“We Got There First”
The 1972 Capital Development Campaign sought to complete Ward Akers’ vision for Boxwell. Several records suggest that he had envision multiple camps on the backside of the Reservation property, but for several reasons, they just didn’t materialize. The 1972 campaign sought to complete that vision from 1959.
From here, Camp Craig emerged, a gift from Mrs. Edwin W. Craig. The campaign concluded in November 1972, having raised $4.3 million, which would fund a variety of projects beyond Craig, including a new service center, Grimes Canoe base, and improvements at Rock Island and the Narrows of the Harpeth. Construction on Craig began in 1973.
And thus, we come to the patch seen here. Many troops were anxious to be the first to use the new facilities, but none more so than Murfreesboro troops. This was the Heart of Tennessee district and they were going to be first. So, in 1973, troops from the district camped at Craig before the camp’s construction was even complete. The troop numbers are listed on the bouy in Craig basement.
All the troops that participated in that first campout at Camp Craig also received the patch seen here. A rarity to be sure…
The patch given to the first troops to camp at Camp Craig.
The Sterling Silver Tray presented to E. B. Stahlman at the conclusion of the 1959 Capital Campaign.
In 1959, Middle Tennessee Council embarked on a Capital Development Campaign to build a new Boxwell Reservation at Old Hickory Lake. The $800,000+ campaign ended up bringing in over $1 million. Co-owner of the _Nashville Banner_ E. B. Stahlman chaired the campaign.
Stahlman had been an active player in Scouting in middle Tennessee for some time; he had been especially active in the development of the fourth Boxwell. Indeed, Council President Charles Parish credited Stahlman with securing the Congressional act that gave the Council clear title to 525 acres that served as the core of the new camp. Without this title, construction could not have happened. From that point forward and for the next several years, Edward Bushrod Stahlman, Jr. was an indispensable partner in making the new Boxwell a reality.
On June 15, 1959, out on the property that would become Boxwell Reservation on Old Hickory Lake, the Council celebrated the end of a successful capital campaign. The purpose of the meeting was for Stahlman to present a final report of the campaign and present awards to campaign’s over achievers. Indeed, many were recognized that night, including the Banner itself for its support and coverage of the campaign as well as Justin “Jet” Potter, whose endowment fund gave a contribution amounting to 4% of the campaign’s goal.
However, at one point in the program, the current Council President F. Murray Acker took to the stage. In a surprise presentation, he presented Stahlman with the sterling silver tray seen here.
The tray is engraved with the following, “TO Edward B. Stahlman, Jr., In Appreciation For Distinguished Leadership. Boxwell Reservation, 1959.” As Murrey stated, “No man in this council has worked more unselfishly or deserves this recognition more than does our general chairman, E. B. Stahlman.”
One of the questions that comes up periodically is how did the sites at Boxwell get their names? There isn’t always a good answer to this question as sometimes a site gets its name simply because a staff member thinks “x name” sounds great. Sometimes it really is that simple.
Other times though the story is more complex and more interesting. Seen here is Stahlman waterfront’s buddy board in 1970. As you can see, instead of listing the sites by number (as is the case today), the sites are identified by their site name. While certainly not true of all, many of these names are direct carry-overs from the Rock Island Boxwell.
For most of its run, Rock Island Boxwell had six sites, adding 2 more at the very end for a total of eight. The story goes that because Rock Island had a strong Cherokee connection. Camp legend maintained that the Trail of Tears crossed through the property in the 1830s and that the last battle between Natives (Cherokee as it turned out) and white men (from Sumner County no less) was fought here. Because of this connection, the sites were named after either Cherokee chiefs or were Cherokee related.
Among the sites at Rock Island: Sleeping Rabbit, Black Fox, Bushy Head, Cherokee Village, Wanuke, Thee-nah-teehee, Oo-la-sa-la-na, and Witha-la-coochie. Do any of these names look similar to those on the board?
Camp Stahlman buddy board with site names on it. Collection of Chris Eckert, 1970.