The Virtual Museum

1959 Capital Campaign

Beginning with a lease for permanent use from the U.S. Congress, Middle Tennessee Council spent much of the 1950s securing land for the new camp by either leasing the land or entering into options to buy. The grant from Congress had secured 528 acres in 1957, by which point the Council had already purchased 113 acres in access. Additionally, the Council negotiated a 50-year lease on 115 acres from the Corps of Engineers. An additional Corps arrangement was worked out for another 112 acres in 1963. In 1962, the Council purchased another 190 outright and in 1965, bought another 75 acres, bringing the reservation's total to 1,133 acres. (The Council purchased another 49 acres in 1996 for a total of 1,182 acres).

With these lands secured, E. B. Stahlman, Jr., was able to declare, "We have the boys, we have the land; the responsibility is ours." It was with these words that Boxwell Capital Development Campaign began in January 1959. As explained by Wilbur F. Creighton, Jr., in Boys Will Be Men, "The estimated initial cost of building the project was $900,000, a figure six times greater than any previous amount raised for scouting in Middle Tennessee..." (146). But what was this $900,000 campaign going to build?

To promote the development of the new camp, the Council published a 16-page booklet--"High Adventure for Middle Tennessee Boys: Boxwell Reservation Development Fund"--that outlined the vision for the new camp.

One of the most interesting and important aspects of this Development Fund booklet were the artist renditions of what the buildings at Boxwell would look like. To the right are samples of the buildings as presented in the Campaign Fund booklet.

The Boxwell Development Fund Campaign ended up being wildly successful. By May 1959, the $900,000 goal was almost attained. The Council held a fundraiser banquet at the Maxwell House on May 15th and at this event, Stahlman was able to officially announce that the goal had not been reached, but exceeded. Final estimates put the total over $1 million--not a small amount by 1959 standards!

And, as the Campaign Fund booklet promised, the names of the contributors to this campaign hang on the wall of Stahlman Dining Hall to this day--The Wall of Honor.

With the money now ready, the Council moved quickly to being building the new Boxwell. Obviously, some of the plans as outlined in the Development Fund booklet didn't quite play out as planned. The chief architect for the project was Faulkner Hickerson, who worked for the main firm for the project, Brush, Hutchinson & Gwinn. Hickerson was also the Scoutmaster of Troop 99.

As construction began, great legends were born. One story passed down through the years is the story of Ward Akers himself walking in front of the bull dozer, pointing out which trees he wanted to stay and which had to go. His goal was to maintain the integrity of the camp and its wilderness.

The other story involved the naming of the Cripple Crab. The building's design was so unusual that Hickerson had to have a model on site. Upon completion, E. B. Stahlman, Jr., said the building looked like a "cippled crab," while Wilbur F. Creighton thought the building resembled, to be polite, a sexually-excited turtle.

The reservation retained the name of Boxwell, who died in 1960. Opening ceremonies for the new camp were held at Stahlman in July of 1960. Photos from the event are to the right.

Exhibit Images

Below are images related to this exhibit. Click for a larger version.

1959 Campaign Fund Booklet Gallery

artists_boxwell artists_chapel

artists_craft_shop artists_dining_hall

artists_health_lodge artists_OA_lodge

artists_scouters_cabin artists_staff_cabin

1960 Opening Ceremonies

the_big_four opening_ceremony1

opening_ceremony2 opening_ceremony3

opening_ceremony4 crab_construction

Important Personalities Gallery

leslie_boxwell wf_creighton

eb_stahlman rl_parnell

Parnell 1993 (2015)

Parnell 1993

Camp Murrey (2012)


The Staff Hat Project (2015)


Mapping Boxwell (2023)

Mapping Boxwell

Camp Cedar Valley (2012)

Camp Cedar Valley