About Alton - The Background
Alton's Grounds and Buildings
Alton Annual 1968-1969
No one who has visited Camp Alton could fail to be impressed by its natural beauty or by its obvious advantages for camping. When Philip Marson, the Chief, first saw it in 1936 (it was then part of a large private estate), “it was beyond my most Utopian dreams,” he wrote in A Teacher Speaks (McKay, 1960). “It had, mirabile dictu, everything I was looking for; as a result no other place, however suitable, pleased me thereafter.” Located on Lake Winnipesaukee, it occupies a sheltered sixty-five acre peninsula, Clay Point, and offers a mile of shore front, including a wide sandy beach. The athletic field, formerly a polo field, includes baseball diamond, volleyball and hot-top basketball courts, a dirt track, football and soccer fields, junior playing areas, and the facilities to engage some two hundred boys in athletic activities every afternoon. With a large roomy dining hall, a recreation hall which includes indoor basketball court and proscenium stage, eight tennis courts, comfortable well-constructed cabins with indoor plumbing, and a completely equipped infirmary, Alton can boast of facilities equal to any camp’s and perfectly suited to our needs.
Alton Camp Directors
|Philip Marson||Peter Guralnick|
Rose and Philip "Chief" Marson
The director of Camp Alton from 1937 - 1970 was Philip Marson, known to all as "Chief". His rich experience enabled him to administer effectively the many-sided tasks he had set for himself. He had completed forty-five years as teacher and coach in leading preparatory schools and forty-one as camp director. In addition to serving as Master at Boston Latin School he began and directed Camp Avoda and Camp Emoh before founding Camp Alton in 1937...During the years of 1960-1970 he crusaded for a better educational system, climaxing his efforts with a book which received national acclaim - A Teacher Speaks (McKay, 1960). In January, 1961, he was called to the River Dell Regional School (N.J.) to reorganize the English department and completed the assignment in June 1963. His Breeder of DemocracyYankee Voices. (Schenkman, 1963) was enthusiastically received...As was his other book
...Assisting him and serving as dietitian, Rose Marson ("Mrs. M-") contributed much to life at camp, not only by her valuable service professionally, but even more by her kind and gracious ways.
Peter and Alexandra Guralnick
Peter Marson Guralnick, who succeeded his grandfather, Philip Marson, as director of Camp Alton in 1971, practically grew up at camp. A camper for ten years, he was head of the tennis crew for five seasons and administrative assistant to the director. Like his grandfather, Peter and his wife, Alexandra, bring to camping a strong commitment to education, an enthusiasm for children, and a belief in the intrinsic value of the camping experience. Having been a Classics teacher at Boston University, he is well known for his writings on blues and his book on blues and bluesmen and is a leading authority on Elvis Presley, Peter has written extensively about American music and musicians. His books include the two-volume, prizewinning Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love; an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway, and Feel Like Going Home; the biographical inquiry Searching for Robert Johnson; and the novel Nighthawk Blues. Assisting him and serving as office head and chief trouble shooter is Alexandra, a former cabin mother and enthusiastic camper.
From the Editors...(Alton Almanac 1972)
As another year ends, there are several signs to indicate that yet another Summer that seemed to have just begun is now only alive in our memories. For instance, camp is over when...
But camp is never over in our hearts....