The Idea is Born
The Wisconsin Swedish Baptist Assembly was first conceived of in 1933 by a group of consecrated men and women who felt that the gathering of young people for a week of spiritual fellowship would answer a great need in young people. After three assemblies on the north side of Wood Lake these leaders began to look around for property suitable for a permanent camp. Property was found, on the southwest corner of Wood Lake, and the owner was approached about purchasing this land. The owner promised that if the land was used for the purpose the Assembly intended they would have first chance to buy the property but because of legal technicalities a clear title could not be assured. Thus it was not until 1937 that they first learned about the possibility of securing a clear title and at the Conference at Sister Bay that June, a decision was reached giving the Board of Trustees authority to purchase, in the name of the Conference, the land for the camp ground.
Returning from the conference a committee was appointed by the Conference. Philip Carlson, Robert Cassel, and Walter Anderson contacted the owner, secured an option and negotiated for the land. The whole property included 100 acres which cost $2000, $500 was paid up front and a mortgage of $1500 for five years was taken out. 20 acres were retained for the camp ground and the remaining 80 acres were sold to a neighboring farmer on a contract for deed. In the five years since that time through the payments on the contract and through earnings by rental of the grounds they were able to pay off the mortgage and a full deed and title is now recorded in the county court house in the name of the Wisconsin Swedish Baptist Conference.
The summer of 1937 saw the first spade of dirt turned on the new property when the Assembly came from the assembly grounds on the north side of Wood Lake to dedicate the property to the Lord’s service. A vision was unfolding of guidance, grace and divine provision. As the years have come and gone that vision has proven again and again the glory of our God and the power of His spirit in the hearts of man.
The construction of the present buildings began in 1938 when on May 17 the piers were set up for the administration building. In the southeast pier of the building a stone taken from the old assembly grounds on the north shore and data other data concerning the Assembly can be found. Upon completion of the administration building work began on the dining hall. To construct these two buildings $54 was in the treasury. At the Assembly that summer gift bonds were sold amounting to over $400 so that when assembly activities were over all obligations were paid.
Six cottages were constructed that first summer by young people of the Wood River, Ashland, Trade Lake, Mason, and Grantsburg churches and H. Grannstrom of the Prentice church. Construction continued in the following years. In 1939 the tabernacle was paid for by offerings and earnings. In the spring of 1940 floor was laid in the tabernacle and the faculty and a boy’s cottage was built. The fall 1940 saw the building of the class and recreation building and a girl’s cottage. The caretaker’s cottage and tool house were built in 1941. All of these buildings have been paid for by donation from those interested in the Assembly and from the earnings received through the rental of the camp to other groups.
The recognition of the workers is a difficult task. Many have, under the leading of the Spirit, contributed to the camp. To God must go the glory for laying the cause upon the hearts of many of His people. Food was needed for the table and so one farmer donated 25 pounds of butter annually; another farmer donated a 30 dozen egg case; another donated beef. The ladies of the conference churches would bring desert for the dinner table and many other contributions made the dinner table a feast.
Carpenters were needed for the construction of buildings so farmers and workers appeared with saws and hammers. Less than $250 was paid out to hired carpenter help. Paint was needed to cover and help conserve the buildings so men and women would appear with brushes and pails leading to the job getting done quickly. Wood needed to be cut and trees cleared around the property so men would come for a day or half a day to work with axes.
The Peterson Lake property was purchased in the 1980s which consisted of 121 acres. That same year a new chapel was built along with the Tandems and ten new cabins and the dining hall was remodeled. In 1996 an additional 80 acres to the northwest of the original property was purchased. At the present time the camp owns 234 acres.