In 1894 the Vermont state legislature passed a bill to
authorize the purchase of land beside the Army’s "Fort Ethan Allen". In 1898 the
state began construction on their permanent campground beside Fort Ethan Allen near the rifle range
at the western end of the reservation. Seven cook-houses and a
storehouse were the first buildings constructed and water was brought in from the Fort.
The state was very pleased to have the
use of the Army’s Rifle Range and the advantage of having regular troops nearby
where the officers would be available to aid in training.
The site was
originally named Camp Olympia after Admiral Dewey’s flagship. Later the camp
was named after each serving Governor until 1945 when it was permanently named
12 Companies of the Vermont
National Guard left for Chickamauga on May 21, 1898 from Camp Olympia for
service in the Spanish American war.