The summer of 1976 was a rough one. Following the Akers “scandal” and early retirement, a lot of cuts were made at Boxwell. Electricity was pulled out of staff sites and so were hot water heaters everywhere except Murrey (they returned in 1977). The Ski Dock was closed. The camp season was shortened. A new Reservation Director, Tom Willhite, started.
Not surprisingly, a lot of returning staff were very unhappy with the changes. The final nail in the coffin for many came when they were told they would be charged room and board for the summer. To make a long story short, this was too much for several older staff. They walked on the first Sunday of the first week of camp.
Among those who “went on strike” that day were the program directors at both Stahlman and Parnell: Garland Russell and Steve Eubank. Rumor has it that Dutch Mann walked as well that day. All were teachers or principals. But after the dust settled and a few private conservations, it seems that only Garland Russell did not return later that same week.
Pictured here are Russell, Eubank, and Mann (with Bill Murphy smiling in the background) at the first staff reunion in 1983. It’s the only photo we have of these three together and one of only two of “Coach” Russell. Russell passed in 2011 and Mann in 2017.
The VirtualBoxwell Team is sad to announce the passing of Phyllis Finchum. Though we just discovered this news, Mrs. Finchum passed away on July 21, 2018. In addition to being the wife of Ranger Terry Finchum, Phyllis was an active part of the Boxwell Camp staff for a number of summers, serving at the kitchen director at Craig for several summers from 2004-2009. In her other life, she worked for as a nutrition manager for the Sumner County School System. Phyllis was 57 years old.
For the uninitiated, the two buildings between Stahlman Dining Hall and the OA Lodge are the cooks’ cabins. These buildings were part of the 1959 Capital Campaign and were ready to go when the new reservation opened in 1960.
The name tells you everything you need to know: these were the summer residences of the camp cooks. The two buildings signaled how different the “new” Boxwell would be from the “old,” when basically two men (and sometimes two women) did all the cooking for Boxwell. Now a small staff was needed! While there have been many residents and renovations over the years, the cabins started as these two small buildings.
Also of note are the two large trees to the of the photos. While both are gone now, there were several summers when special events were held here, such as steak (or barbeque chicken) dinners for the National Inspection teams or Scoutmasters.
And of course, in the foreground, is the original deck of the (Henry Fitts) OA Lodge.
Episode 2 showcases part of an October 2015 interview with Larry Green. Green has a LONG history Boxwell, dating all the way back to 1966. Not only was Green associated with the camp, but so were several members of his family. His brother, Punkin, and uncle Bill are mentioned here as well. Grady Eades and Russ Parham serve as interviewers for this segment about the farming operation at Boxwell.