Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp was a camp for girls in East Hampton, New York. It opened in 1937 and closed in 1974.
Well, not quite. The name of the camp is, and always has been, “File Place Lodge.” Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp is a name invented by the US government many years ago. It was created because mapmakers needed a more descriptive name for their maps. This is the story of how the name came about.
United States Geological Survey and “Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp”
The US Geological Survey calls their catalog of place names the “Geographic Names Information System” (GNIS). It includes landmarks, campsites, and parks. One of the names they invented was “Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp”. The name was assigned many years ago by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
Our special little corner of Springs will be known forever on the Internet as Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp. You can why here, on the GNIS website. You can also see it in every USGS map. For example, the map from 1956 attached to this post.
Many companies have downloaded the GNIS catalog. They’ve written programs to generate millions of web pages using the data in the catalog. Because of their greed, we now have hundreds of web pages selling you stuff claiming to be near Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp. Never mind that many of these products and services are miles and miles away, or don’t exist at all. Some of them are just clickbait — enticements to fool you into clicking on them. You think you’re clicking on the thing you were searching for, but instead you are bombarded with junk advertisements.
In the past, these worthless pages drowned out searches for Fire Place Lodge. It used to be that this website was hard to find, unless you searched for “Fire Place Lodge” in double-quotes. This page may give this website a competitive edge over pages selling real estate near Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp.
An Attempted Solution
There had to be a solution to this. I tried getting in contact the GNIS a few years ago. Would they please fix it? After all, there is no such place as Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp anymore. Could they rename it to “Fireplace”? I chose “Fireplace” because that’s been the name of the area since 1700. The emails went back and forth for a while. Finally, after a few months, I was told they couldn’t actually remove it, or rename it. Instead, they designated it as a historical site. They decided to call it “Fireplace Lodge Girls Camp (Historical)”.
They added some history based on information I gave them. Unfortunately they got it wrong. I gave up.
FPL is not alone in this. Take Camp Blue Bay, for example. It’s a couple of miles away from Fireplace on Flaggy Hole Road. GNIS called it “Blue Bay Girl Scout Camp”. Its correct name is “Camp Blue Bay”. It always has been.