The History of Gold Hollow and Lake Vera

In 1926, the Physical Education Department of Mills College, Oakland, Ca., offered courses in camp leadership, becoming an approved program of the Camp Director's Association. In 1927, Mr. William H Griffith, a newspaperman, who lived in Nevada City, and Clarence J. Wetmore heard that Mills College was looking for a summer camping site with waterfront property. Together with Mills College, "Gold Hollow Pioneering Camp for Girls" was born. The Original name was never used. Instead, the name "Gold Hollow" was adopted in order to avoid the confusion regarding the term "pioneering camp", and Gold Hollow became one of the first camps for girls in California.

The land on which the camp now stands was mined by the 49er's and Chinese, and was later mined again. Damming Rock and Brush Creek was originally formed Lake Vera for the generation of electricity used especially for hydraulic mining. Several gullies dot the camp, built by miners to increase the water pressure from the reservoir.

The major history of the camp began in 1880 with Alfred T. Jackson and his friend Pard Anderson. From 1850-52, Jackson and Anderson panned, flumed, and rocked about $14,000.00 a year from Rock Creek, while other miners on Brush Creek took in as much as $100.00 a day in gold. In 1944, Senator Gibson purchased Gold Hollow from Mills College for the Vallejo Council of Camp Fire Girls. The name Changed to "Camp Gold Hollow". With the help of interested citizens, the Kiwanis Club, Sons of Norway, and other service organizations built Sluice box (bathhouse), the boathouse and eight sleeping platforms. With the intense efforts of these organizations the debt was completely paid off in 1946. 192 girls attended camp in 1945, each paid $35.00 for a two week period.

The lodge was built from timbers on the wooded 48 acre property and is the only original structure that remains today. It has been progressively repaired and upgraded to include bathroom facilities and a more modern kitchen. In 1958, a second bathhouse (Stockade) was added and four additional sleeping platforms. Throughout successive years a total of 14 platform/kiosks were built and renovated, two in 1999 and two in 2002. Efforts are ongoing to upgrade facilities as time and money allow.

The units and buildings were originally named after historical settings and Indian folklore of the Camp. The "Rough and Ready" unit is named after a town near Nevada City. Other names came from California towns include "Petticoat Slide", once a well-known Gold Rush Town, (so named, according to legend, because a lady slid in the mud, fell and exposed her petticoats) and "Shirttail Gulch". Several theories exist as to the origin of its names, such as a miner being rescued by his shirttail during a flood, and another that a miner was discovered to be working clad only in his shirt. The "Bloomer Hill" unit is named after the Malakoff Diggings in the town of North Bloomfield near Camp Gold Hollow.

Through the years the Council has changed names from the Vallejo Council to Sem Y eta Council, to the Council of the Golden Empire. It was during the merger in the late 1990's that the camp unit names were changed from the mining terms to the current ones of Lions, Bears, Bats Bend, Coyote Comer, and Eagles Landing. In 1979(?), Camp fire added the words "Boys and Girls" to its name, and was the first summer to have boys sessions at the camp. In 2001, Camp Fire became Camp Fire USA, dropping the reference to "Boys and Girls".

In 2002, Camp Gold Hollow celebrated 75 years as a continuously running camp, and 62 years owned by Camp Fire USA Golden Empire Council. We are site approved by the American Camping Association (ACA) and continue to look forward to providing safe, supportive, and healthy outdoor learning environment for all youth of Napa, Solano, Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties.

The camp address is: 17183 Lake Vera Purdon Rd. Nevada City CA 95959