How about a Tosebo reunion in 2004?


Strong Bow

We are scattered all over the country but we seem to enjoy recalling a special time in our youth when Tosebo was the place to be. Is there interest in trying to pick out a weekend in July or August of 2004 to meet face to face, walk the camp and remember a little more, have a songfest to bring all those camp songs to life, and just sit back and enjoy Portage Lake?

It's got to be better than your high school reunions. Any interest? Got to start planning now if we're going to have any sort of turnout. Goiing to send this out as an e-mail as well, since many do not seem to be part of the forum.

Dave Wallace
Elsmar Forum Sponsor


Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Only if after it's over we can take Big Bertha to Chicago! Just kidding of course. I didn't know they had busses. Sounds like they were really something for their day.

I'd probably attend.


A reunion in 2004? Certainly a great idea, though I think having access to the Tosebo property would be meaningful to the success of a reunion.
When we met David and Lulu Wild at the Old Camp Tosebo B&B about 6 years ago, David expressed an interest in having a reunion of former campers-suggesting that the camp grounds could be used for pitching tents and parking RV's. Rooms at the B&B could have been reserved.
It would be nice to have permission or an invitation to use (or atleast visit) the facility.
There was a 2003 reunion on July 23, 2003 in Lincoln Nebraska at "Billys Place"
(actually the restored home of William Jennings Bryan-now an exclusive restaurant)
Campers in attendance were Richard Harnsberger (1932-42) and George Hausser (52-55). Discussion included our fond memories of Mrs Fawcett and her nature lore and wildflower walks with the younger campers. Richard recalled humorous experiences relating to the Leon Mandel family yacht that was too large to fit through the Portage Lake channel.

Strong Bow

Reunion Plan

As most of you have read by now, I am now a part owner of the Tosebo property. While 2004 sounded like a great year for a reunion, this purchase and my son's wedding in June have caused me to have to delay an "event" like that until 2005. It is on the schedule for the second weekend in June of 2005. By then we'll have the place looking all spiffy and will be able to utilize the cabins as well as the Clubhouse (and I hope the local motels as well if enough guys show up) We, of course, welcome any of you that would like to drop by and wander through. Drop me an e-mail - I'd really like to meet and greet as many old and new friends as possible. Remember - the sun always shines at Camp Tosebo.

Dave Wallace


Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
I understand this is the 'latest':

Introduction: Some of you have read all this before and for others this will be an update. For others it may be brand new information. At least every will be up to date. Whether by e-mail or snail mail or forwarding a copy to your brother(s) and friends, I hope everyone gets this letter. I have trouble remembering who I’ve told what, and when. In September of 2003 the list was approaching 70 and I was pretty impressed. Now ten months later and the list has doubled.

June 9, 2004

Dear Tosebo Campers and Staff,

Up until a couple of years ago few of you knew where many of your Camp Tosebo buddies were and then we (along with Al Gore) discovered the Internet. Phone calls, e-mails, postcards and hours of “GOOGLING” have yielded a list approaching 140 spanning from 1930 to the end in 1977. I was a little more interested than some because I still go to Portage Lake in the summer and our cottage is just 100 yards from the Boathouse. Images of Camp have never faded because I’ve walked by the Boathouse and the Clubhouse every summer since my last as a counselor in 1967. It always seemed like I’d just miss being there when some of you came by the Camp to visit. Not that I would have recognized very many of you after so many years. But I’ve still been pretty interested in all this and my family has accused me of stalking people in the Internet. It’s an interesting puzzle and the clues were your hometown, or your age, or a little hint from someone. After all these years, I’ve only had two say they’re not interested in TOSEBO anymore. I was pleased with the results and thought it might even lead to more of you coming back to visit Tosebo and maybe we could even have a reunion of some kind. I had even talked to the owner’s (the Wild’s) about using the place for a reunion this summer.

Last year everything took a different twist. In November, Fran (Kitchen ’67) and I, along with 3 other couples (none with Tosebo ties) entered into a purchase agreement for the Camp Tosebo property. It was an opportunity that, affordable or not, could not be passed over. We have no illusions (or delusions) that we could “restart” Camp Tosebo as you knew it. Our group easily recognized how quickly the property could be subdivided and developed into a large resort complex. Even the local Onekama zoning folks said we could build 120 houses on the property. We said “no thanks.” We have placed about 45 of the 56 acres of the property into a conservation easement that will protect it from development forever. We are going to continue to rent the Clubhouse, Welcome House and Trunk House as weekly rentals or possibly to return to a Bed & Breakfast in the future. The Boathouse has been restored with a new foundation, roof, and interior flooring. With its red shingle roof, sage green original siding, and “CAMP TOSEBO” in tile red block letters on a white background, the Boathouse is a wonderful structure and a true landmark on Portage Lake. The first floor has storage compartments and the second floor will be a relaxing area to watch the lake with the shutters open across the lakefront. Based on old photographs we think the Boathouse is well over 100 years old!

