Camp Ojibwa was founded in 1928 by Al Schwartz. The original site was near Three Lakes Wisconsin on Seven Mile Lake in Nicolet National Forest. Al leased an old resort called the New England resort. Seventeen boys attended camp for eight weeks. Travel was by train from Chicago to Rhinelander which took 14-16 hours.
Not satisfied with the Three Lakes site Al, in 1929, leased a resort property on Little St. Germain Lake and 27 boys attended that summer.
Al wanted to find a camp site that had as much lake frontage as possible, and in 1930 he purchased the current Camp Ojibwa site. Owned by the Niederlander’s of St. Louis, Al purchased camp from the widowed Mrs. Niederlander. The camp was originally a summer home and was sold and financed at a bank in St. Louis where Al finalized his plans with Mrs. Niederlander.
The present Counselor’s Lodge served as the Mess Hall, kitchen, and staff quarters. In addition there was the old garage, an ice house, and a boat house near the big rock. 37 campers attended in 1930. Bathing was in the lake near Eagle Point.
Dynamite was used to clear areas now known as the campus and middle fields. The far field was once a potato farm.
Camp was design by Al with the help of two friends Morrie Bien and George Dubbin, both famous architects. Patterned after another famous ex-camp Camp Strongheart, Camp Ojibwa was now a reality.
Camp was developed as follows:
In the early 1940’s the Infirmary and the Maintenance Men’s quarters were built. The caretaker’s home was erected by one man in the 1930’s. The cabins were converted to their present shape in the 1950’s with Cabin One being the last one reconstructed in 1960. The piers were made permanent in the early 1950’s.
Cabin 13 was constructed in the 40’s. The Lake Courts where camp’s first basketball courts followed by the Trail and Warrior Court which used to be a rifle range.
The largest growth in camper enrollment occurred during World War II when people feared bombing of major cities, and during the polio epidemic scares of the late 1940’s.