From the Archives, October 17, 2021

Namesakes: Dan W. Maddox

We continue our year long series on namesakes this week with a look at Dan W. Maddox. Maddox and his wife Margaret gave financial contributions to the council to build the free-standing rifle range at Camp Craig. As part of the 1994 Capital Development Campaign, they funded the creation of a legitimate shotgun range in Camp Light. Who was Maddox and his wife?

Perhaps not surprisingly, Maddox (and his wife) was an avid outdoorsman. Born in 1910, Maddox was a hunter, hunting everything from quail to big game in Africa and Asia, including a 500 pound black mane lion in 1954. Indeed, in 1969, Maddox was elected to the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation, a foundation that focused on educational programs to foster conservation of African wildlife resources. Maddox was also a leading conservationist and philanthropist.

Maddox made his fortune by founding Associates Capital Corp. He sold this company to Gulf + Westernin 1965 and became the company’s chief executive officer. Gulf + Western began life as a manufacturing and resource extraction company, but with Maddox as head the company shifted gears and began purchasing entertainment companies, such as Paramount Desilu (that’s Star Trek folks!) as well as a number of record companies, including Stax Records. Today, Gulf + Western is ViacomCBS. Maddox served on the boards of numerous other companies and banks until his retirement at age 82 in 1992.

By their deaths, the Maddoxes has amased an estimated $100 million. Outside of Scouting, charitable donations were made to the YMCA, the Hearing Aid Research Center at Vanderbilt, and a dorm at Belmont. The oldest recording studio in Nashville, Studio B (where the classic album The Revelator by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings was recorded), was built by Dan Maddox in 1957 and donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. Before their passing, the Maddoxes established the Maddox Foundation, a non-profit which would continue the couple’s charitable giving.

The Maddoxes died on a hunting trip in January 1998. Hunting duck in Louisiana, their boat collided with a 110-foot oil rig and sank. The Maddoxes were survived by two daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, and four great-children.

Seen here is Maddox as he appeared in the Tennessean in July 1969.

Dan Maddox, 1969
Dan Maddox in the _Nashville Tennessean_ July 4, 1969.

From the Archives, October 10, 2021

Jim Barr Paddle Awards

The Pump House Museum at the Centennial Jamboree held all kinds of fascinating little treasures. Of the many artifacts on display, one of the most fascinating for us was a small collection of wooden canoe paddles, hand-painted by Stahlman Waterfront Director Jim Barr.

As a holdover from the 1960s Boxwell program, the Water Carnival was a big Friday afternoon event. It involved a series of events, including filling No. 10 cans with water to sink your opponents canoe, ring buoy throws, and boat races or various kinds and styles. Of course, by this point, there was also a greased watermelon contest, with the winning troop getting a watermelon for their site that night. With the exception of the watermelon, virtually all the other events were rooted in Scout skills.

While running Craig’s waterfront in the 1970s, Jim Barr was inspired by Ragsdale’s artistic flair. He recalled a painted paddle award of some kind from when he was a boy at Rock Island and began painting paddles himself. Every week, the winning troop got a painted paddle. Most of the paddles were done early in the summer with the troop number added each week.

Barr did the work himself, but received help from master craftsmen Mr. Nick (Nick Nichols) when he was at Craig and then Q-ball (Floyd Pearce) when he and Ragsdale moved to Stahlman. And the paddles have a unique Willhite backstory. While the wooden paddles were relatively cheap, Reservation Director Tom Willhite was not excited about losing several perfectly good paddles every summer. So, Barr had to use damaged paddles–either cast-offs from Willhite… or ones he damaged himself.

Seen here are four paddles painted by Barr that were awarded to Troop 87 from 1980-1983.

Jim Barr Painted Paddles
Water Carnival Painted Paddles, 1980-1983

On this Day, October 9

On this day–Thursday, October 9, 1975–the Executive Board accepted the resignation of Ward Akers, effectively ending the executive’s 28 year run with the Middle Tennessee Council. The Board met at Stahlman Dining Hall and the meeting was chaired by Council President C. A. “Neil” Craig, II (son of Edwin W. Craig, of Camp Craig fame).

