HISTORY OF CAMP RIO BLANCO
April 15, 1958, J.S. Bridwell and his daughter, Margaret Bridwell Bowdie, gave 118 acres of land to Girl Scouts of Caprock Council for a camp. The land was originally part of the Two Buckles Ranch owned by the Kentucky Cattle Raising Company.
During the next year, water wells were drilled, the Old Lodge was built for kitchen and dining room facilities, 21 tent platforms for two tents units were built, three wash and shower shelters and latrines were added. A contest was held to name the camp and Camp Rio Blanco, Spanish for White River, was selected. The then called “Small Lodge” was dedicated in 1959 and the first summer camp was held.
Nobody knows the true story of the grave found east of Bridwell Lodge on the hill. The wire enclosing it, is the ribbon variety used before barbed wire.
In 1960 the Covered Wagon Unit was added and the Lions Club and citizens of Crosbyton raised funds and built the Craft House. The formal dedication of the camp was held May 1st.
The Swinging Bridge was dedicated in 1961 and for the 1962 summer camping program the swimming pool was ready for operation.
The capital campaign was held throughout the council in 1966 to further develop the camp and May 7th, 1967, Bridwell Lodge was dedicated to J.S. Bridwell, and Chef Chalet to Mrs. Verne “Salty” Morris, a cook for many years at camp.
The Health Lodge, dedicated in June, 1968, was donated by families and friends in memory of Mrs. Betty Darden Lockwood, Lorenzo.
The Wrangler screened cabin unit was added in 1968, and in 1970 the caretaker’s house was built.
In 1990 five new A-frame cabins replaced the platform tents in the Chippewa unit. In 1991 two new winterized bathhouses were added to the Wrangler/Linerider unit and the Wagon unit.
Other than the capital campaign and contribution mentioned above, Camp Rio Blanco has been developed and maintained with proceeds from the annual sale of Girl Scout Cookies.