The Lindner Years
With the knowledge ascertained from earlier employment, in 1891, John Lindner began the Lindner Shoe Company of Carlisle, PA capitalized at $35,000. By 1904 the company was worth $200,000 with a gross income of over 1 million dollars. The company had also expanded to 500 employees. Mr. Lindner was very good to his employees and was concerned for their well being.
Mr. Linder purchased 200 acres northwest of Carlisle and named this summer estate Forest Hills. On this estate he built a summer home, many gardens, a golf course, caretakers home, and much of the remaining land was farmed. The higher elevation where the golf course is located was also called the Lindner Highlands. Sheep were used to “mow” the fairways. The Lindners hosted many parties and community social events at Forest Hills. At times the beautiful summer home and well kept grounds were used for Business meetings.
The Carlisle Indian School was taken over by the military and a hospital was constructed to house the infirmed from World War I. Mr.Lindner felt the need to bolster the morale of the injured military. He authorized Colonel Keefer to establish a summer encampment for Army convalescents. Here at Forest Hills, 70 – 100 patients at a time spent approximately two weeks at the Lindner estate before discharge. The patients were selected from those with good conduct records. Mr. Linder provided cabins, tents, food, and activities which included field days of sports with prizes provided.
The Lindner Shoe Company appeared on the scene like a meteor and rose to a million dollar concern in less than 15 years. As quickly as it rose…it fell. Mr. Lindner’s suceess declined through World War I and finally failed in 1920. Eventually the Lindner estate at Forest Hills went into the hands of the banks. The Lindner years had come to an end.
Locals have told us the golf course was opened to the public and kept operable by caretakers during the time the banks managed the property.
The Camp Shand Years
Due to financial difficulties accrued by the Lancaster Y, the Board of Trustees decided to sell the Camp Shand property. In November of 1983, the camp was sold to the Pennsyl- vania-Delaware District Council of the Assemblies of God. This closed the door on Camp Shand in Carlisle, but opened the door for the future of the Bongiorno Conference Center.
The Bongiorno Conference Center 1984-present
Below is a chronological listing of some of the improvements and facilities added over the years. The main ministry of BCC is to be a facilitator for both our denominational programs and outside guest groups. The golf course remains open to the public, however, all other facilities and grounds are for use by guests of BCC. God is so good!
1984 Lots of fixing & painting, held summer camps and some fall events. Began remodeling and winterizing of present Dining Hall and Main Dorm
1985 Dining Hall and Main Dorm completed in spring
1986 Entrance excavated to meet township requirements. Athletic field enlarged and softball field completed. Tennis & BB courts completed. Began major project.
1987 Conference Lodge, Multipurpose Bldg, and Open Dorm completed. Treatment plant/sewerage lines completed. We are now a year round facility!
1988 Duplexes, RV sites & RV bathhouse completed
1989 Dining Hall Annex and Family Suites completed
1990 Site amenities and improvements
1991 Fourplexes and new maintenance garage completed
1992 Pavilion completed
1993 David Center completed
1994-96 Site improvements, some remodeling, new staff home built
1997 Major pool renovation and new pool bathhouse
1998 The BCC water treatment system upgraded
1999 Motel/Lodge addition completed
2000 New staff home completed
2002 PennDel renamed the Philip Bongiorno Conference Center. RV site water treatment upgraded.
2004 Inflatables and climbing wall purchased. Pool slide ordered for 2005 installation.
2005 Complete kitchen and dining hall remodel with two additions, portico, and courtyard
2009 Suites and Hotel lobby updated
2009 Many of the existing buildings renamed
2011 Eagle Lodge lobby remodeled
2012 The road that winds through BCC is officially named Wessman Way in honor of our former Director, David Wessman – New playground equipment is added.
2013 Game Room and David Center Meeting Room updated
2014 Gym lobby updated
2014 & 2015 David Center Rooms updated
2015 Fourplex 603 renovation completed
2016 Fourplex 601 renovation completed
2017 Fourplex 602 renovation completed
2017 Spaceball climbing net added to playground
2018 Cabins 1 & 3 renovation completed
2018 Main Office renovation completed
2019 Cabins 2 & 4 renovation completed
2020 Fourplex Meeting Room A & B renovation completed
2020 Prayer walk added
2020 Archery Tag added as a recreation option
2021 Deck built at David Leadership Center
2021 Coming soon! (Disc Golf Course)