Charles Benner was a
barber in the small river town of Glassport outside of Pittsburgh,
while his wife Marie worked in administration in a Pittsburgh hospital.
On the weekends they would gather their friends, pack up their family and
tent and head to the mountains to go camping. Some of their best
memories were made sitting around a crackling campfire and making those
middle-of-the night bathroom treks.
In 1965, “Chuck” and Marie purchased 135 acres
of pristine property in
the remote village of Farmington with the dream of building a campground
for other families to enjoy and make memories with their families.
With the help of their son Terry, a few friends
and family members, they cleared trees and brush by hand to make the
first campsites. With hard work and perseverance they opened for the
first season in the summer of 1965. Chuck and Marie and their
6-year-old daughter stayed in a tent that summer and the office was in
an old garage, the only building on the grounds. It had a dirt floor
and Marie would sweep that dirt floor everyday. A restroom building was
built that summer, but the Benner’s would carry water in buckets from a
spring up a long hill through the woods to the office.
In the next few years, an open air pavilion was
built and the office was moved from the old garage to corner of the
pavilion. They now had a
wooden floor to sweep. Pinball machines were added to the pavilion and
the first gameroom was born … by the way, you could play pinball for 5
cents back in the day. Full hook-up sites were put in…24 of them.
A luxury trailer back then was 20 feet long. Flush
toilets and full hook-ups … Benner’s was ready for modern camping.
Next came a playground with monkey bars that were three-tiers high and a
swing set that could just about shoot you to the moon.
Chuck and his family enjoyed working the campground and
meeting people was the best part. People from all over
the world came to camp at Benner’s. Really, the first family from
across the ocean was from France and they came to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Fallingwater. The Benner’s took their picture. Yes, those were
Then came the late 60’s and early 70’s. The
hippie era was here and the barbershop was not the most popular place
to be since everyone had long hair. So in 1972, Chuck closed the
doors to the Glassport barbershop for the last time, Marie gave her 6 month
notice at the hospital, they sold their house, packed up all of their belongings
and headed to the mountains to make the campground their home. The next
summer brought bigger changes. Chuck wanted a new, state
of the art swimming pool. So he designed and built the big capsule-shaped
pool along with a wading pool for the kiddies that still causes a big splash
today at Benner’s.
Chuck went home to be with Lord in 1985, but
the Benner family continues the tradition of creating a great outdoor
experience and providing a place for your family to create wonderful
memories. Benner’s has continued to grow and now has about 200
sites, 7 full facility cabins, and 4 camping cabins called Benner Barns. A
camp store, finished game room, recreation hall, swimming pool, miniature
golf, volleyball, shuffleboard, playground, fishing ponds, and
activities for all ages are some of the things your family can enjoy at
Benner’s. Voted the area’s number one choice in camping 10 years
in row by the readers of the Herald Standard News, the Benner’s family and
staff will continually strive to bring the best service and hospitality
to you and your family now and in the camping seasons to come!
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1