A Brief History of Canonicus Camp and Conference Center
Camping began on this site in the summer of 1948, following the purchase of the land by the American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island from Mr. and Mrs. Steven A Sweet, who had operated the area as a potato farm. McCrillis Farmhouse is the oldest building on the property, dating from 1810, and it was restored and renamed in 1962. This area, called Colonial Village, included the carriage house which was converted to Tefft Chapel, Breezymere, Cedarholm, and the barn. Over the years several churches, individuals, and families have donated to the creation and/or improvement of some of the most famous and precious areas on camp. To find out more look at the plaques we have placed throughout the camp and conference center in memory of those to whom sites and buildings are dedicated.
The Health Lodge and Snell Lodge (formerly Ad(ministration) Lodge) were built in 1959 and camp was run from there for many years until the a new office (now called Motter Resource Center) was occupied in the 1980’s. The three buildings (Green & Rathbun Retreat houses and the office) were purchased for $1 each and moved here to foundations we built for them! In 2000 the Lawrence family, with several other generous donors, facilitated the construction of the building that now houses the combined offices of The American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island and Canonicus Camp & Conference Center.
For most of its history Canonicus’ main focus has been on its camping ministry. In recent years the addition of the Pine Grove Buildings, and even more recently the building of the Meadowwood Conference Center has enabled Canonicus to become a truly year round ministry that can serve children, adults, and groups with special needs from the surrounding areas. These improvements were only possible through the support and campaign efforts of the local American Baptist Churches.