The Nashville Council Forms
For those who don’t know, this year is the centennial of the Middle Tennessee Council. Technically, the current Middle Tennessee Council is the second council to bear this name (the other collapsed in 1930) and wasn’t organized until 1948, but let’s not quibble. Today’s Middle Tennessee Council is a direct outgrowth of the Nashville Council, which was formed in March of 1920.
While the Council has its own Centennial celebrations planned (which you can view here: https://www.mtcbsa.org/anniversary), we felt like we needed to do something as well. So, over the next several months we’ll be adding an additional regular post. Sundays will still be our “From the Archives” post on Boxwell, but Wednesdays will be a special “Council Centennial” post dealing with the Council’s history. Our goal is to walk you through highlights of the Council’s history by decade. We’ll pause these postings when summer camp is going on for our “Remembering the Staffs” series, but the rest of the year will be include these specialized posts. We’ll focus on both events and individuals.
So, the logical place to begin is with the formation of the Nashville council in Nashville Council. Seen here is an advertisement from Sunday, March 7, 1920 in the Nashville Tennessean. The Nashville Rotary Club was launching a campaign to raise $15,000 to start a council. The money would be used for several things, specifically “to employ a high-class man who will give his whole time to [the council’s] direction; enable us to establish a summer camp; maintain local headquarters; train volunteers leaders; and other essentials to a properly supervised Scout program, which should enroll 1,500 to 2,000 Scouts and influence 2,000 other boys.” And, should you question why such a program was necessary, remember, “The Boy Scout whom you meet on the street, or who lives next door, is being trained in patriotism and citizenship. He will never become a Bolshevist.”
Major E. B. Stahlman, grandfather of the camp namesake, had this to say about Scouting: “I believe in the Boy Scout Movement. The purpose of this organization, as I understand it, is to direct the energies of our boys along useful lines and thereby save them from evil and criminal tendencies. The Boy Scout is trained along religious and moral lines, is taught the duties of citizenship and to lend a helping hand to those needing assistance. He is also trained physically and mentally and kept as far as possible under good influences. Such a movement cannot but have a good effect upon the boys of any community.”
Among those involved at this stage were Edgar M. Foster of Foster & Creighton, Leslie G. Boxwell, William J. Anderson, And Dan E. McGugin. More on some of these individuals as we move forward.
“$15,000 for Nashville Boys”
Nashville Tennessean, Sunday, March 7, 1920, page 4