As i remember Camp Wellfleet

     After a recent trip to the Cape I looked up Camp Wellfleet and fond
your page. I usually visit the Marconi Station site, what's left of
it, and recall the days before the park was formed. In my childhood
summers on the Cape we stayed on Blackfish creek in South Wellfleet.
I remember when the trains ran on what is now the bike trail. The
trains ran the length of the Cape probably supplying the camp and
bringing whatever the outer Cape towns businesses needed. I remember
the railroad bridge over the Pamet River, only minor pieces remain

     I was born in 1952 and began going to the Cape with my family at the
time. Probably at around the age of 5 or 7 when we used to go to
Maguire's beach, now Lacounts Hollow Beach, noticed the antiaircraft
flack over the water from the camp probably not more than a mile or
so down beach. I once found the fuselage of a drone painted red with
a compartment in the middle with a hatch washed up on the beach
there. It looked like a torpedo. I can't remember if there was a tail
or wings. Sometimes planes flew pulling huge socks. Sometimes we
could hear the noise of the drones. There were cement emplacements
that remained even after the park around the Marconi site. I find no
trace of these now but for a piece of concrete with a shell case
stuck into it, probably a 50 cal that somebody must have decided to
leave as a small reminder. Since the erosion of the Cape has been
ongoing there seems to be a mystery about these cement structures
clearly built to hold large antiaircraft guns, but they probably were
removed by the park in efforts to conserve the dunes.

     So it is my belief that the camp was active beyond 1944, into the 50s
but probably began winding down before the park was formed in 1961. I
remember one fourth of July my father took me to the camp where the
army soldiers staged a enactment of a squad taking an MG position
using what seemed like live munitions. Explosions in the sand, gun
fire, grenades, were all very fascinating to a seven year old
captivated by war movies and stories of WWII at the time. It was very
loud. Barracks were still standing then as well and that would be
around 1959.

     I write this to share some of my personal memories about a place that
seemingly vanished and that does not seem to have much in the way of
a place in history. I did not get to investigate the library records.
I suppose it makes sense that such a place not be remembered having
it's beginnings in a time of violence, and no sense of conservation
when there is only the small remains of Marconi's site and no park
center there now, only non-public headquarters for the park.

     But for some, as with the Marconi station, the landscape of the past
is a spark for the imagination. Maybe because of history and stories
of the ventures of men like Marconi and a world at war, what these
things can tell us and maybe teach us, I find it interesting.
Similarly the history of the whaling and old wharf's and harbor's
taverns and people, the camp should be included in some way. It
certainly has a strong poetic value.


Jeffrey Haste