Campfires and camping began to gain popularity in the United States and around the world following the Industrial Revolution at the beginning of the 1900s. Cities were growing and the workforce was changing, limiting the time people could spend outdoors. The desire to reconnect with nature and to a simpler way of life began to grow. Travel became easier with the birth of the automobile and in the United States, national parks were being established across the country. For the first time, the average American had access to view first hand, from coast to coast, the scope of beauty of this great country.
The very first national park, Yellowstone National Park, was signed into creation by Ulysses’s Grant in 1872. Not long after, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park in California were created. This very week, 104 years ago, on August 25, 1916 the National Parks Service was officially created as a federal bureau by Woodrow Wilson.
International scouting organizations began to be formed around 1909. Boy Scouts of America was created in 1910 and Girl Scouts of America was created in 1912. Scouting organizations were formed in hopes that the younger generations would not loose the love of the outdoors with all technological progress happening throughout the world.
As more and more families and youth groups began to camp out. Campfire traditions began to grow. One of the most iconic traditions became cooking food over the fire.
Marshmallows were one of the first products marketed for cooking over campfires. Not long after, the Girl Scouts of America were credited for creating S’mores, with the first written recipe appearing in scouting guide books in 1927. Americans love S’mores. In the United Kingdom, it is not uncommon to roast sliced sheep cheese over a campfire. In Australia, Damper, a soda bread, is wrapped around a stick and roasted.
Other campfire traditions include telling of ghost stories and singing around a campfire, with both traditions popular throughout the world.
What are your favorite campfire traditions? What are your favorite campfire songs?