The Virtual Museum

Camp Murrey

It's a world that doesn't exist anymore--literally. When Boxwell at Old Hickory was created in 1960, it consisted of two Boy Scout resident camps (Stahlman and Parnell), one wilderness camp (Light, including what is today Craig), and a family camp--Camp Murrey. Named after two Council treasurers, Ennis E. Murrey and his son, Ennis E. Murrey, Jr., Camp Murrey was different from the other camps at Boxwell, both then and now: a family camp.

A family camp is, in essence, a camp geared not toward Scouts or their leaders, but toward their families. In the early 1960s, it was still common for the father to be the only member of the family who worked. As a result, when a son went to Boxwell, that trip often became the family's summer vacation!

So, how did a family camp work? In many ways, Camp Murrey wasn't that different from the other camps. It had a central dining hall, much like Stahlman and Parnell. This dining hall lacked a working kitchen, so just like Parnell, food was trucked in to the dining hall and served in the dining area. Murrey also had a program staff. However, as the residents were not Scouts, the staff did not teach merit badges. Scout skills were still the focus though. Handicraft skills were taught (as seen in several of the thumbnails) as were swimming skills. Essentially, skills that were appropriate for Cub Scouts were often taught to the families. However, one of the principle differences at Murrey was that the staff taught to families--boys and girls of all ages. Further, many times the staff was augmented with wives of the Scouters who were in camp that week.

Of course, what made Murrey so fascinating was not just what happened there, but who stayed there. In addition to Scoutmasters and their wives, very often adult staff members would stay at Murrey. Among some of the important folks known to stay at Murrey were Chester LaFever (Stahlman Program Director), Jimmy Joe Jackson (Parnell Program Director), Steve Eubank (Parnell Program Director), James "Foxy" Johnson (Reservation Director), and, most importantly, their wives!

Women were actually quite important in Murrey's history. While some women were there for vacation, others were there to work. Judi Eubank for instance, stayed at Murrey in the 1970s, but she also served as Parnell's Kitchen Director. Elizabeth Jackson helped run the program at Murrey. Indeed, for many years, the program director at Murrey was a woman. In the 1960s, it was a woman by the name of Joan Hitt (later Joan Morsey). By the 1980s, it was Tom Willhite's daughter, Christy Willhite.

Part of what made Murrey interesting was watching these groups from different camps work together. While LaFever and Jackson might have provoked their respective staffs into some intense competition (mirror stealing from each other's showerhouses for instance), at night at Murrey, they got along as good friends.

By the 1970s, the staff family area at Murrey had developed into something called "the Hole." The Hole was a collection of four man tents that had electricity run to them (a feature that remained even after the rest of the staff lost electricty in 1976). Indeed, electricity was vital to Murrey as it allowed the camp to have the reservation's only working washers and dryers!

Murrey was really only viable as a family camp in its early years. In other words, the family camp worked well and had strong attendance throughout the 1960s. Not surprisingly, as more and more women began leaving the home and creating two income families in 1970s, Murrey suffered as a family camp. To help encourage attendance, the Council began to build permanent cabins at Murrey to replace some of the four-man tents. These made for a more comfortable stay as they used both air conditioning as well as indoor plumbing.

By the 1980s, it was clear that the family camp concept was on its way out. The cabins were more likely to be used by staff during Bull Crew than to get much use during the summer. Still, cabin reservations were included dutifully in every Leaders' Guide. Thus, a major part of the 1994 Captial Development Campaign was converting Camp Murrey into Cubworld. As Nashville's Gaylord was a major contributor to this new endeavor (rumors had his contribution as upwards of $500,000), the new camp became Gaylord Cubworld--a camp not dedicated to families, but to Cub Scouts.

Cubworld was the end of Camp Murrey. While the cabins stayed, the showerhouses were torn down and completely rebuilt. The four man platforms were all removed as was their access to electricity. The dining hall remained, but was completely renovated.

Perhaps the saddest part of this transition involved a portrait. In the transition t0 CubWorld, the Murrey portrait that hung in the dining hall was removed, stored in a closet, and forgotten as it deteriorated. Clearly the end of an era.

Exhibit Images

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

Camp Murrey Gallery

dining_hall1 dining_hall2

baskety handicraft_beads

handicraft_work murrey_waterfront

two_women murrey_waterfront2

murrey_beach murrey_campers

family_tent murrey_cabin

dining_hall3


Gaylord CubWorld Gallery

lancaster_pirate_ship new_pirate_ship

cub-a-lot_castle cubworld_fort

cubworld_showerhouse indian_mound

temple_mound lancaster_construction

renovated_dining_hall murrey_portrait


Camp Murrey, 1960-1995

35 Years of Family Camping

vb_logo

1959 Capital Campaign

1959_campaign

Parnell 1993

Parnell 1993

Permanent Exhibits

the_reservation