Camp Buck History
A view of the pavilion at Camp Buck, looking somewhat south. The photo was taken by the Hunterdon Parks and Recreation, around 1974. The pavilion is still standing, but is in terrible condition. Renovating this structure would make a great Eagle project.
(The following information was provided by the Historian for Troop 149 in High Bridge, and was given to me by Doug Kiovsky of Hunterdon Parks and Recreation Department in January, 2003.)
In 1974, the Department acquired the orignal Camp Buck property, plus additional neighboring properties to create the present 41 acre Pine Hill Section of the South Branch Reservation. The South Branch Reservation has 1,000 linear acres, so like some other parks, it is divided into "sections" for the public to enjoy. It is called the Pine Hill Section because Pine Hill Road is the frontage. It would have been nice to call the park the Camp Buck Section, but this caused considerable confusion with the adjacent YMCA Camp Carr.
Knox Taylor, president of Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company in High Bridge, introduced the idea of Boy Scouts to the area in 1914, with the assistance of Samuel M. Buck, who was the new superintendent of Taylor-Wharton. Mr. Buck bought the land for the camp (7 acres) and donated it to the scouts of High Bridge to be used as an overnight camping location. Mr. Buck was the first Scoutmaster of Troop V49. He was also a recipient of the Council's Silver Beaver Award for outstanding service to boyhood.
When Sam Buck was scoutmaster, Troop V49 belonged to the Delaware Valley Area Council. "V" meant veteran, but that was dropped when the troop was transferred to the George Washington Council in 1946. Then it became Troop 149.
Mr. Buck was a private in the 18th Regiment Infantry Band during Spanish-American War. In 1914, he became the new superintendent of Taylor Wharton Iron & Steel Co., and in 1932, he was promoted to Vice President of Taylor Wharton Iron & Steel Co. He died at age 63 in 1937,still employed at Taylor Wharton as Vice President. He was buried in Weatherly, Pennsylvania.
Note: The question has been raised about why Mr. Buck purchased only 7 acres for Camp Buck. Based upon some research of other camps, it appears that 7 acres (or maybe 7.5 acres), at that time, is the maximum amount of land that a non-profit organization can own, without having to pay taxes. (jos)