The Crab Rolled
On a property covered in iconic architecture, there is perhaps no building more instantly recognizable than the Crippled Crab. We’ve discussed before how the building got it’s name, but a slightly more interesting rabbit hole deals with pranks.
As we’ve discussed before, even in the modern day the Crippled Crab continues to be the site of some entertaining pranks. When bike riding staff members (nicknamed “Crabbies”) were regular at the Crab, practical jokes involving their bicycles were not uncommon. It’s hard to stop hazing when you have several hundred teens in one place for an extended period of time, even in the Boy Scouts.
We have almost no background on this photo. But truly, what do you need to know? This is the Crab rolled in toilet paper. You don’t see that every day.
The Crippled Crab rolled in toilet paper, early 1970s
As we celebrate Memorial Day weekend, it seemed like a good time to touch on a part of Boxwell’s history that is all but forgotten today: servicemen who served on camp staff.
From the opening of Boxwell at Old Hickory Lake all the way to the mid-1990s, the camp utilized enlisted men. Usually loaners from Fort Campbell, these men (and occasionally women in later years) served as either the medic or the ranger officer. In some years, there would be several GIs on reservation–ranger officers at Stahlman and Parnell/Craig and as Reservation medic, or before the Health Lodge as camp medics. These weren’t guaranteed every year, but they were present more often than not in some capacity.
And just so there is no question, these individuals were part of the staff. They lived with the staff, they did the work, they participated in pranks, the whole nine yards… though some with more enthusiasm than others. Still, they were a critical component of the camp staff and the Boxwell experience.
Here are two such men from July 1960. While the full names are unknown, the photo is labelled “Medic and Range Officer Thompson.” They appear to be taking a break on the beach at the Stahlman Waterfront, July 1960.
And so, here’s a salute to all those who served in the military and on our camp staff. Happy Memorial Day.
Camp Medic and Ranger Officer Thompson, Camp Stahlman, July 1960
View from the Crab, Version 2
Back in August 2017, we posted a photo as part of a “Boxwell Zen” series by Chris “Kit” Eckert, camp photographer in 1970. It was a view from the Cripple Crab down the hill. The “zen” aspect was the sunset and darkened exposure of the photography. Today we present a slightly different version of the photo.
As we all do sometimes, Eckert took several photos from the top of the hill that day in 1970. There are at least eight in the series from this particular vantage point, all with different exposures. There are a couple of others where it appeared Eckert climbed on top of the roof of the Crab and took a few shots. We say “appeared” because we know that no staff member would ever do such a thing…
Shown here is a considerably lighter exposure. You can see how much the landscape has changed in the fifty years since the photo was taken. Not only are there no amphitheatre, trees, or flagpoles, there is a clear and direct view straight down to the Pump House. Of course, that direct line makes sense when one considers that the Pump House was a working part of camp at the time and pumped water out of the lake, straight up the hill, and into the (now unused) Water Tower. The sunset though is much less powerful, demonstrating that how we take a photo is important to the story we want to tell.
View from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill, 1970
Greetings Boxwell Staff member,
As you may be aware, 2020 is the centennial of the Middle Tennessee Council. Next year, 2021, is the centennial of Boxwell. Events are being planned to commemorate both events.
Obviously, there will be a staff reunion in 2021. But there will also be a staff alumni event at the Council’s Centennial Jamboree. The goal of the Reunion Committee is to track down every single staff member who has served on Boxwell staff. And we need your help to do it.
Please follow the link below, which will give you a few more details and then send you to a Google document to update your contact information. With this information, we will be able to keep you up to date with these upcoming events as we are confident you will want to participate!
But more importantly, we share this link so that you can share it with your camp friends. Please, send this link to any and every camp staff member you know; ask them to do the same. Consider this the Boxwell Centennial Census and we need your help to complete it!
We’re looking forward to tracking everyone down and seeing you either this October, next summer, or both.
Please follow and forward this link: http://www.virtualboxwell.org/2021_staff_reunion.php
2021 Reunion Committee Chairman
COPE in the Age of Willhite
From today’s perspective, it is hard to imagine the financial difficulties facing camp after Ward Akers resigned. The camp shut down the Boat Harbor and the farm and moved Craig and Parnell to a rotation system, giving up the hope of running three camps at once. While a solid program existed, there wasn’t much to offer older Scouts. Rappelling was introduced in the late 1970s and then came COPE in 1983.
COPE was a godsend. It gave the program an added “older boy” dimension it needed. COPE also brought much needed positive publicity to the camp and the Council. Newspaper articles showed up regularly showcasing the program and it generally featured prominently in camp promotion videos of the 1980s and early 1990s. Today, COPE is hub of a High Adventure Program; 30 years ago it WAS the High Adventure program.
Seen here is part of the ropes course in 1991. On the left in the light blue shirt is John Hickman in his final year as COPE Director.
Director John Hickman on the ropes course in 1991