Frederick L. Guggenheimer (“Chief”) founded Winnebago in 1919. Without a son to succeed him, Chief’s daughter and son-in-law recommended Howard (Uncle Howie) Lilienthal as a potential successor. Uncle Howie arrived at Winnebago in 1942 and worked on the staff until he purchased Winnebago upon Chief’s death in 1956. Howie’s son, Phil Lilienthal, became the director in 1974. In 2000, Phil’s son, Andy, began a three year-transition and assumed the directorship in 2003.
The site of Winnebago was the old Smiley farm, which had no buildings on it except a barn and an old farmhouse located near the camp entrance. The farmhouse was rebuilt in 1992. Chief and the local builders planned the layout and buildings, and virtually every year since 1974, Winnebago has seen important additions and improvements. Since its inception Winnebago has been considered by many to be among the outstanding boys’ camps in the country. It has established definite aims and ideals, and above all, an important reputation for sportsmanship and good manners, which is highly cherished and which we expect every camper and counselor to help maintain.
This PBS broadcast of The Maine Experience gives a nice insight and perspective into the history of camping and highlights Camp Winnebago from its beginnings to present day.