A Brief History

1907 - M. A. Straughan and Asa Dean sell units in proposed cement plant

1908 - Construction on cement plant begins

1909 - Ark City Portland Cement Plant is registered, and hotel is built in the town to encourage investors

1911 - Cement business is abandoned

1917 - Albert L. Neuman purchases property

1927 - John Hall and Lester Rhodes build raft and float down the Arkansas River from Ark City to Fort Smith, Arkansas

1945 - John Hall purchases property to build a youth camp and names Inspiration Point; Hall shares dream with Pastor Roxie Powell at First United Methodist Church in Ark City; recycled materials from old cement plant office are used to construct Main Lodge and Dining Hall

1946 - Minya Powell names Camp Horizon

1947 - John Hall sells Camp Horizon to group from FUMC Ark City for $38,000

1948 - First camping season opens: barracks purchased for $1 are moved on site for dorms; 2x4 frames with stretched canvas are used as beds; first bus purchased is a hearse with benches added for passengers 

View more pictures from the first camps ever held at Camp Horizon

1949 - Bob Haines becomes Executive Director

This video is a rare look at what Camp Horizon looked liked just after it opened in 1949. This video was converted from film strip to VHS to DVD and now to Youtube. Fascinating!

1950 - South Stone Dorm is added

1952 - Jack Kleinkauf named Camp Manager

1953 - North Stone Lodge is built; 8,000 campers visit Horizon

1955 - Alva Moffitt becomes Camp Manager

1958 - New manager's home, restrooms, and shower building are constructed

1961 - Swimming pool is built

1966 - Richard Cheatum becomes Camp Manager

1967 - Cedar Dorms are built

1968 - Joe Graham becomes Camp Manager

1970 - First canoe camp is held

1973 - Rev. Richard B. Wilke shares vision that inspires construction of Renewal Lodge

1980 - Picnic shelters are built

1987 - Agape Hall, prefab building, is built by volunteers in 10 months

1988 - Maurice Wise becomes Camp Manager

1996 - Pat Simmons becomes Executive Director

2002 - Dining Center opens

2004 - Jackie Dodson  becomes Camp Manager

2006 - Canteen building is remodeled

2008 - Neal & Katie Jordan become Co-Camp Directors

- 9 hole Disc Golf installed

- Archery added to summer camp

- 690 summer campers

2010 - Joel Wilke becomes Camp Director

- 895 summer campers

2011 - Welcome Center opens - Bridges to the Future, $170,000

2012 - South Stone remodeled by VIM's into an apartment

- 1,012 summer campers

2013 - Sanctuary opens after successful $600,000 building campaign

 - Added Restrooms and Showers in Oxford

2014 - Director's kitchen Remodeled by VIM's

 - New Cardiac Hill road, improved access to Cement Factory and River

2015 - Rappelling and Rock Climbing offered at old rock quarry "Rock Wall"

 - Covered pavilion built for kitchen staff at dining hall

- Inspiration Lodge Campaign launces (remodeling of the old Dining Hall)

2016 - $550,000 renovation completed for Inspiration Lodge, funding from area churches and individuals, major contributor by the Robert and Gwen Tyler Charitable Foundation

- Outdoor Chapel - Made possible by the Brewer family in memory of Keaton Brewer

- 1200 campers attend summer camp

2017 - VIM's built 24 bunk beds in North Stone, Human Foosball, 9 square in the air and Hammock Villiage installed.  Carport built for Directors house by the Rush family volunteers.  Installed LED lighting and new carpet in N. Stone