Detroit Free Press Fresh Air Camp

Object ID: 2013-001-029

Date: 1920


The Detroit Free Press Fresh Air Camp operated during the 1920’s to 1950’s. The Merrill Mills family gave the Free Press a restricted deed to the property formerly occupied by Mills’ summer Sylvan Lake Inn. The newspaper developed the property as a summer campground for underprivileged children brought out from the city for two weeks of recreation. The project was supported in part by city schoolchildren who sent in nickels to build the camp. Camp activities included baseball games on the front lawn, swimming, boating, and singing. At flag ceremonies each morning and evening the camp children recited the Pledge of Allegiance. During the weeknights the children would take turns entertaining the villagers with songs and skits. Mr. Howard Wideman stated in 1993 that city officials purchased the Detroit Free Press Fresh Air Camp for $1, with the agreement to operate it for three years as a summer camp for underprivileged children at Mr. Wideman’s urging. Detroit Free Press deeded the Fresh Air Camp property to Sylvan Lake in 1962.