From the Archives, February 26, 2023

“Indian Tells Story of Custer”

You probably haven’t heard this story before! In July of 1926, the Sioux chief Red Fox came to Camp Boxwell at Linton. The Oglala Lakota spoke on Custer’s Battle at Little Big Horn and the lives of Native Americans. Speakers were regular nightly events at the Linton Boxwell.

Interestingly, Red Fox was in the Nashville area for about two weeks, promoting a film titled “The Vanishing American.” The Tennessean promoted the film with a drawing contest of a Native American, the winner getting a silver cup. Born in 1870 on the Pine Ridge reservation, Red Fox was an actor in several silent films of the time, getting his start in show business with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1893. Controversy surrounded the veracity of much of Red Fox’s accounts of the old West, but he never seemed much bothered the brouhaha.

Red Fox’s talk at Linton was one of literally dozens he made while in the Nashville area. One article states he made as many as three lectures as day. He continued to be active for years, publishing his memoirs in 1972, just a few years before he died at the age of 105 in 1976.

“Indian Tells Story of Custer,” The Nashville Tennessean, July 20, 1926, pg. 5

Chief Red Fox at the Linton Boxwell, July 1926
Chief Red Fox at the Linton Boxwell, July 1926; _Nashville Tennessean_, July 20, 1926, pg 5

The Passing of Jimmy Wakefield

The VirtualBoxwell Team recently learned of the passing of Parnell staff member James “Jimmy” Wakefield. Jimmy joined the Parnell staff in 1962 and as far as we know, only worked the one summer. As Greg Tucker explained, “Wakefield shared a tent with Johnny Roe and Greg Tucker. Every Saturday AM Jimmy would pack dirty clothes in a relatively new-looking suitcase, put on a full Scout uniform, and hitchhike to his home in Fayetteville TN. He would return to camp on Sunday AM by the same means. Only once was he late returning. (“I can’t believe no one would pick me up.”) Wakefield was an Eagle Scout and was active as an adult leader in Knoxville where he was a prosperous building contractor. He earned a BA from UT.”

Married for 47 years, Wakefield served as a State and Local member of the Associated General Contractors and the Knoxville Planning Commission. He was active in church as well as other philanthropic organizations. Wakefield passed away in Knoxville on February 15, 2016. He was 69 years old.

From the Archives, February 19, 2023

Explorer Island Bridge

Nothing particularly exciting this week, just something you don’t normally see–Explorer Island Bridge from the air. This is the most current bridge, currently named the Johnny Garrott, Jr. Bridge. It is hardly the first bridge though.

Until the 1990s, virtually every incarnation of the bridge was built of crossties. Periodically the bridge rotted and collapsed and had to be replaced. Between camp in 1992 and 1993, the last cross tie bridge collapsed. Metal girders were erected and slowly the current bridge took shape over the next decade.

Though debris filled today, from the 1960s until the 1990s, the passage was kept open. It was used a goal for mile swim, canoeing, and rowing out of Parnell Bay. Today its is the home of a duck blind and a wide variety of turtles and, occasionally, a fresh water oyster.

Explorer Island Bridge, 2013
Explorer Island Bridge from the air, December 31, 2013

From the Archives, February 12, 2023

The Re-Birth of Parnell

Camp Parnell’s last summer as a resident camp was 1998, though no one knew it at the time. The site was used for a year or two for other purposes–Webelos summer camp and a Venture week–but nothing for more than 2 weeks and nothing like a resident camp experience.

Parnell’s slow rehabilitation began in 2004 with the introduction of teh NRA Light Rifle program, referred to as the NRA Marksmanship Program at the time. As a program from the rifle shooting merit badge, the NRA program utilized the Parnell Rifle Range as its base of operations. And for the next decade, the NRA Program at the rifle range was the only regular Scouting activity going on at Parnell.

The program was headed by long-time Parnell/Craig staff member Pat Deugaw. Known to an earlier generation at “the Kool-Aid Man” for his bug juice breaks during staff week, the NRA Program gave him a new nickname, one that reflected his 23 years of military service: “Old Soldier.” Deugaw is seen here the first summer at the Parnell range, flanked by range assistants Jimmy Bumpus (l) and Cole Cunningham (r).

NRA Light Rifle Staff, 2004
The NRA Light Rifle staff, 2004. L-R: Jimmy Bumpus, Pat Deugaw, Cole Cunningham

From the Archives, February 5, 2023

Mapping Boxwell

We are proud to present to you this week a new Special Exhibit as part of the VirtualBoxwell Virtual Museum: Mapping Boxwell. Mapping Boxwell presents a variety of different maps of Boxwell from the Narrows of the Harpeth up to the present day.

To help get you excited about this new exhibit, we present this map of CubWorld from 1994. This was a map of the original vision of the new camp. Much of the basic layout of the camp are the same as how the camp actually turned out, but there are also so important differences.

Note Site 4. It is labeled as “Tree Houses” with an activity symbol, meaning there were going to be tree houses in CubWorld. Note that the northern part of CubWorld has a large network of paved areas: family campsites. There’s more here if you look closely!

Check out the changing world of Boxwell through maps here:

CubWorld blueprint, 1994
Original blueprint of Cubworld by Grisham, Smith, and Partners, 1994.