The site which the Presbyterian Camp on Okoboji is located was purchased by a lumberman from Spencer, IA by the name of Franklin Floete in 1917. The property was purchased from the Harker family who delivered milk from their dairy to the homes around the lake during the turn of the century. Mr. Floete built one of the most elaborate mansions in the Midwest consisting of 32 lavishly furnished rooms. This mansion which is said to have cost a total of $135,000.00 in a time when the average worker was paid $4 or $5 per day!
Many buildings from this period in the camp's history are still in use today. For instance, the carriage house was converted into our current Canteen which houses our arts and crafts, snack shack, camp store, and staff quarters and the ice house has become our Dugout.
However, shortly after Mr. Floete died in the fall of 1922, the mansion furniture was shipped to California and while the property was maintained, it was a mere shadow of the social life of former years. In the fall of 1945 the mansion and adjoining grounds were sold to a group of wealthy Midwestern businessmen. The men planned on developing the property into a membership only club to be called the Okoboji Club. Work began immediately to remodel the mansion. It was also during this period that the Lodges and Duplex cabins were constructed. The Okoboji Club open on Memorial Day of 1946 and hosted several big names including Babe Ruth. However, on April 14, 1951 a fire of undetermined origin broke out at around 2:00 p.m. in the mansion and by 5:00 p.m. high winds had driven the fire so that all that remained of the mansion was smoldering ruins.
Four years later, on July 1, 1954, the idea of purchasing the property came before the Sioux City Presbytery at a meeting in Cherokee, Iowa. The property was priced at $65,000.00 and the original Articles of Incorporation for the Presbyterian Camp on Okoboji were dated August 19, 1954. The first summer of camping was held in 1956, and since then campers and adults alike have come to rejuvenate beside the water of West Lake Okoboji allowing God to touch them in a way that changes their lives.
Summary from "From Vision to Reality"
by Mary L. Frahm
The cache is hidden nearby the entrance to the camp. Happy hunting!