From the Archives, March 15, 2015

William Anderson

“Coach” William Anderson was Middle Tennessee Council’s first Council Scout Executive, back when Middle Tennessee Council was the Nashville Scout Council.  Anderson was a track and field coach with Vanderbilt University and, back in the early days of the Council, being Council Exec was only a part-time job!  Nevertheless, Anderson was responsible for the first two Boxwells: the first Camp Boxwell at Linton, TN and the second Camp Boxwell at Narrows of the Harpeth.

Boxwell at Linton opened in 1921, at a location described in _Boys Will Be Men_ as “about seventeen miles from Nashville on the Memphis to Bristol Highway, later numbered Hwy 100” (49).  L. G. Boxwell and his culvert company were responsible for making the location fit for camping.  Anderson himself oversaw the camp, a responsibility he continued for the next 27 years of his tenure as Council Exec.  Indeed, Anderson was so hands on that he “always rode in the truck” bringing Scouts to and from camp, meeting his secretary in Nashville to take care of requisite paperwork.   At the camp itself, the boys formed a council that actually made the rules governing the camp, though Anderson had veto power (_Boys Will Be Men_, 50-52). Much the same situation continued when Boxwell moved to the Narrows in 1930.

As for Anderson, his work was immense.  When he started as Council Exec, there were nine registered troops in the Nashville Council and only three were active (41).  By the time of Anderson’s retirement in 1947, he told the council in his last formal address that, “We have in middle Tennessee approximately 68,000 boys of cub and scout age under 21” (116). (Of course, it should be noted that one of Anderson’s track star proteges was James Stahlman, who founded _The Nashville Banner_.  It was Stahlman’s son who later goes on to chair the 1959 capital development campaign that creates the current Boxwell Reservation!)

The photo here is from the collection of Beverly Landstreet, Anderson’s son-in-law, who kept an extensive collection of articles both on and from Anderson.  Anderson died in 1963; Landstreet in October 2014.


William Anderson, Middle Tennessee Council’s first Council Executive.

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