In May 1960, R.A. Marquardt purchased a 100-acre tract of land near Meadville, PA.
Marquardt, Scoutmaster and Cleveland native, set out to create his own retreat where he could take Troop 416 camping. He learned of the Crawford County, PA property for sale in a newspaper classified ad. On a cool, wet, spring weekend, R.A. packed up the station wagon and took off for a weekend tent camping trip to the property. He liked it, so he bought it.
Throughout the years, R.A. and his Scouts and their families labored to build paradise. Within the first five years, three structures were built, Eagle’s Nest, Maple Loft, and Hemlock House. Not only were these buildings constructed, but the land began to take shape as various excavation projects and road building occurred.
By 1980, two more buildings were erected, a barn and a large, multi-level cabin, Red Oak Lodge.
It was not all work, however. An official Camp Chickasaw go-cart was commissioned in the early days, and went through many iterations over the years. Little Sugar Creek and various canoes, rafts, and tubes made for countless hours of fun in the water. Evenings were sometimes spent in front of the big outdoor movie screen. Even the neighborhood dog would stop by on the weekends to visit with the Scouts.
In the mid 1980’s, R.A. retired from Scouting and opened up his property for use by other groups. A picnic shelter, a compass course, covered wagon and a small Adirondack-style cabin were built in the years to come. Many youth organizations from the tri-state area have enjoyed visiting at Camp Chickasaw over the past several decades.
The End of a Legacy
Unfortunately, in 2008, R.A.’s health began to decline. After nearly a year of battling illness, R.A. passed away at the age of 89 in January 2009, a few months before his 90th birthday. R.A. was truly an outstanding leader and mentor to many throughout his long life. He is deeply missed.
A New Era
Upon R.A.'s passing, the property was transferred to a dear friend of R.A.'s. Today, Tyson and his family proudly carry on R.A.'s legacy, Camp Chickasaw, but not without the support of friends and family who help to maintain the property.
On the right, R.A. is pictured in the early 2000's with his custom-made hiking staff, made a by a fellow Scouter