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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 1964

Camp Gets a Pool

In 1957, the Diocese of Madison, for the price of $1,500, purchased 125 acres of property adjacent to the southern boundary of camp. Camp and Diocesan leadership hoped to someday dam Harrison Creek in an effort to create a 40-acre lake. However, the DNR would not approve the plan for the 40-acre lake.
Instead, in 1964, a freshwater, sand-bottom swimming pool (eastern half of present day Lake Jake) was excavated, and a spring was diverted to feed the “pool.”

May 1964

The St. Joseph Chapel

The Chapel of St. Joseph (later known as “The Joe”) was dedicated by Auxiliary Bishop Jerome J. Hastrich. This building served as Camp’s chapel until June, 2005, when the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel was built.

June 1965

Summer Camp Grows

Less than a decade after Camp’s inaugural Summer Camp, roughly 500 boys attended Summer Camp in 1965. The summer camp program included daily Mass, evening Rosary and Benediction, rifle and skeet shooting, boxing, and much, much more! 


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