The Great Green Machine

The Great Green Machine

Camp Ondessonk Garnier (800 x 600 px)

By Pati Egan

The Great Green Machine…Garnier!  The Kelly-Green Unit of Garnier was not one of the four original units, but it was a huge hit when it was built in the early 1960s.  Garnier has changed locations three times – originally, it was located in a beautiful green valley among rock formations that was beyond Lalemant’s original location but followed a canyon close to Brebeuf.  When Lake Echon was created in 1967, Garnier was one of the units that had to be relocated from the canyon.  Garnier’s original cabins were then placed on the shoreline of Lake Echon, close to where the treehouse cabins stand now.

The Great Green Machine Camp Ondessonk  Unit Garnier 1

What is so special about Garnier?  It was the first unit where the cabins were inspired by a trip to Disney World!  The inspiration for the three-sided, peaked roofs with connecting catwalks design that are featured in most of today’s tree house units was a rather tame Disney Land ride, still in existence today, called “The Enchanted Tiki Room.” 

If you use your imagination, you can see the inspiration for this design!

The Great Green Machine Camp Ondessonk  Unit Garnier 2

Gene Canavan was the original designer and builder of the “treehouses” featured in Garnier – the first unit to try this design.  Gene states in Camp’s 50th Anniversary Book that “The idea was crazy, but leaves didn’t stay on the roofs, water drained, and the ground wasn’t trampled because kids stayed on the catwalks.”  The unit was a huge success!  Garnier has had some changes throughout the years – originally, there were ladders instead of stairways. I’m sure that getting your luggage up the ladders was an adventure. 

The Great Green Machine Camp Ondessonk  Unit Garnier 3

Garnier’s unit color has always been Kelly Green and has always had a bobcat as its spirit animal.  It can now add the title of “First Polynesian Designed Unit.” 

The Great Green Machine Camp Ondessonk  Unit Garnier 4

Click Here to learn more about Camp Ondessonk’s unique cabins.


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