From the Archives, August 28, 2022

Parnell Storage

Before it was the STEM Center, Parnell Dining Hall was a storage center. To be fair, Parnell Dining Hall was a dining hall that was used as a storage center during the off season. And what was stored there? Mostly cots and mattresses.

For a period early on, cots and mattresses were stored in the compound. After Willhite came on, this system began to change and cots and mattresses began to be stored in Parnell dining hall during the off season. Because the mattresses were cotton at this time, the dry, enclosed storage of Parnell dining hall made a lot more sense. Of course, when Craig and Parnell rotated, those mattresses were sometimes stored in Craig basement. Parnell as a storage center continued even after the mattresses moved to the foam variety.

This photo from ca. 2010 shows stacks of foam mattresses. Foam mattresses tended to slide. Cotton mattresses however, had no such problem and the stacks were consequently much higher. It was not unusual to have cotton mattress stacks reach all the way to the ceiling.

Mattress Storage
Foam Mattresses stored in Parnell dining hall during the off-season

From the Archives, August 21, 2022

Eagle Ceremony

Sometimes the stars align. Over the years, there have been many staff members who have earned the Eagle. There have been remarkably few though who have had the opportunity to have their Eagle awarded while at camp on staff.

The Azer brothers were part of the Stahlman staff in the early 2000s. One or the other or both were on staff from 1999 to 2005. Members of Troop 87 out of Belle Meade, the Azer brothers completed their requirements for Eagle while on camp staff. What better place to be awarded your Eagle than at Boxwell?

The ceremony took place in June 2004 at the amphitheatre. Shown here are the brothers Ebram and Mina Azer waiting for the festivities to begin as members of the troop look on.

Was your Eagle awarded at Boxwell? Let us know in the comments.

Azer Eagle Ceremony
Ebram and Mina Azer awaiting their Eagle Ceremony to begin at the amphitheatre, June 2004.

From the Archives, August 14, 2022


Something simple and iconic this week. Here’s a photo of Scout at the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell leaning against his tent pole, gazing wistfully out at the camp he was about to leave for the summer. Who hasn’t lived this one themselves?

Photo by Gene Jordan for the Nashville Banner, August 15, 1941, page 12.

“Daydreaming” by Gene Jordan, Nashville Banner, August 15, 1941, pg. 12

From the Archives, August 7, 2022

Bond, Jack Bond

In the 1950s, Wood Badge was still a relatively new program. So new that when Middle Tennessee Council got permission to begin hosting its own course (MT-1, MT-2, and so on), it was one of less than 10 councils in the nation to do so. Marketing itself as the “PhD of Scouting” even then, Wood Badge was something of mystery to those on the outside.

To solve this mystery, the Nashville Banner sent reporter Jack Bond to go through the nine (9) day program in 1959 at Boxwell Reservation at Rock Island. Bond, who lost 14 pounds over this period, worked considerably harder and stayed up much later than he had anticipated. In a series of articles, he complained about the chiggers and the “sadistic group of grown-ups in short pants” telling the participants to “Have Fun.” Bond compared Wood Badge to “a souped-up version of basic training, OCS, and a college level civics class combined.”

But there were touching moments too. “Somewhere an owl screeched and the fire made sputtering sounds, sending showers of sparks streaming heavenward to join the stars,” Bond wrote in his August 3 article. “The resonant voice of Scoutmaster Elam rolled like a benediction in the flickering light, and I knew then why so many men sacrifice many of their personal pleasures in order to work with Boy Scouts… He believes that training tomorrow’s citizens is an important mission. I’m inclined to agree with him.”

Of particular interest to us… The Kudu horn that patrols took turns carrying around was said to have been acquired by Dan Maddux–namesake of the Craig rifle range. Scoutmaster of MT-5 was of course Harry “Beany” Elam of Springfield Troop 144, who had been involved with Boxwell since at least its Narrows of the Harpeth days. Future Council President and former Narrows Staff member Jimmy Stevens was in MT-5 as well, in the Fox Patrol.

In this photo, back row, second from the right is Ralph Manus, a long time (and well loved) professional with the Nashville Council. Manus was one of several Akers proteges who moved on to his own Council. Unfortunately, Manus was killed in a head-on car accident on August 3, 1979. Our hard working journalist Jack Bond is also on the back row, standing all the way to the left.

MT-5 Eagle Patro
MT-5 Eagle Patrol at Rock Island in 1959. Jack Bond and Ralph Manus are on the back row.