Camp Cinnamon, a Norway hunting camp built about 1895, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. Submitted photo

NORWAY — Thomas McGinnis and Spencer Gober are hooked on Maine.

For years they have come from Boston to spend a week in picturesque Port Clyde. Eventually they decided they wanted a getaway of their own, but with a different experience than the midcoast bustle.

They looked toward the lakes and mountains region, and their goal – to limit their drive north to less than three hours from home – put Norway in their sights.

McGinnis and Gober spent about a year looking at properties online and then a rustic hunting camp was listed for sale by the Western Foothills Land Trust. Located about seven miles outside of Norway, Camp Cinnamon came with a well-documented history: it, along with another camp on Bass Island in Lake Pennesseewassee, was a gathering place for locals to hunt and fish.

“Camp Cinnamon was the first and only property I felt compelled to actually see in person,” Gober said. “Ironically, my cousin saw a different listing for it on Instagram and told me she had found the perfect place for me. Little did she know I’d already made arrangements to see it!”

Camp Cinnamon first appears in Norway deed records in 1876. It was purchased in 1895 by members of the local Cummings family. Since boyhood, the Cummings brothers belonged of a local fraternal group that casually labeled itself the Cobblers Club and gathered for youth sports activities like boxing and wrestling.

According to Camp Cinnamon’s Statement of Significance, researched and written by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, as the young men grew up and had increasing means their pastimes expanded to hunting and fishing. Mirroring the rise of outdoor recreation and tourism industries during the late 19th century, Camp Cinnamon and its sister camp, the Bass Island Club at Lake Pennesseewassee, provided homegrown opportunities for the Cobblers Club to participate in growing pastimes.

The two clubs gained such a following that in 1906 the Lewiston Evening Journal featured them in a news article, including the anecdotal story from 1864 of how members were first dubbed as the Cobblers Club. Several of them, now all adults, were named in the piece and included local businessman C.M. Smith and onetime Advertiser Democrat owner Fred Sanborne.

Newspaper clippings from a 1906 Lewiston Evening Journal about Camp Cinnamon and the Bass Island Club, and their evolution from a 19th century boys’ group called the Cobblers Club.

At the time the Lewiston Evening Journal published the article, Camp Cinnamon consisted of a sprawling 14- by 18-foot, two-story camp with additions jutting to the east and west and a nearby stable. Another addition was built on the north side by 1940.

The Historic Preservation summary notes that in 2019 the camp maintains its original features and integrity: no insulation or plumbing, minimal electricity, and a mostly unfinished interior. Secondhand materials were used in various construction phases so nothing matches.

“Not many camps are included on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Michael Goebel-Bain, the Historic Preservation Commission representative who reviewed McGinnis’ and Gober’s application and researched the property. “But Camp Cinnamon is a significant example of an early Maine camp. It has a high level of maintained integrity,” Goebel-Bain said.

Three unidentified members and fox hunting dogs on the porch of Norway’s Club Cinnamon. Submitted photo

McGinnis and Gobel see themselves as stewards of the property rather than owners. That’s why they decided to have Camp Cinnamon added to the national historic register.

“In general, we believe that it is important to preserve buildings and places that link us to our collective past, and one tool for that is the national register,” Gober said. “The original members and their descendants cared for the camp for more than 100 years. We feel that we aren’t just the new owners of the Camp Cinnamon. It is our responsibility to ensure that its connection to the people of Norway and to Maine’s past continues for the years to come.”

The two plan to enjoy Camp Cinnamon as it sits – perhaps running water is in its future but no other major changes will be made. While neither hunts, Gober’s father does, and he has belonged to hunting clubs himself.

“My father has already started looking into get a hunting license in Maine,” Gober said. “I don’t know which one of us is more excited/intrigued by the hunting history of Camp Cinnamon more – me or my dad!”


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