The pioneers who arrived at the forested bay-front property in 1933
knew this place was distinguished, set apart somehow.
History of Beckwith
In 1932, heirs of the late Bishop C.M. Beckwith bequeathed a 40-acre tract of timbered land on Weeks Bay to the Diocese of Alabama. The property had been the bishop’s summer home, and it was the wish of the family that it might become useful for clergy conferences, youth retreats and parish recreation. Unfortunately, fire had destroyed all the buildings.
Under the leadership of Rev. J. Hodge Alves and his brother, Walter Alves, 23 boys from Mobile and around the state journeyed to the dense property for a 2-week experimental work camp. Sleeping in borrowed tents and working in extreme conditions, they cleared underbrush, built a log cabin, and improved the roads. “Pioneer Lodge” stood as a monument to this first group of intrepid pioneers for many years. At the conclusion of the fruitful, yet arduous two weeks, Reverend Alves stated, “We all feel that “Camp Beckwith” is a permanent feature of our Diocesan life.”
Herbert West, one of the original pioneer campers, summarized his two week experience, “Swimming, hiking, boating, studying nature, reading—these will attract some. A closer communion with their God will attract all.”
In harmony with its natural surroundings, Beckwith remains a place of refuge to this day.