Of Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp
In 1915, the very first camp meeting was held on the grounds of Okoboji United Methodist Camp. This first camp meeting surpassed all expectations and eventually grew into the year-round camping and retreat ministry we enjoy today. Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp has a rich history of touching many lives and continues to be a part of people’s faith journeys.
- Camp property was recommended for purchase in 1915 by a commission from the Sheldon District of the United Methodist Church. The purchase price was $15,000. At the time of purchase, the site was less than one mile from the popular West Okoboji Station of the Rock Island Railroad, and two and a half miles directly west of Spirit Lake.
- Okoboji’s first building was the Tabernacle, constructed in 1915 as a gathering area for the very popular Northwest Iowa Camp meeting that eventually became the Northwest Iowa Bible Conference. On September 30, 1926 the Tabernacle was demolished by a tornado. In 1927, a new brick building was constructed in the same site at a cost of $8,000, just in time for that year’s camp meeting.
- In 2012, prior to being taken down, a decommissioning service was held for the Tabernacle building to celebrate its nearly 100 years of existence serving groups, families and campers.
- Construction dates of Okoboji’s existing facilities include:
- Epworth Hall – 1928
- Classrooms Dormitory – 1947
- Prospect Lodge – 1955
- Memorial Guest Lodge – 1956
- Grantham & Wittstruck Cabins – 1963
- Baskerville Dining hall – 1975
- New Hope Retreat Center – 1996
- Baskerville Dining Hall Addition – 2011/2012
- In 1991, The Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church purchased 94 acres of farm land adjacent to the existing camp. This farmland, known as the South Campus, has been developed for camping and retreat ministries.