2014: The Year in Review
As we prepare to unveil some new changes at VirtualBoxwell, it seems like a good time to review the highlights of the year.
Obviously, the big event for former staff and for the VirtualBoxwell team was the 2014 Boxwell Staff Reunion. Here are the write-ups on the Reunion.
We started off the year with some really nice aerial photos of Boxwell. You can find the series starting here.
Sadly, 2014 also saw the passing of some of our Boxwell staff family: Morris Smiley in May, Tim Cooper in June, Al Hendrickson in July, and Mike Semich in October.
In the fall of this year, we also saw the departure of Hugh Travis for a council in California. While we haven’t heard much from him yet, Larry Brown is our new Council Executive.
VirtualBoxwell also hit the “big time” this year when one of photos was used by Wikimedia Commons!
And, of course, we posted many new photos from the Archives that we gathered from the Reunion. These photos showed us glimpses of the Linton Boxwell, the Rock Island Boxwell, the development of Akers Cabin, the Ski Dock in the 1970s, Brownsea in the 1990s, and also confirmed the “See Rock City” legend at Parnell!
It has been a big year! Thank you to everyone who participated in the Reunion and donated materials for the Archives. And a VERY SPECIAL thanks to all of those who helped make the 2014 Reunion possible!
See you in 2015!
J. Edgar Hoover’s Rifle Range
Early in Boxwell’s history, both the Stahlman and Parnell Rifle Ranges were named for J. Edgar Hoover. In short, the story here comes straight from _Boys Will Be Men_, though interestingly, only as a footnote! According to Creighton, “The rifle ranges were established by the _Nashville Banner_ with reward money the Federal Bureau of Investigation could not accept, and the ranges therefore were named in honor of J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the F.B.I.” (pg. 151).
The Stahlman Range was later renamed after James “Jimmy” Stevens, a Council President, and Parnell’s was renamed for Nathan Wall, a long-time Scouter. Parnell’s Range, now the site of the NRA Light Rifle program, is also unofficially (no plaque!) named for “Old Soldier” Pat Deugaw.
The photo below is something of a mystery. It shows the dedication of the J. Edgar Hoover ranges, but we don’t know what year, who took the photo, or who the people are! Nevertheless, it is an important part of Boxwell’s history.
Originally, Boxwell’s Rifle Ranges were named for J. Edgar Hoover! Sadly, we don’t know who any of these people are.
Here’s some news on Boxwell as Winter Camp approaches!
New pavement has been added to Craig Road. Not all of Craig Road mind you, but large sections from the High Adventure Area down to Duck Head. New drainage has been added as well. Not very flashy, but necessary maintenance.
In slightly more interesting news, we had a chance to take a look at the Activity Yard treehouse we posted about recently. As seen below, the twenty years since the treehouse has been built have not treated it well!
The other interesting phenomenon was in the area right behind Craig’s Green Bar area (there is a similar area in Stahlman as well). A large circle of trees had died. According to Ranger Steve Belew, the area (and the one at Stahlman) had been hit by a lightning strike a few years ago, which had essentially cooked the trees roots. Since that time, the trees had been dying and the rangers were now pushing them over to enlarge the space for something useful.
Both photos by Grady Eades.
Lightning hit this area behind the Craig Green Bar area (formerly the AY staff site). The trees have since died and are being cleared out by the rangers.
The remains of the treehouse built by the Craig AY Staff in 1994. It has seen better days in the last 20 years!
View from the Cripple Crab
Sometimes it is good to just remember the simple things… Seen here is a view of Boxwell from the Cripple Crab in 1970. As you look down the hill, you can clearly see the Pump House in the background (which was still working at this point in time).
What is interesting here is how much has changed between 1970 and now. Note that there are no flag poles (added by the Freemasons in 1981), no Weaver Amphitheater (added in 1985), no trees around the amphitheater (added in 1993), and no sound booth or lights (added in 1997). And let’s not even talk about how much the trees themselves have grown!
Of course, what is perhaps most interesting, though difficult to see, is Explorer Island. You can see the Island in the background, but note how small the growth is. Today, you can’t even see the field from the top of the hill!
The view from the “top of the hill” in 1970. You can clearly see the Pump House and Explorer Island from here. Photo by Chris “Kit” Eckert.
Camp Craig’s Second Treehouse
In 1994, Camp Craig’s Activity Yard Staff began a staff bonding project: A treehouse.
The treehouse was inspired by the original Activity Yard Treehouse, which was built in the 1980s. The original treehouse used actual tent-platforms hauled up in trees above the AY staff site. If you go to the back of the Green Bar Program Area, you can see some topped trees. These are the last remaining evidence of the original treehouse.
The second treehouse (pictured here) was built in the woods between the AY Staff site and Site Three. There were three platforms built of scrap wood, mostly from old tent platforms. As the story goes, this was just the start of this project. There were to be more platforms as well as bridges connecting them. Apparently, the idea was to build an AY equivalent of an “Ewok Village.”
Shown here are the remnants of the project. This is a poor combination of two photos showing the treehouse, taken in May 2003.
Here are the remaining pieces of the 1994 Activity Yard Staff’s treehouse.