Camp 30 in Bowmanville were once beautiful prairie-style schools with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Today, they are a shattered empty fortress and the last intact POW camp in Canada. National Historic Site status was given to Camp 30 in April 2013. Camp 30 Foundation and its Clarington branch of The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario have been working tirelessly to preserve and protect the historic landmark despite the damage.
John H.H. Jury owned this property located on Lambs Road in Clarington. This prominent citizen of Bowmanville gifted the province the farmland of 300 acres that his family-owned. To treat juvenile delinquency, a boys’ reform school was established in August 1925.
A cafeteria was constructed to accommodate a maximum of 300 students, even though the school began with just 16 boys. The first lodge was built in 1925 to house the boys, the Jury house. A school operated at Camp 30 from 1925 to 1979, and the institution became co-ed in the 70s. The youth center closed after the Provincial government changed how they approach juvenile delinquency.
One of the earliest uses of steel I-beams in Ontario was Camp 30, which was constructed using steel I-beams. A prairie-style structure such as the jury house or cafeteria can be seen on campus. It was typically used at Camp 30 for public buildings since this style was primarily used for private residences in Canada.
An important characteristic of this style is its flat roofline, along with the use of geometric patterns, upper rows of windows, and ample natural light. It may appear as a two-story structure, but in reality, it has a single floor and the ceiling has been raised.
When Camp 30 was converted to POW camp in 1941-45, it had to accommodate 800 people even though it had been designed to accommodate 300. Dining halls were limited to the cafeteria. The cafeteria established a meal schedule that would include two sittings per meal throughout the day to cater to the prisoners.
Operation Kiebitz was the name of an elaborate escape attempt carried out by Otto Kretschmer and Wolfgang Heyda in 1943. In Camp 30’s triple barracks, a tunnel was dug out of the bottom and under Lambs Road, coming up on the other side of the road into a bush. The soil was piled up in the triple barracks’ roof but was kept by the prisoners tunnelling. This resulted in the roof collapsing and the guards finding out about the intricate plan.
Camp 30’s wooden barracks were deconstructed and disassembled following the end of the war and given to Veterans Avenue in Bowmanville, Canada to be used for housing.
Camp 30 remains abandoned today. While the area has been scavenged and graffiti has been found, the Camp 30 Foundation is working to prevent further damage from occurring. Foundation members are interested in adapting the space into a community centre or restaurant when funds are available.
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