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It all started with a simple dream way back in 1953.

Monsignor Francis Xavier Gray, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Baraboo, WI, dreamed of a “place where youths would be free and away from the temptations of the streets; where they could enjoy nature and become acquainted with it firsthand. . . a place where they could commune, under supervision, with their Creator and away from paths so frequently leading to delinquency.”

After personally scouting many potential sites, Monsignor Gray became enamored with an unoccupied, uncultivated, 100-acre wooded tract west of Highway 12, about 8 miles northwest of Baraboo.

To experience the growth of Camp Gray over the past many, many decades, keep scrolling! We’re always on the hunt for more information about the history of this great place. Please email us if you have any Camp Gray historical information or artifacts that you’d like to share! Thanks!

March 1953

The Beginning

After finding the perfect plot of land to begin his Camp, Monsignor Gray (pictured above) persuaded the owner, Charles McGinnis, to sell the 100-acre tract of land at a reasonable price. The purchase money was immediately donated by six locals. 

May 1956


More than 1,000 people, according to the Baraboo News Republic, came to Camp Gray for the dedication mass and picnic. Bishop William Patrick O’Connor, the first Bishop of Madison, WI (1946 – 1967) celebrated the mass.

July 1957

“Camp Gray”

Sadly, Monsignor Gray, after a couple of years suffering through various ailments, died on July 27th, 1957. He never got to see the full impact of his dream. Monsignor Gray was buried in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Baraboo, WI. Fr. Vincent Browne succeeded Monsignor Gray as Camp Director, and soon thereafter, the camp was officially named Camp Gray to honor Monsignor Gray. 


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