There was some debate at the meeting as loyalty to Akers was strong. Some members felt Akers would be retiring “in disgrace.” Others felt the motion to accept the resignation be deferred to a later meeting when there had been more time to review the “Blue Ribbon Committee” reports that had arrived earlier in the week. One member said flatly, “I’ve read this report from cover to cover two times and I could not find enough wrong in that report to condemn anyone.”

Nevertheless, the wheels were already in motion. Several private conversations had already been had with Akers, who did not attend the meeting. Akers believed that retiring was for the good of the Scouting program and allow the Council to get back to the business of helping the boys. It was this argument that won the day. The vote to accept Akers’ resignation passed, effective upon the hiring of a new Executive, at which time Akers would become “executive emeritus.”

Ginger Kaderabek, “Scout Unit Accepts Akers’ Retirement,” Nashville Banner, October 10, 1975, pg. 21

From the Archives, October 3, 2021

Boxwell History Video: Part 6

We are pleased to premiere our final installment of the History of Boxwell video. This month we conclude our look at Boxwell Reservation at Old Hickory Lake with out third. The first part covered the Akers years, 1960-1975. The second part covered the Willhite era, 1976-1996.

This particular video utilizes pieces of multiple videos over the last twenty five years. Some of these videos were actual promotional videos, whereas others were part of the Leaders’s Guides, which became increasingly electronic and digital. Additionally, it pulls music from The Tennessee Boys (made of mostly Stahlman staff from the late 1990s and early 2000s) as well as a little snippet from the Bloodworth Brothers (made of Craig staff in the 2000s). And, of course, you’ll see photos here we’ve never put out to the public before. It also includes narration by staff members from the period. We hope you enjoy it.

And that’s it. That concludes our video History of Boxwell. We hope you enjoyed them all. More historical material coming next month.

From the Archives, September 26, 2021

The Pump House

The Pump House has been undergoing a transformation in recent months. On Friday night it emerged from its renovations at the Centennial Scout Museum. As the Pump House begins its new life, we thought it might be nice to take a moment to explore its original creation. The Pump House was donated to the Council as part of the 1959 Capital Development Campaign by the Clover Bottom Development Center. It operated from 1959, pumping water from the lake, purifying that water, and then pumping the clean water up to the Water tower by the Crab. The Pump House was finally closed in 1976 when repairs were deemed too costly. The Reservation tied into Laguardo Water District.

At one point though, the pump house was quite an operation. If you’ve ever wondered how the Pump House actually operated, Kerry Parker operated the facility for a period around 1968-1969. IN an interview in 2001, he explained how the building operated. There’s more to this story, which we’ll tell another time, but this gives a basic operation of the water plant at Boxwell…

The Horseshoe down there is an old quarry of some kind. That’s why the walls are like they are… And they’ve got that metal deck, if it’s still down there, with the two pumps on it that stand out over the water. And those are the intake pumps from the lake. Those pumps pumped [water] up through a long trough that had weirs in it, things that make the water go up and down, and you’d add alum at the beginning of that trough and it mixes it up, going up and down in operation, under the weir and over the weir and under the weir and over the weir. And that thing was probably about ten feet deep and about three feet wide.

Then [the water] would come out of the wears into a tank that used to be on the dining hall side of the pump house. [T]hat was a settling tank. Now, in the settling tank, the water slows down. And since it’s been mixing with the alum, and the alum makes the dirt in the water coagulate into kind of a clear coagulation, and it’s heavy. And it will settle to the bottom.

Off the top of the settling tank, going into the plant, into the inside of the Pump house on the second floor, it goes into a sand filter. It goes in and washes over the sides and falls onto a sand filter. Goes down through a sand filter and then goes down into a big tank. That’s still there the last time I was out there, below the plant into what’s called a spring tank. Now that’s water that’s ready to drink, is a spring tank. And on top of the spring tank there’s two more pumps and those pumps pump the water up the line to the tank at the top of the hill. And there’s a set of sensors in those tanks that when the pressure gets a certain point, when the [water tower] tank gets full at the top of the hill, it’ll shut those pumps down.

Pump House Museum
The Pump House as the Centennial Scout Museum, hours before its dedication on Friday, September 24, 2021.