Meadville KOA Campground is turning 40 this year! It’s expected to be another busy summer camping season for this hidden treasure in NW PA. The campground has a history of serving camping families and also has a rich area heritage that pre-dates it as a campground.
The McClemens family, who originally purchased the land from the Holland Land Company in 1893, built a homestead and barn here in 1914, in an area known at that time, as McClemen’s flats.
In 1945, the Roae family purchased the property and turned the farm into an auction barn and built ponds for a fish hatchery where they raised and sold flathead minnows for fishing in Pymatuning Lake. In 1978, they turned the auction barn and farm into Brookdale 1914 Campground, taking the name directly from the date on the old red barn and the brook that runs through the center of the property.
According to the current owners, Tim and Robyn Chilson, people still come in and talk about the big barn with roller skating in the top of it at the campground. The barn served as the main building complex for the campground until it burned down in 1984. The campers helped rebuild the main building, which serves the local community and campers with a convenience store. The main building also houses a rec. hall, game room, restrooms, showers, and laundry facility for the camper’s use.
In 1983, the campground had only 60 campsites. The Smorey family added another 100 plus sites to the campground prior to the Chilson family purchasing it in October of 1999.
The Chilsons have continued to expand the campground, adding ten additional 50 amp sites, 2 deluxe cabins, a camping cabin, a mini golf course, a jumping pillow, new playgrounds, and sewer service to all seasonal campsites and 23 additional overnight campsites, Wi-Fi, and cable TV to all full-hookup overnight and seasonal campsites!
In 2010, the Chilsons franchised with Kampgrounds of America, and joined North America’s largest and best known camping organization. KOA boasts almost 500 campgrounds across the United States and Canada. According to owner Tim Chilson, the campground infrastructure improvements are to continually improve the campground and to meet the ever-changing needs of the RVer. “As the technology changes and RVing changes, we have to expand our infrastructure not only to continue to meet our customers expectations, but to exceed them. We also need to maintain KOA quality standards which stays at the forefront of those RVer demands.”
Meadville KOA is rated in the top of campgrounds nationally. In addition, camper reviews have helped us achieve the KOA Founder’s and President’s Awards again for 2017-2018. “We’re already booking this year for many of our summer and holiday weekends. We have campers who stay with us every season who have their sites already reserved, and the phone is still ringing,” Chilson said.
In addition, Chilson added that their seasonal camper numbers are up, but they still have some availability for the 2018 camping season. “Seasonal campers,” Chilson explained, “are people who park their RV at the campground for the entire summer. As such, they can drive more economical vehicles to the campground instead of towing, and save money on fuel, and all the work of short term camping. They get the maximum use of their RV for minimal costs and less work.”
Meadville KOA is hosting a 40th Birthday Weekend on June 10 to celebrate the campground’s 40th year of operation! We’re inviting campers who’ve camped with us over the years to come and visit for the afternoon and take a stroll down memory lane with us! There will be photos from seasons gone by, cake, ice cream and some social time with our campers. They can visit with old friends and maybe make some new friends! “We’re not just celebrating our 40th anniversary one weekend,” Chilson said, “We’ll be celebrating it all summer long!”
The Chilson family hopes the business will continue to grow by introducing more people to the fun and family oriented events and activities they provide at the campground. “We continue do a host of fun events and activities every summer,” Chilson said.
Chilson added, “As an example, our campers continue to support us by inviting their friends to come try Meadville KOA. Friends and family are still our biggest source of new camper referrals, and has been for the 18 years we’ve owned the park. This year, on Oct 14 & 15, we have a customer appreciation weekend and BOGO. When an existing camper brings a new camping family with them, each family gets one night free when they buy a night. It’s a great way to introduce their friends to Meadville KOA and it’s a great way for us to thank them for doing that.”
Meadville KOA invites current and past campers to join them for this great celebration! The cake and ice cream will be Saturday afternoon at 2:00! We hope you’ll stop in, bring your old photos, and visit with old friends and maybe make some new friends.
Tim & Robyn Chilson CPOs, own and operate Meadville KOA Campground. Robyn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.