This photo comes from Martha Payson Ryman, whose father, longtime CMA band director Col. Edward Payson, shot a number of photos for the 1947 "Culver Calendar," of which this is one.

Undated Council Fire Postcard

Undated postcard depicting the Council Fire, before its location at its present spot in the Bird Sanctuary.

Council Fire Indian Dance 01 Council Fire Indian Dance 02

Two shots from the Council Fire Indian dances at Woodcraft. Here, students are instructed behind the scenes.

Council Fire Dancers

The Council Fire dancers at the ring in the Bird Sanctuary, early 1970s.

1947 Calendar 29

"Ghost Dance" is the title of this 1946-1947 photo of the Council Fire in the Bird Sanctuary. This photo, courtesy Martha Payson Ryman, comes from a collection of photos taken by CMA band director Col. Edward Payson and published in the 1947 "Culver Calendar."

Other Woodcraft Links:

Photos of the Camp Grounds and Facilities

Woodcraft Camp Activities

Woodcraft Camp Council Fire

The Bird Sanctuary

The Summer School Naval Program: Boats

Related links:

The Black Horse Troop of Culver

Black Horse of Culver by Helen Orr Watson

Complete Books, Catalogs, and other Writings

Woodcraft Camp - the catalog from the 1960s

A Summer Naval School Catalog, 1918

Culver Woodcraft Camp 75th Anniversary History Book by Maj. Dick Zimmerman (the complete book online)

The Summer School of Horsemanship Catalog online (1960s)

A Summer at Culver Woodcraft Camp - promotional book and catalog advertising the benefits of Culver's summer programs, probably from the 1960s.

Culver Summer Naval School Catalog, 1960s online