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Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: Camp Joyzelle

For nearly forty years, Benton County’s Monte Ne was home to a summer camp for girls that coupled outdoor activities with dancing and dramatics.

Iris Armstrong, who ran a private dramatic academy in Little Rock, founded Camp Joyzelle in 1923 on a hundred acres of leased land around the Monte Ne train depot, which became the camp’s office. Catering to well-to-do families, Camp Joyzelle’s cabins were named for mythical goddesses such as Pandora and Daphne and the main lodge featured a handicrafts shop, library, art studio and theater.

Iris Armstrong taught drama while her sister Helen taught dance, with campers performing in gauzy Grecian robes. Campers could also swim, ride horses, play tennis and hike through the woods. While Camp Joyzelle survived the Great Depression and World War II, construction of Beaver Dam in 1960 led the Corps of Engineers to acquire parts of the camp that would be under Beaver Lake. The camp closed two years later.

To learn more, visit EncyclopediaOfArkansas.net.