Our History

Moosilauke has a unique place in the history of camping. Its founding in 1904 makes it one of the oldest private camps in the U.S. Its camper and staff alumni have included such luminaries as the visionary behind the Appalachian Trail, a Super Bowl-winning NFL coach, a professional tennis player, a Major League baseball coach, the general manager of an NHL team, a world-famous educator, a New York Times columnist, and the leader of one of the most acclaimed indie rock bands. But more importantly, over the 100+ years of its operation, it has helped thousands of kids make new friends, learn new skills, take on leadership roles in sports and the outdoors, and gain confidence and self-esteem in the process. All while they were having the time of their life!

Camp Moosilauke was founded in 1904 by educational visionary and advisor to President Eisenhower, Virgil Prettyman, the first headmaster of the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York. During World War I, the Camp was operated by Horace Mann teachers.

In 1938 the Camp was purchased by Gordon “Moose” Miller, a longtime athletic director at the Horace Mann School and a creator and founder of the Ivy prep football league. Miller’s first few years at Camp Moosilauke were not easy: The infamous hurricane of 1938 tore the roofs off nearly every cabin; World War II made it almost impossible to hire its key staffers—college students; and several campers contracted polio during the 1940s epidemic. But even with these initial hardships, Moose was able to expand on the Camp’s early success, especially in the realm of competitive athletics.

During the late 1960s, Port Miller, Moose’s oldest son, took over the running of the Camp. Port’s daughter Sabina, and her husband Bill McMahon, took over day-to-day management in the late 1980s and continue to run the Camp today. Click here for additional information on the directors and staff.

A Moosilauke camper from 1904 would find many aspects of the current Moose experience unchanged. Campers still spend the majority of their time swimming, boating, and fishing on Upper Baker Pond; playing baseball, soccer, and numerous other land sports on the Camp’s many acres of athletic fields; and hiking and canoeing on the best mountains and rivers New England has to offer. Computers, cell phones, golf carts, and soda machines are still nowhere to be found. The boys eat in the same dining hall built in 1904 and sleep in many of the same rustic cabins.

Differences, however, are also apparent. In the early part of the century, boys spent half the day studying and the other half playing. Today Moosilauke is all recess with no classes. Adventure sports like rock climbing, mountain biking, and white water kayaking have been introduced, along with wake surfing and standup paddle boarding.