From the Archives, January15, 2022

Parnell Dining Hall Under Construction

Boxwell at Old Hickory Lake opened for summer in 1960 on June 26, but it wasn’t finished. There was not administrative building (the Crab) in 1960 and some buildings were still in transition. Even building as important as a dining hall.

Shown here is the earliest known photo of Parnell Dining Hall. Taken either that first week or camp or soon after, the dining hall is clearly still under construction in this photo. While the details are difficult to see given the size, there are a few really interesting details here.

First, all the landscaping is clearly a recent construction site. Second, the door by the chimney appears to be a screen door, not the heavy solid door that came to be the side entrance. The third detail is the most interesting. Look closely at the side walls. A vertical steel beam is clearly visible near the front corner. If this looks odd, it should. Today it is covered with rock. Those rock facades have not yet been added.

Oh, and it looks like there is a sawhorse in the background, center left.

Parnell Dining Hall Under Construction
Parnell Dining Hall Under Construction, 1960.

From the Archives, January 9, 2022

“Here I Go!” Episode 1: Mapping Boxwell

Now that the Boxwell history book, For the Good of the Program, is complete, we have an opportunity to share some of our research. “Here I Go!” is a new video series to showcase some of the great stories we’ve collected over the years.

Episode 1, “Mapping Boxwell,” takes a story from Ward C. Akers, son of Council Executive Ward Akers. Father and son (and Rock Island Boxwell Camp Director and professional Scouter Richard Parker) took a walkabout on the property that WOULD BE Boxwell Reservation. Akers details that experience here. With the exception of the interviewer, Kerry Parker, all the individuals here have passed on.

This series is a bit of experiment. We will continue our regular posts and throw up a few more videos we want to preserve for posterity, but this idea seemed liked something you might enjoy. If you enjoyed the video and would like us to continue the series, please, make a comment. We want to know we’re putting something out there people want!

From the Archives, January 2, 2022

The Entrance Gateway

Currently, work is under way for a new gateway entrance into Boxwell. The designs have changed since the original concept, but the idea of a gateway that honors veterans remains. But this entrance gateway is not the first attempt at such an idea…

Seen here are blue prints for an Entrance Gateway designed by Burkhalter Hickerson and Associates. If you recall, this was the same company that did much of the early work on Boxwell Reservation. The gateway was to be made of stone with log gates. A bronze plaque could be found on the right of the gate. To the left and right of the gate were six foot wide recesses with wooden seats. The gateway would be approximately 10 feet tall and well over 50 feet long.

The blue prints lack a date, but we can make some assumptions. An early plan for the Reservation (1957) puts an “entrance gate” on the road just before the ranger’s residence. It seems likely these are plans for that location, but for whatever reason the gateway was never built. Sometimes that happens with capital campaigns…

Entrance Gateway Blueprints
Blueprints for an entrance gateway to Boxwell Reservation.

Website Updates: January 1, 2022

We’ve spent the last two weeks going through the website and making a variety of updates and changes. Almost every page either has a new edit, new content, new photos, or all of these.

Among the changes you should check out:
–New Staff photos and leadership updates for 2019-2021 on the Staff Page

–Photos from the 2021 Reunion on the Reunion page

–Updated maps and site location photos on the Camps page

–Revised content and new photos added to the Virtual Museum, including new CubWorld material

–Whole new pages added on the First Boxwells

–New link on the front page to buy copies of For the Good of the Program

–Updated copyright on every page to 2022

–Updated Banner image

More new material coming this as we celebrate 20 years of VirtualBoxwell! Below is the original photo for the new banner image. Photo by Ranger Steve Belew, January 30, 2010.

Merry Christmas 2021

As has become a tradition around here, we present you with Tom Willhite as Santa Claus. DE Buff Groth is asking for gifts!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Tom Willhite as Santa Claus at a Council Christmas party; 1980 Parnell Camp Director Buff Groth on his lap