From the Archives November 19, 2017

Narrows of the Harpeth, 1938

Seen here is none other than the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell. This is an aerial photo taken in 1938 by the Tennessee Department of Conservation.

Named for the “narrow” space formed from the five mile long loop seen near the bottom of the photo, the Narrows of the Harpeth was the location of Boxwell from 1930-1948. If you look just aboe the Narrows you will will a cleared area running perpendicular to the river, almost connecting it. This is the camp itself.

The Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge of the OA was founded this year. In the cleared space just below the Narrows–right in the middle of the loop in the river–is the site of OA Ordeal.

Photo from Tennessee State Library and Archives
Dept. of Conservation Photograph Collection
Negative: CV591
Accession No.: RG 82
File Location: Box 73, File 13

Narrows, aerial

Aerial photo of the Narrows of the Harpeth, Tennessee Department of Conservation, 1938

From the Archives, November 15, 2017

Camp Anecdotes: Trash Run
by Terry Rodgers, December 2000

The trash run on Saturday mornings continues to be a vivid memory even after
it being some 37 years ago. Usually the trash pick-up crew consisted of the
junior staff members and we knew we wouldn’t be going home for the weekend
until the job was complete. Each campsite had at least 2 55-gallon drums
that had accumulated trash all week. The thing was that after the Friday
night campfire, Stahlman furnished each site with all the watermelon they
could eat. So, by the time we got around to picking up the trash the next
day, they were brim full of watermelon rinds. I can remember Kerry [Parker]
and Skull [Jerry Barnett] both piloting the tractor that pulled a trailer
full of young staff members to each campsite. Each staff member bailed out
of the trailer like Navy SEALS from a PT boat to “rescue” the trash can.
That seem to be the most popular game to make this rather arduous task as
short and fun as possible. After picking up the drums, it was off to the
dump behind the compound to empty each of the drums individually.
Invariably, one was lost and the youngest member piled off into the dump to
retrieve it. Better not let the ranger find one in the dump (55 gallon drum
that is). Ferrying the empty drums back to the campsite was a sight to see.
I can’t say that we spent a lot of time setting the drum upright in the
correct spot. If I remember rightly I think Parker drove us by the entrance
where we flung the drum as far as we could and placed bets on whether it
would land upright or not.

After this ordeal was over, our parents were there to pick us up for a nice
relaxing weekend away from camp. You know, we never really had a chance to
clean up after the trash haul which could explain why we had to sit in the
back seat with the windows rolled down.

From the Archives, November 12, 2017

Hidden Places: Woodbadge Chapel

The Reservation is full of hidden places. Of course, some hidden places are really hidden, but are right in plain sight. Often, people just don’t look.

Many are not aware of it, but Boxwell actually has two chapel. Don Stanford Chapel in Camp Craig is the one most are familiar with. But there is a second, much more primitive chapel in Boxwell.

In Camp Beany Elam, nestled in a small grove of trees, is Woodbadge Chapel. There is no sign or fanfare for the site, but it has been there for decades. To find it, go to the Gilwell Field flagpoles and look to your left. You’ll find one of the most peaceful–and almost holy–places on the Reservation.

Woodbadge Chapel

The little open air chapel hidden in plain sight in Camp Beany Elam

Your Camp Anecdotes

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running a series called “Camp Anecdotes,” little short stories from staff members about their lives at camp. We have more of these and will continue to share them.

However, we’d also like to hear YOUR stories.  Take a few minutes and write down your two or three favorite camp staff stories.  Keep it clean, but tell the story in as much detail as you would like. Send it on to and we’ll make your story part of “the archive.”

And, hopefully, we’ll post it here in the near future!

From the Archives, November 5, 2017

Half A Century, Part Four

We continue our look at some Council history this week with two more pages from the Council publication _Half a Century_ published in 1970. This week does a much better job of providing some Council-specific information. We can add a bit more…

Ward Akers was Council Executive throughout the 1960s. Many of the Council Presidents will have familiar names: E. B. Stahlman, Jr. (1962-1964), R. L. Parnell (1965), and Richard M. Hawkins (1965-1967) (Parnell Cabin). While the torch had clearly been passed by this point, the first generation passed away in the 1960s, with Leslie Boxwell dying in 1960 and William Anderson in 1963. Voted on at the December 1964 Executive Board meeting, beginning in 1965 the Council integrated. No more separate districts, executives, or summer camps for black and white scouts.

And of course our beloved Boxwell at Old Hickory Lake opened on June 26, 1960. Of course, this too was a big change. No longer would this be Camp Boxwell, but Boxwell Reservation, home to Camps Stahlman, Parnell, Murrey, and Light. Of course, this book is published in 1970, so at that point in time, this was the end of the story…

Half a Century, Sixties

The Sixites section from the 1970 publication, Half A Century.