From the Archives, October 28, 2018

Akers Lake Fish

We thought we’d go for something light-hearted this week. Back in 2001, Kerry Parker was trying securing an interview with the first ranger Coleman Wright. He was never able to get Wright to commit to a recording, but some phone conversations led to a couple of interesting stories, which Parker did record for posterity. This week, an interesting story about Akers Lake… and fish. Story by Kerry Parker, September 2, 2001. Edited for clarity.

Round about the time camp opened, when the Wrights first came to camp or some time at least in the early 60s, [Old Hickory Lake] had backed into Akers Lake. And somebody came up with the idea that they were going to stock Akers Lake with a particular kind of fish. I think bass and catfish is what the plan was. And, so they went down and took a chemical which removes oxygen from the water. Now he told me what that chemical was, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name [of] it.

And they went down, and if I understood it right, there was drums of this chemical. Of course Akers Lake is a big lake. And so they dumped this chemical into the water. Tom Parker was involved with this scheme to cleanse the lake of all the fish that were in it presently. And so they dump this chemical into the water, thinking that they would go down and pick these fish up. When they suffocated they’ll float to the top of the water of course.

Well, this got to be quite a debacle. They dumped the chemical into the lake. Fish started to die and come to the top. More and more and more of the fish died and came to the top. The last one to come up if I understood it right was a catfish…

And then he said it got so bad you could smell it all the way out to Highway 109. But of course as time went on, they deteriorated and the smell went away. I’m not sure exactly how long it took to do that. And, but he said there was dump truck loads of fish. I’m not sure how many of them they got out and tried to dispose of, but there was way more than they could handle.

And then they restocked the lake. And they restocked that lake with bass and catfish. And, so that’s an interesting little story.

Akers Lake

Akers Lake from Percy Dempsey Camporee Area, December 2015

From the Archives, October 21, 2018

Rock Island History

Obviously, as individuals interested in the history of Boxwell, we are interested in, odd as this sounds, the history of Boxwell. Since at least the 1950s, Boxwell has presented a history of itself in its Leaders’ Guides. This history has changed as the camp has changed.

This week we look at Rock Island’s history. There a couple of things to note here. First, note that even though this is the third Boxwell, there is no mention of the other two. The first 30 years of Boxwell might as well not have happened.

Second, note the efforts to create its own history. There are several items here: a buried Confederate treasure, a lodge that Andrew Jackson visited, a battle between white Tennesseans and Native Americans, part of the Trail of Tears, and a hanged horse theif. Some of this can be easily dismissed (the Trail of Tears was MILES from this site), but others are less clear. The Fielding Yost material is true.

Nevertheless, we see Boxwell trying to write a history for itself. It is a tradition that continues to this day…

Rock Island Legends

History of Boxwell, or, more specifically, legends of Rock Island!

From the Archives, October 14, 2018

Scenes from 1960s Boxwell

We thought we would revisit some old promotional films in the future. Promotional films put a great face on Boxwell, but the film itself doesn’t always stand the test of time. Color film in particular doesn’t always do so well.

Nevertheless, this week we’re looking at what we believe is probably the first promotional film of the Old Hickory Boxwell. The film was professionally done and gives a really superb view of camp in the mid-1960s. We’ve picked several frames to show you how Boxwell looked in earlier days!

Top Row, left: This is the view coming into camp. Today, you woudl recognize this stretch of road by the Grizzard Gateway on the right.
Top Row, right: Approaching the Cripple Crab.
Middle Row, left: Staff Member leaves the Crab to greet arriving Scouts. Yes, this is the Crab.
Middle Row, right: Looking down the hill toward the Pump House with Explorer Island in the background. Essentially behind the trees at the amphitheatre.
Bottom Row, left: From Stahlman parking lot, looking back up the road into camp. Road to kitchen on the left.
Bottom Row, right: Unloading gear at the site stakes at Stahlman; same location as today.

1967 promo film

Some frames from the the ca. 1967 Promotional film.

From the Archives, October 7, 2018

Council Professionals at the Crab

Seen here is one of those rare jewels that you run across every now and then. Not a whole lot of history to give here except that this is the Middle Tennessee Council Professional staff in the early 1960s.

If the photo looks familiar, it might be because you’ve seen a smaller version of it in Wilbur Creighton’s _Boys Will Be Men_. Creighton claims the photo was the 1963 staff, while the owner, Archie Crain, says 1960. We’re fairly certain the Crab wasn’t completed in 1960, so it is conceivably possible both men are wrong!

Nevertheless, according to Creighton, here are the names of the staff. Some should sound quite familar!

Kneeling, left to right: James Wright, Charles Biederman, Jim Johnson, Joe Gafford, Ward Akers, Richard Parks, Bill Jennings, Frank Lwrence, Bobby Chaffin, Ronnie Oakes.
Standing, left to right: Tom Atkinson, Cal Oravetz, Ralph Manus, All Wood, Bob HOlt, Ken Young, Archie Crain, Bruce Atkins, Bob Nash, unidentified, Don Coleman, John Scoble, Gene Hensley.

Professional staff

Middle Tennessee Council Professionals at the Cripple Crab, ca. 1963