From the Archives, January 23, 2022

The Narrows Waterfront

Camp Boxwell at the Narrows of the Harpeth (Boxwell No. 2) was a summer at a great location. An enormous ridge, the Narrows themselves, local caves and cemeteries, the Montgomery Bell mansion and Tunnel, and even Native American Mounds made the location a great adventure land for Scouting.

Without question, the most popular part of the Narrows Boxwell for the boys was the waterfront. With wooden steps coming out of the water to a platform that served as a dock, the Waterfront was the site for swimming and boating. There were free swims before breakfast, before lunch, and before dinner. Scouts rushed to the waterfront as soon as they arrived at camp. The last day of camp also involved an all afternoon long Water Carnival, filled with swimming and boating competitions.

Oh, and there were no showers at the Narrows until at least 1941, so Scouts bathed in the river too.

Seen here is the Narrows Waterfront in 1930, its first summer. To the left, up the river, were the Narrows and the Tunnel. Up the dock and straight back up the hill was the dining hall, the assembly area, and the camp itself. The caption with the photo stated, “SWIMMING HOLE AT SCOUT CAMP ON THE HARPETH RIVER. The swimming hole is conducted under strict rules passed by the Scout’s own council [of boys].”

Nashville Tennessean, February 8, 1931, Rotogravure section

Narrows Waterfront 1930
A photo of the Narrows Waterfront its first summer, 1930.

Finding the Staff Veterans

Hello all. The Council is working on putting together a list of veterans for the new Boxwell entrance gateway. We’d like to help by compiling a list of veterans who served on staff.

So, either send a list (virtual.boxwell@gmail.com) or make comments below. Name the veteran, what camp, and what branch. Years on staff or in service aren’t strictly necessary, but share them if you know. The veteran can be alive or deceased. Assume we have no names; in short, give us everyone you can think of!

Thanks for your help!

For more information please contact Linda Carter, Assoc Director of Development for the Middle Tennessee Council, at lcarter@mtcbsa.org.

Military
Camp Medic and Ranger Officer Thompson, Camp Stahlman, July 1960

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.