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Geological History

Geological history spans millions of years. Here is a snapshot of how the land that is Walter Scott today has been impacted by various geological ages:

  1. Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago):
    During this era, the region that would become Walter Scott was covered by a shallow sea. Over millions of years, sedimentary rocks like limestone and shale were deposited at the bottom of this sea.
  2. Mesozoic Era (252 to 66 million years ago):
    As the sea retreated, the area became terrestrial. Sedimentary rocks continued to accumulate, including sandstone and siltstone.
  3. Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago to present):
    During this era, glaciation events and the action of rivers played a significant role in shaping the landscape of Walter Scott and the surrounding area.
    The Illinoian and Wisconsinan glaciations, which occurred during the Pleistocene epoch (about 2.5 million to 11,700 years ago), brought glacial advances and retreats, depositing layers of glacial till and outwash deposits.
    Rivers like the Embarras River carved valleys and left behind alluvial deposits, contributing to the fertile soils.
  4. Holocene Epoch (11,700 years ago to 1950):
    In the Holocene epoch, the land took on its current form. The glaciers had retreated, and the land was shaped further by erosion, weathering, and the actions of modern rivers.
  5. Anthropocene Epoch (1950 to present):
    During the Anthropocene Epoch, humans continue to be the driving force of geological change from industrial processes, machines, climate change, and other human driven factors.

Natural History

  1. Terrain: The land at Walter Scott today is characterized as part of the broader Illinois prairie region; lying within the Eastern Cornbelt Plains, the grounds have a gently rolling character. The glacial movements during the Pleistocene Epoch, specifically the Illinoian and Wisconsinan glaciations, have left behind moraines, kettles, and glacial outwash deposits forming the grounds into the shape they are today.
  2. Soil: The fertile soils of Walter Scott and the surrounding region are composed of loess (windblown sediment) and glacial till.
  3. Ecosystems: Prior to Europeans taking the land, Walter Scott’s 180 acres was covered with tallgrass prairie and oak-hickory forests. A revitalization of tallgrass prairie is in progress under the powerline easement on the South border of the camp while much of the forest (though degraded by past logging) remains oak-hickory.

Indigenous History

The land that is Walter Scott was stewarded by humans first under the Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Kaskaskia, and Kickapoo peoples prior to their forced removal by the United States government to make way for European settlement.

Colonial History

Research Planned

History As Part of CCIW

Edited from information compiled by David B. Merrick
Camp Walter Scott is an example of dreams becoming reality in the midst of uncertainty. Early in the region’s history, extensive camp and conference programs were held throughout the state at rented facilities. The programs offered at these facilities were quality programs with high attendance- it is a proud heritage.

In the mid-1950s, there began to be a strong and effective push for the state convention to develop a Disciples of Christ camping facility. Attendance figures indicated that approximately 1,500 campers were involved each year, not including 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade age levels. Plans were made to have at least four facilities located around the state.

In 1961, two properties were purchased: Camp Barton Stone near London Mills and Camp Walter Scott near Effingham. In the mid-1960s, a facility near Waukegan was purchased from the Presbyterians and named the Campbell Conference Center. Each of these facilities was used by and for summer camps and conferences.

The 1960s were a time of initial development at Camp Walter Scott. One of the shower houses and the basement of the dining hall were built. The lake was created and “hogans” were set up on both sides of the lake.

In 1969, the Campbell Conference Center was sold. Two years later, the decision was made to sell Camp Barton Stone. The proceeds from the sale of these two properties were used for upgrading the facility at Camp Walter Scott. In the mid-1970s, the manager’s home made it possible to hire a full-time, year-round camp manager. Keith Summers was the first to hold this position, followed by Ray Bateman, and later, Dale Slifer. In 1996, Reverend Burley Herrin became the camp manager. He left the position in 2002, and Becky Lewis was hired.
In the late 1970s, the camp began providing meal for the senior citizen meal program. This allowed the campground to provide consistent employment for its kitchen staff, as well as revenue for the maintenance of the facility. This program continued until 2001, when the camp was underbid and loss the senior citizen meal program.

Over the years, the facility at Camp Walter Scott has been upgraded and renovated with the help of caring volunteers. In 1999, an addition to the dining hall was completed, consisting of a new conference room in the loft area and new bathrooms. In 2002, work began to renovate the maintenance shed into a small retreat house, and was completed in 2007. The old water treatment building was renovated to house all maintenance equipment and needs.

In September 2007, Camp Walter Scott hosted Miracle Day to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the camp. Volunteers came out in force to help install new roofing and new bathrooms for each cabin.