Years of the Ohio District Council Campground
By The Late Bishop Francis L. Smith
records of the Ohio District Council as an organization
shows it’s origin being October 7, 1925; and it was
organized under the Ohio General Not-For-Profit Corporation
Acts. However, the Ohio District Council Campground did
not start out to be a campground. The late Bishop Fred Clark,
who was the Diocesan of the state of Ohio, was a tenderhearted
man who hated the idea of the aged saints being sent to
what was then known as “Old Folks Homes.” In
most parts of the state these institutions provided terrible
accommodations, odors, and treatment of the clients. This
prompted Bishop Clark to wage a campaign to find a place
to establish a rest home for the saints where they would
be treated with more love and respect. He also envisioned
a place where they could practice their form of worship
1938 the Ohio District Council, through Bishop Clark, purchased
a farm at Green, Ohio, which is north of Warren, Ohio. There
was a stately farmhouse and other structures on the property
and plenty of space for gardening to raise food for the
home. However, the remoteness of the location did not lean
itself to attracting the aged saints or their families to
1944 Bishop Arthur William Lewis, who pastored in Cleveland,
Ohio, while traveling along state route 40 came across the
Washington Heights Motor Hotel formerly known as the Wick
hotel. It was an older facility located three miles east
of the city of Zanesville, Ohio, and it was for sale! Bishop
Lewis told Bishop Fred Clark about the property, which in
turn called District Elder Ralph Bass of Dayton, Ohio and
Bishop Karl F. Smith of Columbus, Ohio to go with him to
look at the property.
turned out that the property had been repossessed and was
being held by a bank. They wanted to sell the property for
nineteen-thousand dollars, the outstanding amount on the
original mortgage. The two-story motel was complete with
a kitchen, dining room, twenty-three lodging rooms and it
sat on a tract of land bordering the U.S. 40 National Highway.
The one hundred forty seven acre tract of land had its own
water supply and a flowing natural gas well. There were
also detached garages for travelers’ cars. Toward
the rear of the property was a barn left from the days when
it had been a farm.
brethren were so impressed with the possibility of having
a rest home in such a convenient location that they chipped
in their personal funds to raise one thousand dollars on
the spot to give the bank as earnest money. The bank took
the property off the market and gave the Ohio District Council
one year to raise the balance. The banker later confessed
that he did not think they could produce the necessary funds
and expected to pocket their earnest money as profit.
Clark turned the task of raising the money over to a sister
in his church by the name of Ida Metcalf. Her plans were
simple. She visited all of the Ohio District Council churches
and requested that each member set aside ten cents a week
to be turned in at each Council session. This plan was executed
with such success that at the end of eleven months, approximately
July 1944, one month early, the men walked into the bank
and laid down eighteen thousand dollars ($18.000) and took
possession of the property; to the amazement of the banker.
property in Green, Ohio was disposed of and the few saints
were transferred to the new location in Zanesville. A sister
from Bishop Clark’s church in Warren, Ohio, whose
name has been lost to time, was the matron of the new home.
1947 Elder and Sister Jarvis moved to Zanesville from Oberlin,
Ohio and became the managers of the property. Elder Jarvis
erected a small house near the barn that he and his family
occupied for several years.
1955, after talking about it for some time, it was decided
to start a campground. With the assistance of men from various
parts of the state a one-story frame Tabernacle with a flat
roof and dirt floor covered with gravel was erected. The
July session of the Ohio District Council was held there
with members staying in some of the cheaper motels and in
homes of the saints. Meals were served in the Rest Home
dining room; some of the auxiliary meetings were held there;
and for several years the Pastors' meeting was held under
a large oak tree near the east end of the Rest Home.
1958 a metal pole building was erected beside the Tabernacle
and equipped to serve as a dining room. At the rear end
of the pole building there was a division equipped with
wash basins, shower stalls and toilet stools.
attendance had flourished, and after the July session was
over there were two weeks of camping for young people and
children. Many youth were introduced to salvation during
those council sessions; and the numbers grew so that it
became necessary to think about expansion.
was decided to add a second story to the Tabernacle building
for lodging. Elder Royal Haines drew up plans; and the men
of the state were again called upon to build. By that time
the State of Ohio had instituted an inspection department
that regulated buildings in rural areas, and consequently
an inspector saw us at work and stopped us because his department
had not approved our plans. We were told that the frame
structure was oversized and therefore we would not be allowed
to put in any sort of heating plant. Elder Haines and Elder
Francis L. Smith (Late Bishop Francis Smith) were commissioned
to go to Columbus and get the necessary approval and permits;
and after considerable frustration we finally were allowed
to complete the building with some modification.
