Echo Valley Campground started around 1902 as Echo Valley Park. The original park had a swimming area which consisted of a dam in Black Creek for the swimming hole and a sandy beach for laying in the sun. Some years later, around 1927, the swimming pool was added.
In those early years, there were picnic groves, a caretaker’s house and little else. Over these years local kids came from Tremont and Pine Grove, most of them walking. Echo Valley was also a favorite spot for the Boy Scouts. They held meetings and spent many camping trips here.
About 1940 a couple bought the camp that had a difference in their ideas of the perfect place to live. He enjoyed the mountains and she enjoyed the ocean. To compromise, they expanded the swimming pool to 135 feet by 75 ½ feet. At that time, it was one of the largest pools in the country. This, they considered the ocean, and they built a kitchen to serve food and placed a very large lighthouse on top of this building. They also built a very large structure in the shape of a boathouse. This boathouse is advancing toward the lighthouse. This is very striking as one comes into the campground over the old stone bridge and discovers these nautical entities in the Pennsylvania Mountains.
The stone bridge leading into the campground was built in 1857. When the bridge was built, the road was Routs 125. However, some years later, Route 125 was rerouted and shortened near the campground and the old section left was renamed Camp Road.
The huge pool at Echo Valley Camp was very popular around the entire area and was open to the general public. People would come into the pool and get a basket with a safety pin. The basket was to store their clothes while swimming and the safety pin had the basket number that they could reclaim their clothes at the end of their swim. The changing rooms are still located in the boathouse.
The camp slowly evolved into a campground over the next several years. In the mid 1960’s a few camp sites were added beside the creek across the road from the swimming pool. These sites are # 7, 8, 9 and 10 today. In 1970, a café was added to the kitchen for set down style dining. Today, this a snack bar inside general store.
Later, many more sites were added on both sides of the road. A recreation hall was built using one of the pavilions out of the picnic grove. A miniature golf course and a basketball goal on pavement were added. There were a lot of weekend activities and lots of folks came from all around to enjoy the merits of the campground.
Over the years, the campground became rundown and the pool was in dire need of repair. In March of 1998, the current owner, Judy F. Finch, bought the campground and put much time and money into bringing it back to the beautiful campground that it once was. Judy moved from Georgia and took on this responsibility by herself.
In the ten years that Ms. Finch has owned the property the following has been done: A new recreation hall has been added (decorated in the 1950’s); an office building has been added; the electric service has been upgraded with many new services added; new cabins have been added and old ones renovated; a Laundromat has been added; a pavilion shower house has been added for the large groups in the pavilions; a new main shower house has been added; the old shower house has been renovated; a new pole barn has been built; many old campers and mobile homes inside the campground have been removed; several new holding tanks have been added; a new entrance sign has been added; several porta-johns throughout campground have been added; cable tv drops throughout entire campground have been added; several new pull-through sites have been added; several new cut-off valves inside water system have been added.
In 2006 Ms. Finch joined forces with Allen “Pete” Jones and the campground has improved greatly with this team of an engineer (Finch) and a contractor (Jones) working together. In 2007 they completely renovated the swimming pool; they have updated the pole barn and turned it into a great welding shop; they added yet another new pavilion shower house; they removed the old miniature golf course and added a park with an outdoor theater; they are currently leveling the playground and adding drainage for that area to the creek; they have added a third play area; they added the sign on the interstate southbound; they have made great improvements to the boathouse and are now building a new office inside of the camp store. They welcome your comments.