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Century-old picnic table returned to Camp Cajon site

A 100-year-old concrete picnic table that once stood at Camp Cajon, a former Route 66 rest stop in Southern California, was returned to the site last month.

According to an article in the San Bernardino County Sun, the table stood for 80 years at Lytle Creek Park in San Bernardino.

It also had this history of Camp Cajon and the table:

Camp Cajon opened July 4, 1919, to serve as a welcoming rest stop for weary motorists entering Southern California on National Old Trails Road, the nation’s first “Ocean-to-Ocean Highway.” National Old Trails Road became Route 66 in 1926, and the road passed directly through Camp Cajon.
Camp Cajon’s picnic tables were the brainchild of the camp’s founder, William M. Bristol, of Highland. Bristol came up with the idea to solicit donations to build sturdy, over-sized concrete tables that would withstand time and the elements.
Donors could fund the addition of a table to the camp by paying $50. The donation entitled them to have a cast iron plaque inscribed with brief text of their choosing, permanently inlaid on one of the concrete tables.
The circular tabletop and pedestal were cast as a single, solid concrete unit weighing 1,700 pounds. The four separate rectangular benches were also solid concrete, and they weighed 700 pounds each. The table and benches were all set in a concrete foundation. The design became known as a “Camp Cajon-style table” and it was copied for other parks in Southern California, Michigan, and Texas.

The Camp Cajon page on Facebook posted numerous photos of the move and installation:

A flash flood destroyed Camp Cajon in 1938, and it never was rebuilt. However, dozens of the surviving picnic tables were relocated to two San Bernardino parks. The Camp Cajon crew two years ago did an inventory of the surviving tables and identified one they wanted to move. The San Bernardino Parks Department green-lighted the table’s move.

As you might imagine, relocating a very heavy relic to the new Camp Cajon site at the end of Wagon Train Road, south of Highway 138 and just east of Interstate 15, wasn’t easy. Volunteers from the Camp Cajon Team and Brown’s Backhoe Service of Phelan, California, completed the task.

The CBS affiliate in Los Angeles produced a brief segment about the table:

A new Camp Cajon monument was dedicated near the site of the former camp on July 4, 2019, which was the 100th anniversary of the camp’s opening.

(Image of the Camp Cajon picnic table installation via the Cajon Cajon Facebook page)

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