Grindstone Lake Bible Camp's History
Grindstone Lake Bible Camp came into existence because of the ministers who started what they called
the ”St. Croix Fundamentalist Ministers Association.” Their first meeting was in the Hinckley Presbyterian Church
on March 9, 1931. Those present at that meeting were, D. W. Thompson, Presbyterian Church, Pine City; Clair
Brown, M.E. Church, Grantsburg; Paul Hendricks, Presbyterian Church, Hinckley; and A. H. Giles, Presbyterian
It was at the May 2, 1932 meeting that the first mention was made of a Young Peoples Bible Camp. The
original plan was to have the camp at the Yellow Banks Boy Scout Camp, 17 miles east and 5 miles south of
Hinckley. A special meeting was called for May 9th to finish plans for the camp. This resolution was adopted:
“The conference will be from June 20 to 27 and be open to all young people of both sexes from the age of
fourteen and up.”
The appointed positions were:
Manager, D.W. Thompson
Food & Dining, D. Whitcomb
Grounds, Geo. Freerksen
Program, P. Hendricks
Music, D. Farrington
Publicity, A. H. Giles
“The Fundamentalist Young Peoples Bible Conference” was born and the cost was $2.00 for the week.
On June 6, 1932, D. W. Thompson told the members present that the pavilion and two cottages at the south
end of Grindstone Lake were available for a rental of $35.00 for the week of June 20-27. So it was decided to
change from Yellow Banks to Grindstone Lake. A cottage was also rented from Mrs. Jameson for $4.00.
June 20th arrived and what we know as Grindstone Lake Bible Camp came into existence with 88 registered
campers from 14 churches, and 12 pastors and group leaders, making a total of exactly 100. The policy of having all
age groups in one camp continued for years until the number attending eventually became so great that the age
groups had to be divided and additional weeks of camp held.
In early years of camp, many things were done in what today would be considered very primitive ways,
such as mandatory calisthenics at 6:30 am, followed by swimming before breakfast. After each meal the dishes
were washed in the lake. An interesting feature of the early camps was that the local pastors were the speakers and teachers for all
activities. The total budget for the 1932 camp was $209.83. with expenses of $152.73, the balance on hand to start the
next camp was $57.10.
It was at the July 3, 1933 Ministerial Association meeting that an option was made available to take over
the present property as a permanent camp. However, there was indebtedness of $1,000.00 against the property. A
committee was appointed to see what could be arranged for financing.
Other sites were considered for camp. Mr. Barstow of the Sandstone Bank offered two different places on
the lake for sale. Another site was the Parrish property at the north end of the lake. At one time Leonard Wahlberg
and Ralph Wahlquist were delegated to look into the possibility of purchasing pine and balsam logs to be used in
the construction of the necessary buildings on one of these sites.
At a special meeting of the St. Croix Fundamentalist Ministerial Assoc., action was taken to meet with Mr.
Emil Merganz regarding the purchase of his Grindstone Lake property. Albin Larson, D. W. Thompson, and R.
Deursen were appointed to meet with Mr. Merganz and close a deal with him, the full purchase price not to exceed
$1,400.00. These trustees of the Bible Conference Association were established.
The main building (Tabernacle) was really a multi-use facility in the early years. Among other things, it
was a classroom, assembly hall, sanctuary, activity center, dining hall and cook house, and the boys’ sleeping
quarters. The girls used the few cabins on the grounds. GLBC grew and additions were made to the property over the years. The state began to have more regulations that had to be followed. The real expansion began in the 1960’s. On March 13, 1967, the board was authorized to draw up plans and fund-raising ideas for a pole type building for a larger tabernacle or chapel. In March 1971, Guy Hendricks reported that there were plans to build a camp manager cabin. The money was to come from donations to Danforth, Sand Creek, and Clover Sunday Schools by the displaced persons, in appreciation for help received.
In July 1971, a piece of land, approximately 7 acres, became available southwest of our property and the
purchase price of $1,200.00 was agreed upon. It was reported at a special meeting September 27, 1971 that the land
had been purchased. At this point plans were started for the new chapel. On May 29, 1973, the committee reported
that a building 40’x82’ could be built for between $11,000 and $12,000. By October 1973 actual plans were under
way to have Schoenrock Construction Co. lay the slab after the area was leveled. If the camp intended on growing, the next major project would have to be sewage disposal, in order to comply with state regulations and the standards of the “Shoreline Ordinance.” The new system would cost
In April 1978, permission was given for a new staff restroom. In May of 1979 plans were under way for
new dormitory type cabins for both girls and boys.
Since the addition of the dormitory type cabins several other buildings were added to the camp grounds
which include; the recreation building, office and arts & crafts building, the dining hall, a canteen building, Camp
Director’s house, and the creation building.
In the winter of 2013-2014, the roof of the 1973 chapel building collapsed under the weight of heavy snow.
The building was then torn down in the spring of 2014. The insurance company gave the camp money to build a
temporary structure to hold chapel for the summer of 2014 until a more permanent structure could be built. Plans
are under way for a new 4-season building to be built the fall of 2014 dedicated to chapel services and other events.
Camp registration fees brought heated discussion. There were always those who thought that they should
be kept low enough so that anyone could attend, particularly when there were several young people in one family. It
was often stressed that we should have faith enough to know that our needs would be supplied.
Countless numbers of lives have been influenced by the prescence of Grindstone Lake Bible Camp, and the
result has been that many have gone into full time Christian work.
It is impossible to name all of those who have given of their time, talents and substance to the promotion of
the Bible Camp and purpose of which it was founded, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the years
many individuals have served in different capacities on the Bible Camp board of directors.
The present board members are:
Loren Nelson, (Chairman)-Member of Hinckley Evangelical Free Church
Ben Weiner (Vice Chairman)-Member of First Presbyterian of Hinckley
Pastor Chris Cundiff (Treasurer)-Pastor of Sandstone Evangelical Free Church
Pastor Peter Dobson (Secretary)-Pastor of Danforth Community Chapel
Pastor Rick Marcy-Pastor of First Presbyterian of Mora
Ellie White-Member of Pine City Evangelical Free Church
Dave Hogberg-Member of Sandstone Evangelical Free Church