543 Waterford Road
Mrs. William Strong
Italia P. Tome
Italia and Georges Tomes came to Waterford around 1900 with friends from the Apollo singing club in Brooklyn New York. They traveled by train from New York to Portland, steamboat through the lakes and canals to Harrison, and finally, by stagecoach to Waterford. They stayed at the Lake House. The first house was built on the site in 1925 as a private girls' camp. A Handbook of Summer Camps: An Annual Survey, Volume 1 describes Camp Kokosing as shown. The Senior camp was what is now Camp Konewago and the Junior camp is what is currently known as Kokosing. Italia Tomes bought the Junior camp and ran it for 25 years.
In 1950 the cottages were converted to housekeeping cottages and made available to family members and friends. It continues in this manner to date. Two cottages have been added since 1925 and updates are continuous.
Six generations have owned the site and family traditions include marching the the Waterford 4th of July parade. When it was a girls' camp, the campers put on a show every summer to benefit the Daily Vacation Bible School for the Waterford Congregational Church. The shows alternated - one year a play in the Wilkins Community House and the next inviting the town to a water show on the camp lake shore. Kokosing has also been a regular participant in the annual Keoka sailing regatta.
Other Camp Kokosing memories include Sunday morning parades of campers all dressed in white walking into church. We sat on the side of the sanctuary while the Passaconay Boys, also dressed in white, sat on the other side. We also remember Senator Pike and his homemade ice cream and wonderful barn swing. There were picnics on Stones Cove beach and sleeping on the beach under the stars. We also remember water skiing with Stan Hamlin.
It is believed that Kokosing is Native American and means "Home of the Owls." The site is currently home to Keoka's American Bald Eagle nest.