Chandler Baseball Camp - Chandler, OK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member hamquilter
N 35° 42.200 W 096° 54.137
14S E 689781 N 3953072
Quick Description: Active from 1957 to 1999, Chandler Baseball Camp was the first, and only camp of its kind in Oklahoma.
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 7/17/2017 12:10:46 PM
Waymark Code: WMW6QW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

Long Description:
Located west of the town of Chandler, at the west end of Park Road, this is a 62 acre tract of rolling land which was a summer treat for thousands of young boys from around the world. Started by minor league ball player, Bo Belcher, the camp operated from 1957 to 1999. Belcher was devoted to the game of baseball and wanted young boys to experience baseball in a 24/7 environment. The motto of the camp was "Building Big-League Citizens". Boys 8 to 18 would spend three weeks immersed in baseball. The day would start at 7:00, with breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the rest of the time they would be learning the fundamentals of baseball. Outside teams would come after dinner and play the campers.

The camp was placed on the National Register in 2011. The site consists of 18 buildings and 13 structures. Twelve cabins were built between 1957 and 1961. These were frame buildings with cedar board & batten sides and shingled gable roofs. There were no amenities - no bathroom facilities, no electricity, no air-conditioning. They were built on concrete slabs. Each cabin had 4 to 6 window openings on the long sides depending on the size of the cabin, and 2 openings on the short sides. The windows consisted of screened wood awnings which could be opened for ventilation. Cabins housed one or two counselors and up to 12 campers. The buildings remain today as they were, however, the camp is now vacant. Peeking inside a window opening, you can still see the metal bunk bed frames. Four of the cabins have an extended alcove for the counselors.

The cabins are scattered around the area in no particular pattern, facing in various directions. A larger building which housed the offices and mess hall, a locker room building with showers, and a storage barn with similar construction can also be seen.

Five baseball fields were constructed, in varying sizes for differing age groups of players. Three concession stand buildings are near the 2nd and 3rd fields. Shean Field, a major league sized field was built in 1961 and was the site of Oklahoma State Championship games and tournaments for years.

Originally the camp sessions were three weeks long and cost $150. They attracted campers from every state, and also from foreign countries. No parents; no distractions - just baseball. As the years moved along and social and cultural situations changed, the sessions were reduced to two weeks, and then one week, and eventually it became apparent that lifestyles had changed and the desire for a rough, camp-like baseball camp was becoming a thing of the past.

The baseball camp was conducted first by Bo Belcher, then by his son Tom, and eventually closed in 1999. A group of local Chandler citizens is attempting to refurbish the camp, with plans to perhaps set up tournaments, small camps, concerts, or even Civil War re-enactments. (visit link) There is evidence of some work being done - some concrete paths torn up, and some dirt work. This is an ongoing project.

A tradition at the camp was for the campers to scratch their names on the cabin walls. Several campers went on to professional sports fame after attending the camp. Dr. Gil Morgan, who is now a Professional Golfer on the PGA senior tour attended the camp in 1959. Troy Aikman, a three time Super Bowl winning quarterback still has his name written above the window in Cabin #1. Sam Bradford who won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Oklahoma also was a camper at the Chandler Baseball Camp. Bill Self, the current men’s basketball coach at Kansas University, spent a summer session in Chandler as well.

The buildings are currently vacant, but it will be interesting to see how this campsite area evolves in the months and years to come.
Street address:
2000 Park Road
Chandler, OK US
74834


County / Borough / Parish: Lincoln County

Year listed: 2011

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Entertainment/Recreation

Periods of significance: 1950-1974

Historic function: Recreation & Culture

Current function: Vacant

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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