Council sessions continued to enlarge, and after several
years of putting up with bugs, moths, mosquitoes and other
invaders it was decided to build another Tabernacle to seat
six hundred; east of the old Tabernacle. This was done in
1963-64. The next addition was a large metal dormitory building
that housed approximately two hundred people on cots. This
building was equipped with bathrooms and air-conditioning.
the first Tabernacle was built, a section of ground was
laid out for the erection of cottages. The lots were leased
to individuals; but the cottages were available for ownership.
Elder and Sister Haines built a cottage on the property,
as did Bishop Karl F. Smith, Bishop Ralph Bass and Elder
Harvey Bland of Warren. Those properties could be left to
relatives or sold back to the Ohio District Council. When
a nurse was hired to be over the Nursing Home, part of the
agreement was to build her a cottage. When the time came
that she was no longer able to serve, the cottage was converted
to an administration office.
1963 a twenty-five-bed facility was added to the Rest Home;
which changed its status to an Intermediate Care Nursing
1973, under the leadership of Chairman Bishop Bowers, plans
were made to build a new Nursing Home around the older buildings.
A loan was received from the Federal Farm and Home Administration
for 1.8 million dollars to remodel and build a first class
Skilled Care Nursing Home. That facility provided one hundred
beds, therapy rooms, a chapel, nursing stations, and all
of the amenities that go with such a structure. The Ohio
District Council sold approximately seven acres to the Ohio
District Council Nursing Home, Inc.; a separate corporation
wholly owned by the Ohio District Council of Pentecostal
The Nursing Home has been a great blessing to the Ohio District
Council and its membership, and to the community of Zanesville.
Many souls have been saved by being brought under the influence
of the gospel in Chapel services and private counseling.
Brother and Sister John Tate remodeled and lived in the
old farmhouse at the rear of the Nursing Home and Sister
Tate canned many types of food from her garden to help feed
the members of the home. Contributions from the Nursing
Home to the Ohio District Council have helped with the expansion
of the campground’s buildings and infrastructure.
The Nursing Home, which maintains a very high occupancy
rate, continues to enjoy great favor and success as a business.
the late 1970’s the Ohio District Council decided
to erect a new Tabernacle. The site that was chosen was
elevated high above all of the other buildings. A loan was
obtained and the twelve-hundred seat auditorium with a one-hundred
seat side room, restrooms and foyer was erected. That structure
is heated and air-conditioned so that it can be used in
any season. The July sessions of the Ohio District Council
are held at the campground; and in later months hundreds
of youth attend the camp from as far away as Chicago, Illinois.
What joyful times have been had on these grounds as souls
were saved, reclaimed, revived and inspired.
the 1980’s the Ohio District Council erected a four-hundred
seat cafeteria fully equipped and air-conditioned.
Previous administrators of the Nursing Home were Elder Royal
Haines and District Elder Frank McDonald; Elder Nathan McDonald
is the current administrator. Previous administrators of
the campground were Elder Royal Haines, Elder James Gregory,
and Elder James Gaiters; Brother James McDonald is the current
administrator. Some of the memorable names that have been
associated with the Nursing Home and the Campground are
as follows: Bishop and Sister Fred Clark, Sister Metcalf,
Bishop Ralph Bass, Bishop Karl F. Smith, Sister Spellman,
Sister Carolyn Andrews, Elder and Sister Jarvis, and designated
members that were under the pastorates of District Elder
Frank McDonald and Elder James Gaiters. Other memorable
names were District Elder and Sister Charles Reid, Sister
Mary Patterson, Brother Hubert Carney of Steubenville, Ohio,
Bishop Chester R. Lee, and Brother Mitchell.
Charles Reid served as President of the State Brotherhood
for many years. During his reign he would faithfully martial
the men together to clean the grounds, pave walkways, and
prepare the grounds for shutdown in the fall. District Elder
Charles Reid passed the mantel of leadership to Elder Vernon
Williams who lead the men for a number of years. The mantel
was then passed to Elder Howard Collier, and during his
reign the steps were added to the front of the Tabernacle.
Brother Lloyd Stewart was credited with doing most of the
concrete work on the grounds. Throughout the years the State
Brotherhood has played a major role in the beautification
of the campground. Various auxiliaries throughout the state
raised money for different projects: first for the Ohio
District Council Nursing Home, and later for the Ohio District
the Ohio District Council didn't have an auspicious beginning,
it is apparent that the Lord’s favor has been upon
His children: for today the Ohio District Council Campground
along with the Ohio District Council Nursing Home is worth
more than six-million dollars.
State of Ohio routed Interstate 70 through our land severing
seventy-four acres to the north from the remaining forty-one
acres of the campsite. The land that is located north of
I-70 has been a valuable resource; providing strip-mining
and timber to sell. At present its gas wells are providing
mineral rights royalties to the Ohio District Council. With
the help of the Lord the day will come when the great Ohio
District Council will expand the camp facilities to some
of that land as well.