The Shelby/Mansfield KOA was started in 1968 by Garry’s parents, Verne and Violet Cole, as the Wagon Wheel Campground. However, prior to the actual start of camping here in this beautiful, beech woods, Verne and Violet used to have visitors stay in the large farm house (where Verne grew up), located just across the field to the south of the campground. People would vacation here on the farm and help do the chores, such as feeding the livestock and riding the horses. Hence, the original business began as Farm Vacation.
Eventually, people wanted to bring their trailers and tents and stay back in the woods. Verne cut the roads out with a Farmall H tractor and his brush hog. Violet led the way in front of him by holding up a shovel to show him where to drive. Thus, many of the roads you drive on today were originally laid out back in the early 1970s.
Many of the campground buildings were constructed with telephone poles abandoned by the North Central Electric Cooperative when new power lines were installed. The present office was the summer house at Garry’s great aunt and uncle’s; it was moved down here by a flat bed trailer and then Verne and Violet built around it using more telephone poles. In this building they used to make apple butter in the fall, and do clothes washing in the summer; due to lack of air conditioning, they used to spend a lot of time here in the summer, and thus it was called a summer house. The Western Cabin was the old corn crib used at the farm, and Garry says he has shoveled a good many bushels of ear corn from it to feed the livestock. The Cottage was originally the post office for Chatfield, Ohio, located about 12 miles west of here.
In 1991, Verne and Violet decided to retire from the campground industry, after having met many new friends and having had a great time. We (Garry and Vicki Cole) purchased the campground immediately after that, deciding that this business could be fun and challenging. Vicki was a music teacher for 30 years (instrumental and vocal) and Garry had a consulting engineering firm doing water and wastewater engineering.
From the time we purchased the campground we have continually worked to improve it for today’s campers and equipment. A fishing lake was first added, followed by a heated swimming pool, hot tub, mini golf, banquet center and catering facilities, pull thru sites and patio sites. Cabins and lodges have been added for the camper who wants to camp, but does not have a camping unit. The Cabins range from Kamping Kabins to full service Lodges for your enjoyment.
Now, themed weekends are done to entertain the campers during the weekend. Plus, we do a multitude of activities for all ages that provide the opportunity for special fun for all. So when you visit our campground, you are enjoying a fun facility that has deep roots in history!