Camp Troy: A Social Hot Spot from the Past
By Judy Deeter
TROY - As time passes by, places that meant so much to people of past generations are nearly forgotten by those living today. One such place is Camp Troy.
At one time, Camp Troy was a social “hot spot” for local residents, particularly those from Troy and Tipp City. It was a place for dining, recreation, and lodging. The scene in this post card pictured above shows Camp Troy as lovely and serene; actually, it was quite lively.
The post card does not have a post mark or date, but it was probably published in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It was made by the Fort Wayne Printing Company and is from a collection of post cards owned by local historian Chuck Martin.
Camp Troy was located in Monroe Township, near what today is the County Road 25-A exit 69 from Interstate 75. Back then, County Road 25-A was Route 25, also known as the Dixie Highway. The Dave Arbogast automobile dealership is now on land that was once Camp Troy. By way of annexation, the camp property is now part of Tipp City.
The exact date Camp Troy was established has not been located. It is thought to have been sometime in the 1920s when the automobile gained popularity and Americans took to the road. In a 1980s article about Camp Troy, local author David L. Smallenbarger refers to the camp’s restaurant building as being a “sixty-year-old or older structure.”
The back of the post card describes it as having: clean, cool cabins, shower baths, running water, Simmons beds, open year around, home cooked foods with chicken and steak dinners. Smallenbarger named three restaurants at the camp: the Country Kitchen, the Hasty Tasty (of Dayton) and Wanda’s Place (a truck stop). Of the three restaurants, most residents now seem to remember dining at the Hasty Tasty. The restaurant name is shown on Miami County plat maps at the site from 1974 to 1990. (Historical records also say that a man named Bus Ryan operated the camp restaurant for a time. He owned restaurants name Ryan’s Steakhouse in Troy and Ginghamsburg. The date of his business operation at Camp Troy is not known.)
A few Camp Troy owner/operators are named in historical documents. Smallenbarger says that these “included Roger and Katie Cline and Horace Smith, a well-to-do Troy Businessman, who also operated a pool room and betting parlor, located on the northeast corner of the (Troy) public square now Ruby’s salon.” Smith established a dog pound and an area for trapshooting, including cabins for the trap shooters. (Old stories tell of nearby residents hearing gunfire coming from the camp.) The camp catered to the wants and needs of all sorts of people.
In later years, there was a motel and the Troy-Dixie Drive-In movie next to the Hasty Tasty. They too attracted people to Camp Troy.
The Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library has a paper table place mat (pictured below) from the Camp Troy restaurant. Someone has written a February 1950 date on it and a note that they stopped there after a game with Troy. (Thought to be after a basketball game.)
One of the most famous guests to visit Camp Troy is reported to have been Ohio Lieutenant Governor John Brown. He was the speaker for a Veterans of Foreign Wars dinner in the camp’s restaurant dining room. When Ohio Governor Frank J. Lausche became an Ohio Senator and moved to Washington, D.C., there was a gap between the time Lausche's senatorial term started in Washington, D.C. and when his term ended in Ohio. He was going to be a senator before his term ended as governor. Lt. Governor John Brown replaced Lausche for the rest of the governor’s term of office—11 days. Brown served as Ohio’s 58th Governor from January 3, 1957 to January 14, 1957. His term is believed to be the shortest for any Ohio Governor.
In the late 20th century, about all that was left of Camp Troy was a restaurant truck stop named Wanda’s Place. Camp Troy’s fun, glory days were long gone. What remained of the aging camp was destroyed by fire in the 1990s.
For more information about this story, visit the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library or contact the Troy Historical Society at (937) 339-5900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.