Did You Know?
by Ken Carr
DID YOU KNOW...
...John H. Patterson is considered the father of Sales Education. The common thinking at the time was that men were born with or without the ability to sell. Mr. Patterson believed and later proved that salesmen are made through education. Much to the displeasure of the minor stock holder’s who were concerned by the cost to transport, to feed, to house and to train prospective salesmen; Mr. Patterson opened the first sales school in 1894. Classes were held on the Patterson homestead in a little house that became known as “the Cottage under the Elm.”
In 1903, while on a horseback ride over his property, Mr. Patterson stopped on a breeze swept hill which overlooked to the North both the NCR factory and the city of Dayton. Within 48 hours, the sales training school was moved into tents under the maple and elm trees on that 36 acre hill. Every spring the tents were hauled to site from winter storage at the factory and a sales school was erected. Every autumn the process was reversed. The school was known as the “the University under the Canvas, however, because the land had once contained a sugar maple camp, the school site officially became known as Sugar Camp.
In 1933, construction began on a permanent facility. When construction was complete in the Spring of 1934, there stood 50 cabins, a caretakers cottage, a dining hall, an octagonal recreation building, and two school room buildings, each with three air conditioned classrooms.. Yes, air conditioning in 1934. Each cabin housed four men. There was a two man bedroom on each side of the cabin with the closets, bathroom and shower in the center running from front to back. (One of the cabins is on display at Carillon Park in Dayton, OH). Administration buildings, an assembly hall, and 10 more cabins were added in 1936 to complete the facility as it stood through the 1960’s.
During World War II, Sugar Camp was given over to the US Navy for the housing of Waves who were stationed in Dayton to build components and to assemble the secret code breaking machine (The Bombe) in Building 26. Normal use of the facility resumed after the war ended.
With the removal of the 60 cabins and the majority of the other structures built in 1934, construction began on yet another new Sugar Camp. Four field stone building were erected. One building contained offices, a second housed 35 special audio visual equipped classrooms, the remaining two contained a demonstration room, an audio-visual center, a library, a 450 seat auditorium, a 450 seat dining room and a large reception area. The new 165,000 feet facility opened in 1970 as one of the most modern state of the art educational facilities in corporate America.
Over the years, Sugar Camp became the symbol of NCR’s corporate education and remained in use until the late 1990.s at which time it was phased out of every day use by the Company. The facility was offered for sale and in 2006 was purchased by a real estate development company who, working with the City of Oakwood, OH, will develop the property. Using existing buildings and new construction, preliminary plans are for single and multi family dwellings, some retail, a medical facility, and office space.
Soon, for the first time ever, the top of that breeze swept hill will be used for something other than corporate education and Sugar Camp as we know it will only exist in the minds of the thousands of NCR men and women who had the pleasure of attending a school or class at Sugar Camp.