Editor’s Note: Some National Association of RV Park and Campground (ARVC) member parks have celebrated some big milestones in 2018, with decades of ownership by the same family that established them, according to ARVC. Below is some of the history of the parks and families that have been hosting campers for decades.
Clay’s Park Resort, North Lawrence, Ohio
Otis Clay first began mapping out his plans for a park back in 1947 and today, the Clay family is celebrating seven decades of making family memories. They’ve achieved this significant milestone by continuing to improve their park over the years.
The park started out with no water features at all, but it is now home to a water park and a 25-acre swimming lake. The first lake was created by a damming of Fox Run Creek and it was later followed by a smaller, sandy-bottom swimming lake dug out in 1955.
In the 1960s, Otis Clay observed America’s growing interest in camping and began expanding his campsites by adding electric and water hookups for RVs and travel trailers. Mr. Clay passed away in 1966 and the Clay family continues to build the park and carry on his legacy.
In the 1970s, the park formed a successful partnership with the Yankee Peddler Festival that is still going strong more than 45 years later. The festival and craft fair, which showcases what life was like between the years 1776-1825, is held on the grounds of Clay’s Park Resort three weekends each year.
During the 1980s, the Clays constructed the Clay’s Park Music Center to provide a venue where popular musical acts could perform. This past June, the Music Center was the site of the annual Country Fest that featured major country stars Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Cole Swindell. The Clay family continues to grow and improve its park to ensure that it meets the high standards their loyal customers have come to expect.
Ed Allen’s Campground, Lanexa, Va.
Ed Allen’s Campground is located on land which has been in the Allen family since the 1930s. Ed Allen Sr. and his wife, Louise, opened the property to the public in the 1950s so that others could enjoy the peaceful beauty and wildlife around Chickahominy Lake.
In the early 1990s, Ed and Louise passed down the campground to their daughter Debra Allen Ward who managed it for more than 20 years. She then continued the family tradition of passing down the business when her son, Brock Allen Ward, purchased the campground in 2011 at age 25.
Brock, with the help of his wife, Whitney, have spent the past seven years making improvements, upgrading utilities and adding lots of family-friendly amenities to continue elevating the quality of the campground. Guests are often surprised to meet a park owner who is only 32, but they soon realize camping has been in Brock’s blood his entire life.
It is his and Whitney’s plan to continue to improve and grow the campground so that it can be passed down to the fourth generation, their son, B.A., and daughter, Kennedy. Brock is proud to be part of a family business his grandparents established so many years ago.
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