From the Archives, October 11, 2020

Snakes and the Narrows

Snakes are part of the experience of life at a summer camp. Some years more are seen than others. But no amount of snakes you’ve seen at Old Hickory Boxwell compares to snakes at the Narrows.

Snakes were all over the property and rattlesnakes were apparently quite common. One of the regular adult instructors was a reverend from Tracy City by the name of Alonzo C. Adamz (ca. 1895-1952). The man loved snakes. He conducted regular “snake hikes” to find the reptiles and was known to catch rattlers bare handed. He would collect venom for anti-venom, which would then be kept in one of the kitchen’s coolers.

Rattlesnakes were common enough that in 1938, in Camp Promotional materials Camp DIrector James Gribble promised “snake dinners” that summer. Cook Walter Whittaker was terrified of snakes, but he dutifully cooked the animals to that anyone who wanted a bite could try it. Summer camp was a different experience at the Narrows.

Seen here is a young Scout with a snake he captured, though not a rattler. In later years, a snake like this would be kept in the Con-Yard, perhaps for a Critter Crawl competition later in the week. At the Narrows, hanging out with a snake was just part of every day life. The photo was from The Bugle the Council’s newsletter.

A Scout with Snake, 1937
A Scout with a Snake at the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell, 1937

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