Canton's Vacation Camps
Pinewood, Pinehaven, Lakefield
Pinewood Camps. Rest and Recreation Camps for Adults and Families. Motor boat passenger service. Rowboats to let. Cottages to let. So read the ad for three family resorts—aka camps—on Lake Anasagunticook. The resorts drew guests from New York and Boston in the early to mid 1900s.
The three resorts were Lakefield, Pinewood, and Pinehaven. The first two camps were located on the west side of the lake near the Hartford/Canton line—Lakefield (on what is now Pinewood Road) and Pinewood (on what is now Lakeview Drive). A road connected the two camps. Pinehaven was located south of the other two, just off Camp Road. All three camps had a main lodge, a dining room, and individual cabins.
The owners of the resorts were Henry F. “Frank” Richardson and his wife Wilma. (Frank was the grandson of well-known Canton violinmaker Franklin Richardson.) Frank was known as a real go-getter. In addition to the camps, he owned a local printing business called Pinewood Press, as well as a couple camps in other locations.
Guests arrived in Canton by train and could travel across the lake to the camps via a ferry. The ferry also delivered mail and supplies to the camps. Over time, a motorized vehicle with bench seating, referred to as a “camp wagon,” was added. Later, guests began arriving by bus and car. The guests had access to the lake, a dock, a boathouse, boats, and canoes. There were hiking trails, trails for riding horses, and a nine-hole golf course. Fishing guides were available, and guests were invited to enjoy lobster picnics.
Unfortunately, all three resorts closed by the end of the 1970s, with Lakefield being the last to be sold. But several of our current neighbors have a connection to the old properties:
A portion of Lakefield was sold to Suzy and Gale Johnsen’s father, Frederick, in the 1940s. The transaction took place because Frank Richardson had hoped Frederick might marry Frank’s daughter Frances. Instead, Frederick’s friend Dudley Clemence married Frances—but Frederick and his future wife Barbara, remained lifelong friends with Dudley and Frances. Suzy Johnsen currently lives on the property purchased by her father.
Pinewood was sold to Michael and Jane Mickeriz who renamed it Lakefield Heights. They paved the road and subdivided the 40 acres into eight lots—several of which are still on the market. The subdivision has beach access on the lake.
Pinehaven was purchased by Judy Hamilton’s father in 1965. He sold some of the property, but retained much of it for his family’s vacations. Today, Judy and her husband Tom live in a house they built on the property. They also repurchased three of the cabins her father sold previously. Currently, ten of the 20’ x 20’ cabins and the original dining hall and recreation room are still in existence.
Sources: “What Was Ain’t What Is: A Picture History of Canton, Maine,” by Norman A. Vashaw: and conversations with Suzy Johnson, Judy Hamilton, and others.
Story by Liz Rothrock