Patch asked and you answered -- and how!
Earlier this month, a reader sent in the following query along with the photo: My mom (and her sisters and mother) were very active in Girl Scouts in the Oranges in the 1920s. Mom's maiden name was Irene Tonks. Mom and her sister - Betty Tonks - were Golden Eaglets," writes a reader. "I now own a very good quality 8 x 10 photograph of a US flag being formally raised on a flag pole. The following is written on the back of the photo: 'October 26, 1923. First flag raising at Camp Natalie Kip.' Can you tell me more about this setting and event? Thanks!
He also notes that, "There is also something else on the back of the photo: a large, black ink rubber stamp 'impression' that reads 'From Drew, Bynum, Peters Photography. New Jersey News Service.' This leads me to speculate that this event was a big deal and that perhaps there would even have been an article about the event in the local newspapers the next day (October 27, 1923) or very soon thereafter."
A little research reminded us that the Girl Scouts were founded in 1912, and local troops organized the following year, making it likely this was an anniversary event. In addition, Natalie Kip of South Orange's Kip family died in 1911 after falling from a horse in the Reservation.
Reader Carole Mackenzie told us that, "The Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey council runs the Girl Scout OVAL camp in the South Mountain Reservation. Before becoming the Heart of NJ coucil, they were Greater Essex and Hudson Counties council, before that Greater Essex Council and before that were individual town councils. Natalie Kip is one cabin located at the OVAL camp. There are 8 other cabins that were built by other communities (Newark, Nutley, ...) within Essex County. One cabin, Stoney Brook ,burned down several years ago. The WySoMiSh cabin was built by the Girl Scouts from Wyoming, South Orange, Millburn and Short Hills (hence the name). The current council may be contacted through the website www.gshnj.org
For a look at the past, Lynne Ranieri, curator of the Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society Museum, gave us a valuable connection, an article in The Newark Sunday Call -- illustrated by the very same photo taken by Drew B. Peters.
The event was, in fact, the dedication of Camp Natalie Kip at the Oval in South Mountain Reservation. Her mother, Mrs. Mefford Runyon (previously Katherine Kip) presented the camp to the Girl Scouts of the Oranges and Maplewood. (Editor's note: There is now a Natalie Kip cabin, but the article mentions both the camp and a cabin. We're still working on the details.)
Mrs. Mefford also helped distribute medals, including the Golden Eaglet, then the highest award available. The award presentation was followed by folk dancing and a rally.
Thank you to so many readers who share their expertise with Patch, especially when it comes to solving local history mysteries. If you have a question or puzzling photo/artifact, send it in! We'll try to answer your questions!
Another local history mystery is here.