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WESTMINSTER ENCAMPMENT

WESTMINSTER ENCAMPMENT. Westminster Encampment, a conference facility owned by the Presbyterian Synod of Texas, operated from 1906 to 1950 on the southeastern edge of Kerrville in central Kerr County. The encampment was organized by Rev. Hugh W. Hoon and a group of San Antonio ministers under the auspices of the Presbyterian Synod of Western Texas. Its original purpose was to provide a place where Presbyterian families could meet during the summer for rest, fellowship, and spiritual enrichment. The citizens of Kerrville, represented by A. C. Schreiner and H. Remschel, offered forty-two acres of land bordering the Guadalupe River, and $2,500 cash for initial improvements, to encourage the location of the encampment in the Kerrville area. The encampment's opening years were financially difficult, and the accommodations primitive. With time, however, improved facilities, an expanding audience, and a shift in emphasis ensured its success. In 1908 Westminster was chartered as the Presbyterian School and Encampment of the Presbytery of West Texas, but in 1914 ownership was transferred to the Presbyterian Synod of Texas. Over the years the camp's focus shifted from family recreation to religious education and leadership development. By 1935 over 100 buildings and cottages accommodated an annual series of summer conferences serving special educational needs, as well as the Texas Synod's annual meetings, gatherings sponsored by other churches, secular conventions, and unofficial visitors and campers. This growth was made possible in part through the constant financial support of the Women's Synodical of Texas and a program whereby Presbyterian families were encouraged to build private cottages on the conference grounds and lease lots at low rates for extended periods. Westminster contributed much to the cultural and economic growth of Kerrville. The first of many area camps owned by various religious groups, it set the stage for the development of Kerr County as the Hill Country's center for summer camp activities. The encampment also provided the town of Kerrville with its first lending library. Westminster Encampment was closed in October 1950, after the synod purchased the Mo Ranch near Hunt in order to expand its conference activities. The grounds, with improvements, were sold to the adjacent Schreiner Institute (also operated by the Presbyterian Synod of Texas) for $25,000, and all equipment owned by the camp was conveyed to Mo Ranch.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Presbyterian Expansion in the Synod of Texas of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (n.p: Texas Synod, 1927). William Stuart Red, A History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas (Austin: Steck, 1936).

Rebecca J. Herring

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Rebecca J. Herring, "WESTMINSTER ENCAMPMENT," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/iyw01), accessed July 30, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.