In 1942 Mary Teel, a former school teacher from San Lorenzo, donated her house and property to the Oakland Area Council for use as an overnight camping area and training facility. The donation of the property also included the understanding that she would continue to live on the property until her death. Mary Teel was the niece of William Meek who at one time owned a large portion of land in San Lorenzo from Mission Blvd to Hesperian and from A Street to Lewelling Blvd. The Meek Estate, adjacent to Meekland blvd and next to the San Lorenzo creek was the home of William Meek and who the camp was named after.
The Camp Meek property was small and only consisted of four acres, two acres on either side of the San Lorenzo creek which bisected the camp. On the property a mammoth bay laurel tree shaded a large two-story house with eight rooms built from lumber that came around Cape Horn in the 1870’s. The property also included seven other small residences. The bay laurel tree was estimated to be about 1000 years old and 70 feet in circumference. The native California tree, which predated Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World, was designated by the University of California as the world's largest laurel tree. The tree still exists in 2009 but is currently surrounded by apartment buildings. In the base of the tree are entombed the cremated remains of Mary Teel’s mother and sister. The location of the Camp Meek property was directly across the street from the current site of San Lorenzo high school.
Mary Teel continued living on the property until 1945 when she passed away at the age of 87. During this time the camp was used for limited overnight camping and for training. However the council did construct some small buildings and upgraded the sanitary system. In 1949 the council built a nature center at Camp Meek to house the bird and animal collection that was previously located at Camp Dimond. This collection of animal specimens was from council naturalist BC Cain and had been located in the Bug House at Camp Dimond. The collection was moved to the nature center at Camp Meek in May of 1949 due to the permanent closing of Camp Dimond.
CAMP MEEK IS SOLD
During the years that the council owned the property it became evident that the best interest of the Boy Scouts would be served by ultimately disposing of this property and applying the proceeds to a permanent memorial to Miss Teel. In 1952 with the consent of her friends and family, the Camp Meek property was sold and the funds generated from the sale were used to build Teel Lodge at Rancho Los Mochos in 1953. A plaque above the fireplace in Teel Lodge at Los Mochos indicates that the lodge is dedicated to the memory of Mary Teel which was a direct result of the sale of Camp Meek.
The former site of Camp Meek in 2009 contains a burger shop, pizza parlor and apartment buildings. The contents of the Camp Meek nature center were moved to the Oakland Nature Center at Lake Merritt where the BC Cain collection has been displayed since 1953.