Well before becoming a summer camp, Hidden Valley’s secluded 350+ acres supported family farms similar to those still common to northern New England. Old-timers passing through tell us stories about their childhood walks to and from school, picking up fresh milk on the front steps of our farmhouse on the way home.
Dean and Hal Tiffany, Camp Founders
At its height, this incarnation of Hidden Valley hosted 75 campers. In 1964, the Tiffanys decided to retire — the responsibilities of caring for such a "large" camp having caught up with them — and put the camp up for sale. They began to spend summers in a cottage which has since become the camp office.
The Jay Stager Years
To set the stage for the next phase of Hidden Valley history, we need to go back in time. Though most of the Tasker farm had been sold to the Tiffanys, a "small" (80 acre) piece remained with the Taskers until 1956 when they sold it to then HVC parents Jerome and Irene Cossman. The Cossmans converted this piece into their summer estate, building additional buildings, riding areas, and a swimming pool. When they retired in the late 80's they moved to "Deer Meadows," as they called it, full time.
Here Come Meg and Peter
Meanwhile, Peter and Meg met at nearby Med-O-Lark Camp which they directed from 1979 to '86. Married in 1985, the Kassens took over at Hidden Valley when Jay and his wife Karen retired. Later, HVC's neighbors the Cossmans decided to move closer to the Maine coast and Meg and Peter purchased the last of the Tasker farm, reuniting it with the rest of Hidden Valley and converting the Cossman's Deer Meadows estate to camper use.
In addition to shepherding the physical growth of the camp, Peter and Meg have expanded HVC’s commitment to the arts, introduced a host of staff training opportunities, developed and nurtured the camp's teen programs, broadened Hidden Valley's idea of diversity, and deepened the camp’s focus on cabin and community life.
Jay Stager passed away in 2016 after a career in which he revitalized and/or directed five Maine camps. After many years in nearby Lincolnville, Irene Cossman has moved to California. And the Tiffanys' ashes are scattered at the top of Tipi Hill near two Maine white pine trees.
Read All About It!
Consult these documents for more HVC history...
• Here's a letter from the folks who lived in the valley in the 40's before HVC was a camp. An amazing description of the challenges of rural life before modern conveniences arrived in this part of the world.
• Read the poem "Ledge Pond" inspired by our lake and published in 1971 in The New Yorker.
• Click the link for a historical surprise that you might recognize.