Cooperstown Bible Camp was originally founded because of a burden which the Saron Evangelical Free Church and its pastor, the Rev. Ludvig R. Lunde, had for sharing the good news of the Gospel with others whom the church members were not reaching through their church services. Having experienced the saving power of the Gospel in their midst, the members wanted to share it with others around them.
Rev. Lunde purchased a truck and had a body built suitable to carry and seat several people and a small organ. One side of the truck could be folded out and used as a platform, from which services were conducted in neighboring towns and farmsteads.
This venture led Pastor Lunde and the people to see the need for providing further Bible study, in order that people might be rooted and grounded in the Word.
In a subsequent trade, Rev. Lunde acquired a large tent, in which to hold public services. A small tract of land, used at that time for a picnic area by local groups, was purchased and became the present Bible camp property. In the spring of 1925, the planks from the local lumber yard were used for seats. Gasoline lanterns hung from the center tent-supporting poles. A smaller tent was erected where ice cream and pop were sold. With these preparations, the first Cooperstown Bible Camp service was held on June 21, 1925.
The first meeting was conducted with Gilbert Otteson as song leader and E.M. Anderson as the speaker, followed by Gustaf Johnson giving a study in Romans. Each successive year, services were held for one, two and three weeks. Some of the speakers who have graced camp grounds are: Oscar Lowry, H.A. Ironside, Dr. R.L. Moyer, Vance Havner, C.T. Dyrness, L.E. Maxwell, R.G. LeTourneau, Walter L. Wilson, Dr. William Pettingill, Dr. Norman B. Harrison and many others.
The tabernacle was begun in March of 1929 and dedicated in July of 1929. In the year of 1927, two cabins were built, with a few others being added from time to time. The first "inn," now replaced by the present lodge, was built in 1930. In 1939, the Pioneer Building was completed and ready for occupancy. The present lodge was constructed during the winter and spring of 1963-64, with the south wing being added in 1996.
Since these early beginnings, there have been several changes made in the types of buildings, programs and length of camping season. Through it all, there has been much sacrificial work done, as well as much sacrificial giving. It still exists and operates under these same conditions.
Although the original work of the camp was undertaken by the Saron Evangelical Free Church and its pastors, it soon expanded beyond the reach of one church. With the yearly growth of the camp, the Saron congregation felt it would be better to get more churches and people involved in the Bible camp work.
In 1956, after some negotiating, the Cooperstown Bible Camp Association was incorporated under the laws of North Dakota. A slate of officers was elected to serve as the camp board. There are 12 men and one woman who serve on this board and are the controlling body of the camp association, acting under its supervision.
A total of 37 Evangelical Free churches form the foundation of the association and actively supply the members to serve on the camp board. The pastors of these churches are actively involved in the camp program and growth.
The interesting stories and events that could be told about the camp are very numerous, and neither space nor time permit such reminiscing. That God has been at work in this camp is very evident. It is to Him that the glory belongs for what has been and continually is accomplished.