We have put new roofs on the two cabin buildings and with new screens they should be available next summer, we hope, for “semi-rustic” camping. Still no electricity or heat, but with a roof and a floor, the term “semi-rustic” is all relative. We will be rebuilding the Dew Drop and the Waldorf, although the Waldorf is being moved to be next to Cabin 4-5-6 (at the Cabin 4 end). That’s because we don’t have the tent row anymore and there were water and septic considerations. We think the shower house can be re-done for with a boy’s side/girl’s side to serve any “rustic campers.” We do have 3-4 tents that were in the Craft Shop and I would like to construct a couple tent platforms to show what they looked like. The Craft Shop is in good shape, except we have to figure out how to get electricity back into it. A couple weekends ago I finished rebuilding the Lookout with a new railing and benches. It’s such a great view and a nice place to just sit and talk. The ball field is trying to grow grass again. Our cleanup of the Hill was pretty intense after almost 30 years of no use. The tennis court is getting repainted and the basketball court is getting new poles, backboards and rims. That gets us to “Tom Thumb Golf.” The space is still there, we have the big sign; we have the hole “flags” and even some putters. A little history – Tom Thumb Golf was the invention of Garnet Carter who had developed “Rock City” in Tennessee – like was painted on every barn in the South – “See ROCK CITY – See Seven States” Mini golf wasn’t his invention, but the ability to build it cheaply and in a small space allowed him to patent it and in the mid 1930’s there were over 30,000 Tom Thumb franchises in the United States. And Tosebo will have its course again! Construction is pretty simple and we think it’s a fun thing for kids to do at any age.

Not everything lasts forever and the falling trees took a toll on the Stage and the Stable. As much a part of Camp as they were, safety concerns convinced us to remove them, along with the Hogan building next to the Stage. We’ve discussed the possibility of rebuilding the Stable as a storage building in a few years. Another safety concern that gets a “reprieve” is the Beehive. The building leans in several different directions, the roof is covered with moss, the septic is - well let’s just say the septic isn’t. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we can’t bear to part with it. It’s an important part of Tosebo history and it may well be one of the oldest cottages on Portage Lake according to the research done for the National Historic Register application. That application was done by the previous owners, so the entire property is listed on the Register. This fall we hope to stabilize the foundation and get a new roof on it, and then we’ll fix the parts in between. The Council Fire Ring is also on the endangered list. I know where it is and can see the remains of a couple of bench supports. A couple weeks ago I even found three rocks painted white. Fortunately I have several good photographs that will serve as a blueprint for this special place.

Speaking of photographs – do we ever have photographs!! Caryl Roskie Lemanski, who I have dubbed “Squaw Giver of Great Treasures”, recently sent me 35 pounds of Tosebo photographs. I was excited with the photographs we got with the purchase, but this collection is amazing. Mostly sorted now, I need to begin scanning all the images for sharing and our archives. Another treasure that came with the purchase is the sign-in ledgers that campers, staff and parents/guests signed each year. The two books cover 1914 to 1970 (except they must have been misplaced for 1965) and have been very useful to find many of you. Surprising how many of you stayed close to home. I am working to get all the names into some kind of database. The handwriting is often a real challenge, especially in the early years. At this point I have 1914-1925 done and 1945-1970 done. It is surprising how much “stuff” has survived so many owners and so many years. We have the “Ho for Toseboland” sign, the “Vista” sign, a lot of the decorations from the Council Fire, and other pieces which show up in the many photographs we now have. Identifying people in photographs I still a big challenge and I hope I can get some help with that. As the only one of our group who was ever a camper, I was immediately designated the historian, and the more I look at, the more I realize how little know.

While the summer rentals are pretty steady, an investment like this required a little more so we looked at the land survey to see what we could get out of the property. Part of the Camp property around the Welcome House is actually part of the Red Park plat (the cottages between the Camp and the Boathouse) We created five new building lots, two along the road next to the Welcome House towards the Stable and three more behind those. Four went to the families as part of their investment and we have one left that we’re holding until at least fall. We’ve created a condo association and intend to be strict about development standards to insure that new construction fits with the old. Fran and I have a lot where the Hogan was and someday we’d like to build another cottage there.

So what now?

The attached directory has a fair amount of missing information that I would really like to fill in. If you can’t remember the years you were a camper, the registers will let me fill that in. Several of you have brothers/cousins/fathers/friends that have never checked in and I’d really appreciate it if you could give me contact information for them.

Take a look at the Camp at The pictures should get updated soon, but I wanted to wait until most of our cleanup was done.

Check out the discussion forum at It’s run by Marc Smith (1960) and has a lot of good memories, stories and a link to scanned photos . Just below the “Kilroy” click on the Forum Index, then scroll down to Odds and Ends and you’ll see “TOSEBO and summer camping.”

Not many details yet but there will be a reunion at Camp Tosebo on the weekend of June 11-12, 2005. See the Camp, see old friends, sing old songs, and share memories of the best summers of your life.

Can’t wait for 2005? Come visit anytime. We’re up there most weekends, but don’t hesitate – Tosebo campers are always welcome. Drop me an e-mail or give me a call and I love to welcome you myself.

Who’s still missing? Obviously, there are many. Tops on my list after two years of searching are: (original hometowns in parenthesis) Wally Gibbons (Dearborn, MI), Steve Christian (Grosse Pte Farms, MI), Glenn & Ronnie Rynes (Elmhurst, IL), Chuck & Doug Parmenter (Detroit, MI), John, Jim, & Terry Larson (Chicago, IL), Steve Hoffman (Manitowoc, WI), Bob, John & Bruce Lanman (Hammond, IN), Bill Farnham (Detroit, MI). Maybe one of you have some new clues? Maybe there’s someone you’d like to search for?

Enough for now – hope to see all of you at Tosebo again someday.

Dave Wallace

“Make new friends, but keep the old – one is silver and the other gold”

Al Dyer

I plead ignorance, in a couple of lines can someone tell me what Tosebo is?

It must have a more meaningful goal than what I am thinking.

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