With all the rainfall we recently received, I’ve been hearing a lot about measurements taken at “Opid’s Camp.” I wasn’t familiar with the location, and so was naturally curious. Initial Googling proved less than productive, which only served to increase my interest. A bit of deeper digging brought me this:
Although it was long ago renamed Camp Hi Hill, meteorologists and nerdy types interested in rainfall tallies still refer to it as Opid’s Camp. The site is extremely interesting to them because it generally gets three times as much precipitation as the basin, numbers measured by a rain gauge on site that’s maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Opid refers to John T. Opid, a young employee of the forest service who was fond of the site, which is perched 3,600 feet above Pasadena in the Los Angeles National Forrest, and which was then known as Stony Gulch.
With dreams of turning it into a forest retreat, he and his father, Ludwig, took out a forest service cabin lease on the location in 1911. In 1913, John married Eleanor Town, and the couple honeymooned at Opid’s Camp, but it wasn’t until 1914 that the first building–constructed of large cedar shakes cut in nearby canyons–went up.
In 1941 the camp it was purchased by the Campfire Girls organization and renamed Camp Singer; Six years later, in 1947, the Long Beach City Council bought it as part of a plan to expand the overnight camping program for youth in the LBUSD. The LBUSD 6th graders of 1947 submitted their ideas for a camp name as part of a contest, and Camp Hi Hill was born.
According to the Camp Hi Hill site, over 250,000 children have attended outdoor education programs there provided by the Long Beach Unified School District since the opening of Hi Hill Outdoor School in 1948.
So, now you know. Next time you hear someone refer to “Opid’s Camp,” you can roll your eyes and reply, “You mean Stony Gulch?”
Radicool photo from CaptainLoomis.org.