From the Archives, January 3, 2021

Celebrating Boxwell’s Centennial

Here we are: Boxwell’s Centennial Year! We’ve been planning for this for a long time and even now, all of our ducks aren’t in a row. But at Boxwell, there is a saying, “Improvise and Adjust!” I also recall my generation saying “Good enough for government work!” Either way, we’re moving forward!

We have several things on the board this year that we wanted to share. Here’s what you can expect from us over the next few months:

1) Our regular “From the Archives” posts along with some occasional “Archives Rewind” posts, when we pull particularly interesting older posts and run them again (and corrected if we made errors at the time). We’ve been doing this awhile now and not everyone has caught everything!

2) “On This Day” will be a new regular series for this year only. We’ve compiled a list of important moments in Boxwell’s history and when those dates roll up, we’re going to publish a notice telling you what happened. It will be short and sweet, but you’re going to learn new things.

3) This summer–specifically on Saturday, July 3–we are planning a Boxwell Centennial Day to celebrate Boxwell’s 100 years. The day will involve a staff reunion, celebrating those who have made Boxwell program happen over the years. Mark your calendars!

4) New content on the main website. Specifically, we’re looking at the Primer sections, where we want to add more “Boxwell Greats” and share stories.

5) In conjunction with the Council, we’re planning on publishing an ACTUAL history book on Boxwell. Tentatively, it is titled For the Good of the Program: A Century of Middle Tennessee Scouting at Boxwell Reservation. It will be the only history of Boxwell that has ever been written.

6) We are also planning on some short history videos on each of the Boxwells. These will be completely original content, written and produced by VirtualBoxwell. Fingers crossed that those won’t appear too amatuer-ish!

So, to kick the year off we want to put something out there we’ve discussed on several occasions, but have never made publicly available before: The 1967 Boxwell Promotional Film. We have posted the entire film on our new YouTube channel and we encourage you to watch it. It is a treat; a real look into days gone by.

This will not be the last promotional video we publish this year either. We’re pulling out all the stops for Boxwell’s Centennial. Please, check in often. In the immortal words of a great staff member, “Camp Is Rough, Camp Is Tough, I Like Camp!”

1967 Promotional Still
The opening direction sign, a direct capture from the 1966/1967 promotional film.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you out there from all of us here at VirtualBoxwell!  Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

And, in what is now an official holiday tradition here, we give you this photo of DE Buff Groth (Camp Director at Parnell in 1980) sitting on the lap of Tom Willhite (Santa; Reservation Director, 1976-1994).

See you all again in 2021, the Centennial of Camp Boxwell. We have a few things planned…

Tom Willhite as Santa Claus as a Council Christmas party; 1980 Parnell Camp Director Buff Groth on his lap


On July 5, 1921 the VERY FIRST Boxwell opened in Linton, TN.

A truck picked up Scouts going to camp at the intersection of the Belle Meade and Harding Road at 10am and 4:30pm.  Camp only ran for about three weeks at the time and cost less than $6 a week!

We are hoping to start a new tradition, not just here at VirtualBoxwell, but across Middle Tennessee Council by celebrating BOXWELL DAY–a day commemorating the opening of the first Boxwell.

To that end, we ask for two things from you:
1) Share this message far and wide.  If you use social media, share the post.  If you are looking on the website, share the link.  Spread the word so that everyone knows this is a new Middle Tennessee Council holiday!
2) Take this opportunity to share your favorite Boxwell stories in the comments AND, if you are staff member, contact an old friend and reminisce about years gone by!

Thank you to all the professionals, volunteers and staff members who have worked for 100 summers to keep Boxwell alive and flourishing!

Happy Boxwell Day everyone!

Boxwell Day, 2020

2021 Reunion: Final Call!

This is the Final Call for letting us know where to find you and contact you. Online updates end tomorrow night. Help us celebrate July Fourth AND Boxwell Day on July 5th by completing the form! Don’t forget to share with your other camp staff friends!

2020 Staff Census

From the Archives, March 1, 2020

The Big Four (Revised)

Every now and then, we here at VirtualBoxwell make mistakes. The joy of research is realizing that what you THOUGHT was correct at one point, turns out to be incorrect with a bit more digging. Fortunately, new discoveries help change the existing story and allow us to write new narratives.

That’s the case this week. Back in April of 2018, we posted the below color photograph of “the Big Four.” After some recent research in the Nashville Banner, it turns out that half of these individuals were incorrecty identified. From left to right are F. Murrey Acker, E. B. Stahlman, Ward Akers, and Representative J. Carlton Loser. The Scouts folding the flag in the background are Melton Abernathy, Thomas Smith, and James Seay.

The line up makes sense, once put in context. These four men were posing outside Stahlman dining hall on the day of the Reservation’s dedication ceremonies, July 9, 1960. F. Murrey Acker was president of the council and gave the primary dedication address. Stahlman, whose brother James was the event’s master of ceremonies, read letters, telegrams, and messages from dignitaries who would not be present, such as Governor Buford Ellington and Senator Al Gore, Sr. Ward Akers himself was absent from the program that day, allowing the volunteers to run the show.

J. Carlton Loser was the Tennessee’s representative from Nashville to the U.S. Congress. He had been instrumental in passage of the special act of Congress that allowed the Council to purchase the core Boxwell property from the Corps of Engineers, securing the title for construction. While the specifics of what he said do not appear to have not survived, the papers did note that when Loser rose to speak, he was greeted with a standing ovation. His work was known and appreciated.

Later that month, Loser came back to Boxwell and toured the whole property with Akers, Ackers, E. B. Stahlman, James “Foxy” Johnson, and Scout leader Paul Huff. He had a hot dog with Scouts at Parnell, visited the Ski Dock (Boat Harbor), and attended flag lowering at Stahlman. Of the Scouting project, Loser remarked, “I’m glad to have had a part in this great project. The greatest contribution to our nation is made through the training of young people engaged in such activities as Scouting.”

Big Four

Dedication, July 9, 1960. F. Murrey Acker, E. B. Stahlman, Ward E. Akers, and Rep. Carlton Loser [updated March 2020]