Pete's Tower is an iconic landmark at YMCA Camp Kern - a year-round go-to destination that provides beautiful views of the
Little Miami River valley from the top of the 40-foot steel tower. Constructed in 1954, it was the vision of G.A. 'Pete'
Doeller, who "pledged a tower from which camp visitors might better observe the wonders of nature."
As preparations for Camp Kern's 1985 75th Anniversary were underway in the early 1980's, Pete filled out an alumni card dated
April 12, 1983, listing his occupation at the time as "Retired? Eating and sleeping."
He passed away just a few months later at the age of 97
And though on the card he listed his associations with camp as "Camper, "Camp Committee", and "Doner [sic] of Tower @ Pete's Point",
his impact on camp and the lives of Dayton-area youth was so much more...
Godfrey Albert Doeller, II was born September 11, 1886 in Hamilton, Ohio. His father, a well-known successful
businessman who ran a drug store in Hamilton, tragically passed away in May, 1893 when 'Pete' was only six years old.
G.A. Doeller went on to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 1908 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering
By 1911 he was working with the Dayton Light & Power Co. A newspaper article highlighted a presentation he gave at a convention
of the Ohio Electric Light Association in July, 1911 entitled "Boulevard Lighting Systems"
In 1917 he married Cincinnati-native Aline
McGuire, who became a well-known local singer/soloist, performing at venues like the Dayton Art Institute with the Dayton Philharmonic
orchestra. Sadly she passed away from pneumonia in 1934 at age 37, leaving two children ages 12 and 8
A [letter] received in 1985 related to camp's 75th Anniversary included pictures that
Pete Doeller had taken of Camp Kern in 1923 - a couple of which were reprinted in the history section of the Spring 1985 Tower
Pete would have been nearly 37 years old that summer. A Men's Camp was held at
Camp Kern in 1923, and it's likely that Pete was a "camper" at this camp. We know that Pete signed up to attend the Men's Camp in 1925
[clipping] (along with Robert C. Neff).
Mr. Doellers's continued involvement with the the Dayton YMCA is documented as a member of the Boys Work Committee
in 1931, chaired at the time by Edward L. Kohnle
For several years starting in 1932 he chaired the Camping subcomittee
He continued on the Boys Work Committee for over 2 decades, including the transition year in 1957
when Camp Kern became its own branch of the Dayton YMCA and Mr. Doeller served as one of its original Board Members.
When Gene Sells was announced as the Camp Kern director in 1953, a newspaper article noted that
"Currently underway ... is the 'Pete's Point' project, a lookout spot financed by G.A. Doeller, to be used for vesper
services and devotional periods."
Finally, on August 17, 1954, a Lookout Tower on Pete's Point was erected, documented by the Dayton Daily News with
several photographs by Homer Hacker and a short article
A newspaper column in 1962 continued to refer to
the structure as the "Lookout Tower at Pete's Point" and not yet as "Pete's Tower"
'Pete' was a hiker, and he and his second wife Margaret were featured in a 1961 article as members of the Skyline Trail Hikers of the
Canadian Rockies. He was 75 years old at the time
We thank 'Pete' Doeller for his dedication to Dayton YMCA camping and his foresight in creating such a memorable destination that
has been and will be enjoyed by generations of Camp Kern visitors.