Open House

Go Camp Casey

By Richard 30 May, 2017

Seattle Pacific University invites the public to visit the Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island, a historic military fort built at the turn of the 20th century, during their open house on Friday, June 16, 12-4 p.m.

The open house at Camp Casey will feature:

·        Guided tour of the Colonel’s House, which is used predominately as a retreat space for SPU leadership and special groups. The tour begins with a historical talk by SPU Professor of History Bill Woodward, and Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion member Steve Kobylk will lead the tour.  (Tours are at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.)

·        Tour of the Fort Casey Inn, a row of cottages formerly used as officer’s housing just before World War I. Rooms at the inn are now available for rent.

·        Admission to the “Sea Lab,” a marine biology teaching facility.

·        Tours of the barracks and mess hall.

·        Free admission to the swimming pool during the open house.

The Fort Casey State Park, adjacent to Camp Casey, will offer guided tours of the fort at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The Admiralty Head Lighthouse located in the park will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Camp Casey, originally known as Fort Casey, opened in 1890 by the U.S. military. Fort Casey, along with Fort Worden in Port Townsend and Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, became part of the “triangle of fire” to protect the entrance to Puget Sound. Within 20 years, Fort Casey was the fourth largest military post in Washington state, housing ten officers and 428 enlisted men.

Fort Casey was decommissioned after World War II, and SPU purchased the property in 1956. The buildings have been updated and renovated to house school groups, churches, nonprofit organizations, and outdoor education classes.

By Richard 24 May, 2016

The public is invited to see inside many of the buildings at Seattle Pacific University’s Camp Casey Conference Center on Friday, June 17, 12-4 p.m. Visitors will get a rare chance to have historians lead them on guided tours of the Colonel’s House and enjoy a talk by an SPU history professor on the origin of seacoast forts. The house is primarily utilized for retreat space for SPU leadership and for special groups.

Tours of the Colonel’s House will begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Also included are tours of the various barracks and mess hall. Guests can get a glimpse of the Sea Lab with Camp Casey naturalists. There will also be free admission to the outdoor pool as well as complimentary snacks.

SPU Professor of History Bill Woodward will give a lecture titled “ Fort Casey: Doing Homeland Defense the Old-Fashioned Way, ” at 2 p.m. in Auditorium A.

Tours of Fort Casey State Park and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, adjacent to Camp Casey and owned by Washington State Parks, are scheduled at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m respectively.

Camp Casey, formerly known as “Fort Casey,” opened in 1890 by the U.S. military. Fort Casey along with Fort Worden and Fort Flagler became part of what was known as the “triangle of fire,” created to protect the entrance of Puget Sound. Over the course of 20 years, Fort Casey became the fourth largest military post in Washington State until its decommissioning in the 1950s. SPU purchased the property in 1956 and hosts various churches, schools, nonprofit organizations, and outdoor education classes.

For more information call 866-661-6604.

By Richard 17 May, 2016
Long nagged by memories of the only successful attack on our nation’s capital before 9/11/01, the British invasion of 1814, advocates for “homeland security” in the 1860s and 1870s turned to massive coast guns to protect the three American coasts. One of the first installations came at the mouth of the Columbia River; within a generation, Puget Sound had its own defenses. Now quaint state parks, these artifacts of a past obsession with “Never again!” raise fascinating questions about threats both imagined and real, and responses both psychological and tangible.  

William Woodward, Ph.D., will tell the tale of these silent sentinels as a virtual tour on June 17, 2016, 2pm, in Auditorium A, Camp Casey Conference Center. What unfolds will be the story both of America’s changing engagement with the world and its reliance on new technologies to “guarantee” security. Who knew that the massive disappearing guns at Fort Casey would lead to the electronic computer, or that inadequate manpower in the active Army would require augmentation by local reserve and National Guard units, leading to today’s “Total Force”?

This 'talk' is part of the Camp Casey Open House .  William Woodward, Ph.D., is Professor of History at Seattle Pacific University.
By Richard 29 Jul, 2015

At Camp Casey’s annual Open House held this past June, attendees were fortunate enough to get an opening lecture from Dr. Bill Woodward. Dr. Woodward earned his PhD in American Diplomatic History from Georgetown and is a long time Professor of History at SPU. Specializing in the history of the Pacific Northwest (especially military history) makes him uniquely suited for providing both an entertaining and educational presentation.

Once a year Camp Casey opens its door to the general public. Visitors don’t normally have access to the Colonel’s house, but today were permitted to wander through the house and several of the historic buildings. Facilities open included a number of the barracks and a mess hall and the Sea Lab. The Sea Lab is a marine biology teaching center normally only available to school groups.

