THE MANSION at North Shore Day Camp
North Shore Day Camp hosted an inter-camp sports competition a few years ago. As the visiting day camp’s team members walked toward this large and impressive, three-story structure, their eyes were fixed on the building, its circular driveway, south portico and extraordinary white ionic columns. One of the visiting campers, while looking at and pointing to the building, shyly whispered to one of his teammates, “Do you think the President is home today?”
Yes, it is quite an astonishing building, and it truly reflects the Gold Coast Estate feeling of our 14 acre campus which overlooks Long Island Sound. The mansion at North Shore Day Camp was built in the late 1800’s by the Bushby Family. In 1898, the main house was given as a wedding gift by Mr. & Mrs. Bushby to their eldest daughter, Gertrude Bushby, who married Thomas Leeming. Mr. Leeming was the founder of the company which introduced BENGAY to the world! Generations of the Leeming Family lived in the Mansion and enjoyed it until 1947. It served as their summer “get away” home. Can you imagine a fountained statue pond and ponies in front of the Mansion and fruit trees where our soccer fields and tennis courts now stand? They were all here by the Mansion.
In the summer of 1943 North Shore Day Camp opened at a nearby waterfront Mansion.
The logo for the camp, a lightening sailboat, came from a boat left there for the camp to use. In 1947 the Schoen Family, who were the original owners of North Shore Day Camp & School bought the estate and mansion of our present camp. They lived in the upper two floors of the house. In 1949 they opened North Shore Day School.
In 1998 TLC family of camps proudly added North Shore Day Camp to its family of premier camps (presently, Timber Lake, Tyler Hill, Timber Lake West, Hampton Country Day Camp, Hampton Sports and Arts, and Southampton Racket Club and Camp). The Mansion was restored to maintain its original architectural integrity and splendor. And if you listen carefully enough, you can imagine and almost hear the sounds of the original serving staff as they wound their way down the back stairs from the third floor to the kitchen pantry.
Today you will see a music class of young campers performing on the eastern front porch, or a group of campers, bubbling with excitement over our “kitchen chemistry” activity held on the western front porch. Perhaps you might catch the aromas floating from the back porch of the Mansion where campers are joyfully siting at café Norte’s circular umbrella tables, where they make their own pizzas. Once inside you will find campers focused on their tasks in our computer lab. And you’ll always remember our annual July 4th celebration by the flagpole in front of the Mansion, where we see the STARFISH story unfold.
So a lot has gone on and much still goes on around this place that affects kids’ lives for the better. What a history, what a Mansion!