Penn Grove Camp is the successor of Emig’s Grove Campmeeting which was organized on June 7th, 1880 near Mount Wolf. Meetings were held annually until August 7th, 1896 when it was destroyed by fire. Soon afterwards Rev. Charles T. Stearn, president of the association, completed arrangements for the purchase of 28 acres of woodland on the south side of the Western Maryland Railroad. Two tabernacles, and two hundred cottages were erected. The grounds were lighted by electricity, and a 20,000 gallon water tank was erected to supply the camp with water. They had two dynamos, one for generating electricity and the other to pump water.
So, in 1896 Penn Grove Camp was born. At the turn of the century (1900) Penn Grove Camp was briefly a summer time religious retreat for its owners the United Brethren Church. Its influence was felt as far away as Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. That was a pretty long drive in those days by either horse and buggy or motor car.
Groups would assemble and board the train at the West York Railroad Station for the long trip to Smith Station. Upon arriving, the train would puff across Newberry Street, past the Garfield school building and come to a grinding halt at Smith Station. On the platform of the tabernacle in the woods you could hear great singers from as far away as Chicago and many famous ministers, including Billy Sunday preaching the Gospel in the serene surroundings.
The Camp hosted upward of 10,000 people on any given Sunday when top national gospel figures were present to conduct services.
Penn Grove Camp was deeded to the York Gospel Center by Harry E. Kottcamp on December 31, 1946. Rev. Ralph E. Boyer was the Director. At the time nearly 200 rooms were available on the grounds. Local buses from York and Hanover would stop about 1 mile from the camp. Allowing those who were attending the retreat to have a quiet refreshing walk to begin their spiritual journey.
Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows were guest speakers and singers at the summer camp on June 6th, 1948.
In 1957 the first Chinese Christian Student Conference began as well as the first Ambassadors Magazine published. This conference was hosted at Penn Grove with about 100 people in attendance from 16 states and Canada. The speaker was Rev. Calvin Chao.
Harvest Time Temple purchased Penn Grove Retreat on May 21, 1999 from the Christian Associates Management Program. At that time the camp was called Pamadeva which stood for Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.
Today’s Penn Grove Retreat was dedicated on July 16th, 2000. Our special Penn Grove Retreat dedication team included Pastor Fred Mummert and Dr. Stuart E. Lease. Dr. Lease, who is now retired and living in Winter Haven Florida, was born in 1930 and came to faith in Christ at Penn Grove Camp in 1939 at the age of nine. Dr. Lease has gone on to receive his doctorate and for several years was President of Lancaster Bible College.
Our endeavors have led us to demolish some of the buildings that were beyond repair and we built a new 2 story game room and snack shop. We have hauled in tons of ground and top soil to restore some of the grass to the grounds that had washed away over the years.
Work continues at Penn Grove is we respectfully maintain its original beauty. We have a long way to go but we know God is with us!
Penn Grove Retreat
6419 Pamadeva Rd
Hanover, PA 17331
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Penn Grove Retreat is owned and operated by Harvest Time Temple of Hanover, PA.