As Dr. Woodward coaxed us to join him on the front lawn of the Colonel’s house, he asked us to look out across the water and imagine how and why Ft. Casey was built. He walked us through time from the 1730s when clans of docile native people lived here and then moved us forward 40 years when tribal leaders became concerned about how to protect themselves from the Haida tribe of warriors.  He then asked us to imagine the 1790s when Vancouver discovers “Protection Island.” From there he jumped coasts to what he described as George Washington‘s foray into national security (our first Homeland Security efforts). The results of Washington's plans where a series of sea coastal fortifications being established. Lastly he advanced us to the 1860s where new settlements between California and the NW needed harbor defenses to protect against threats of invasion and succession from the Union.

Camp Casey, originally known as Fort Casey, opened in 1890 by the U.S. Military.   By 1903 there are 3 forts including Fort Worden and Fort Flagler built with “disappearing gun emplacements” protecting the Puget Sound from potential warships. This created what became part of the “triangle of fire.”  By the 1910s these emplacements are all but obsolete. Casey then becomes a training base during WWI. Later in the 40s, with the threat of the Japanese, we find a new flurry of activity before its final closure after World War II.

As we moved up the steps to this grand Colonial Revival home constructed in 1904, Electrical Sergeant First Class, Steven Kobylk, was introduced as our house tour guide. He is dressed in a 1902 full dress uniform. His knowledge of the former Fort and the construction of the buildings (both those that have long since been torn down as well as the current architecture) makes standing in the hot sun worth the time. As we moved through the rooms, he points out the moldings and flooring (all of which were sourced from manufacturers in the Puget Sound area). He described the use of each of the rooms, including the front Master Bedroom at the top of the steps that was exclusively used by the Colonel. It was custom that the spouse would sleep in the 2nd   Master bedroom. As a special personal touch, SFC Kobylk shared his collection of medals, patches and badges used at the time, as well as his father’s military hat and a prized sword.   Adding to the military history, he pointed out the use of phones in the library – one for fire control and the 2nd   for the duty office.

It’s an afternoon well spent - experiencing the rich history of Ft. Casey and being able to share and walk the grounds of SPU’s Camp Casey.   Watch for it next year!

By Richard 03 Jun, 2015

Have you wanted to explore what once was Washington's fourth largest military post? The public is invited to see inside many of the buildings at Seattle Pacific University's Camp Casey Conference Center on Friday June 19, 12-4 p.m. Visitors will get a rare chance to have historians lead them on guided, scheduled tours of the Colonel's House at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The house is predominantly utilized for retreat space for SPU Leadership and for special groups.

Tours of the various barracks and the mess hall will be featured. Guests can get a glimpse of the "Sea Lab," with Camp Casey naturalists. There will be free admission to the outdoor pool and complimentary snacks.

New this year is the "Surplus Sale," which will feature various Casey treasures including vintage furniture, World War II lockers, and other items. The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tours of Fort Casey State Park and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, adjacent to Camp Casey and owned by Washington State Parks, are scheduled at 1 and 2:30 p.m.

Camp Casey, formerly known as "Fort Casey," opened in 1890 by the U.S. military. Fort Casey along with Fort Worden and Fort Flagler became part of what was known as the "triangle of fire," created to protect the entrance of Puget Sound. Over the course of 20 years, Fort Casey became the fourth largest military post in Washington State until its decommissioning in the 1950s.  SPU purchased the property in 1956 and hosts various churches, nonprofit organizations, and outdoor education classes.

For more information, visit   www.spu.edu/depts/casey   or call 866-661-6604.

By Richard 30 May, 2014

Join us at Camp Casey Conference Center for our second annual Open House event. This is a special time of year when we invite the public to tour our facilities and participate in some of the fun activities we usually provide only to guests. The Open House will take place on Friday, June 13, 2014 from 12pm to 4pm.

“It gives the public an opportunity to come in and see buildings that they drive by often, but never have an invitation to visit,” Robyn Myers, Manager of Conference Services for Camp Casey and Fort Casey Inn said. “This is that invitation!”

Visitors can tour the different types of barracks, enjoy cookies in the mess hall or take a guided tour of the Colonel’s House at 1 pm, 2 pm or 3 pm. The beach, playfield and gym will also be open for public enjoyment. Even more exciting is the seasonal opening of the Camp Casey swimming pool, with free swimming for everyone!

“We’ve been around since the 1950’s,” Myers said. “A lot of generations have cycled through here, so it’s neat for parents or grandparents to show their kids the grounds they walked on.”

The rich history of the area always proves to be a big attraction. Fort Casey State Park will be hosting local historians for guided tours of the Fort and the Lighthouse.

“We’ve even had people who have come and visited who were stationed here, which has been pretty cool.” Myers said. “ I had a lady who was probably in her seventies come back, and she had a photo of herself as a toddler sitting on the steps of the Fort Casey Inn.”

Visitors are encouraged to check out the Camp Casey Sea Lab, which will be open to the public for the only time this year.

Parking is plentiful and Camp Casey can accommodate tour buses and large groups. Maps are available at the main office, so bring a picnic, your swimsuit and come ready to explore!

For more information about the facilities and programs available at Camp Casey Conference Center, log on to   www.gocampcasey.com.

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