We're extremely fortunate to have Ann Gourley Caffrey's contribution here on this website as it includes the only photographs, including a great aerial view taken in the late 1940's, that I've ever personally come across of the Richmond Camp. So many good folks lived in Richmond over the years but so few photos seem to appear of the camp. The detail of the aerial photo is really good, enabling a good view of all the buildings that made up the camp in those years. So Ann's contribution is most assuredly a valuable one.

The photos of the students taken in front of the first, original EBV school building are extremely interesting, and quite historical, as well.

So a debt of gratitude is certainly owed to Ann by all of us for having taken the time to send me her precious, irreplaceable photos so that they could be scanned, preserved, and shared with us here. Ann's bio, in her own words, follows:

1932-48: Born and raised in southern California. Moved to Maracaibo in 1946. My father, L.W. Gourley, had preceded us (mother Leta, brother Bill, and I) in 1945 to learn Spanish and Venezuelan labor law to prepare for his position as personnel manager for REXCO. My brother and I attended Bella Vista School, and in my freshman year of high school, I studied independently through the University of Nebraska Extension Program. Those three years were full of the joy that only Maracaibo oil brats can understand and share!

1948-55: We moved to New Orleans where my parents stayed for a short time in preparation for duties in Sumatra with Caltex Pacific; my brother went to Gulfport Military Academy in Mississippi and I to the McGehee School in New Orleans from which I graduated in 1951. A highlight of that period was summer in Singapore in 1950, where we lived at the storied Raffles Hotel. Can't afford to stay there now! I graduated from Whittier College in southern California in 1955.

1955-65: After graduation I worked at MGM, UCLA and Hughes Aircraft. Married John Caffrey, an educational psychologist, in 1957. Sons Ian and Evan were born in 1959 and 1960. Our lives pretty much centered in California, except for a stint at Harvard University.

1965-80: We relocated to Washington DC – an exciting cosmopolitan city! While a graduate student at the University of the District of Columbia, I worked as an intern at the Open University in England. In 1970 we traveled north to New York, where my husband was Vice President of Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY. I was employed as a reference librarian at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City. Meanwhile, our children were growing up-up-and-away to school, Navy, jobs, marriage.

1980-present: "Retirement" in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I again worked as a reference librarian, at Scottsdale Public Library. After the death of my husband in 1994, I moved to Morro Bay, California on the glorious Central Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“Life here has been punctuated with lengthy stays in Spain and travel to Morocco, Egypt; France, Hawaii, etc. Undoubtedly my life of travel is the result of my Venezuela experience! I also have enjoy visits with my granddaughters Emma (16) and Rachel (23) and friends from all over.

“For five years I have been working part-time as a tutor and notetaker at nearby Cuesta Community College, and as a fine-arts researcher for a local appraiser. Highlight of 2007 was a job researching Paderewski memorabilia collected by a local rancher who lives on one of the properties purchased by the pianist and statesman in 1914. Turns out that he was the first commercial grape grower in our (San Luis Obispo) county, essentially a pioneer vinyardist in this area.

“The future, I hope to re-visit Singapore and experience for the first time Australia and New Zealand. But I don’t have quite the old passion for travel, being somewhat daunted by the complications and hassles of air travel these days, and what it is becoming. Let’s face it, advanced age!”

 


 
 
A great aerial view of the Richmond Exploration Camp (REXCO), circa 1946-1948, with the Gourley house, Casa 11, circled.
 
View of Richmond Exploration Camp street, circa 1946-1948.
 
 
 
Street-level view of the Gourley home, Casa 11, at the camp, circa 1946-1948.
 
Creole Club pool area, circa 1946-1948.
 
 
 
“My father, L.U. Gourley, Richmond Exploration Company, circa 1946-1948.”
 
“My mother, Leta Gourley, circa 1946-1948.”
 
 
 

Ann Gourley Caffrey at the Creole Club, (or possibly the Bella Vista Club?), September 1946. “This photo of me with my beloved Coke and probably a copy of The Miami Herald was taken on a Wednesday afternoon after school when we assaulted the Creole Club (?) and devoured cheeseburgers and swam, awaiting the movie (held on Wednesday and Sunday nights).”

Note the slide in the background that allows the kids to slide directly into the pool. It appears to be a temporary setup for a special event as the top of the slide appears to be hooked to a wire, or rope, strung across the back of the pool. What appears to be some kind of a PA speaker is on a pole to the right of the slide.

It's not known what the occasion was when this photo was taken.

 
The old Escuela Bella Vista school building, 1946. Names of the students shown in this photo (not in order): Jackie Kemper, Jean Ward, Louise Van Dobben, Katherine Reynolds, Joy Mitchell, Odette Abati, & Mary Ealy.
 
 
 
The old Escuela Bella Vista school building, 1947. Students are unidentified.