From the Archives, August 18, 2019

Passing the Baton

In March of 1920, the Nashville Council formed. Three months later, they hired their first Scout Executive, Vanderbilt track coach William Anderson. Anderson didn’t particularly want the job. But, after taking a Scoutmaster’s Handbook home and reading it for just one hour, he knew he had to accept the post. He stayed on for the next 27 years, overseeing Boxwell at Linton and the Narrows.

Anderson officially retired at his birthday in June 1947, but agreed to stay on for a few more months while a replacement was found. That replacement was Ward E. Akers. Akers originally hailed from Roanoke, Virginia, but he came to Tennessee through the Eastern Arkansas Area Council, where he had been an executive since 1941. Akers was an incredibly young 34 years old when he took the post on September 15, 1947. He would stay on until his forced retirement at the end of 1975, almost thirty years later.

Both track men at different points in their lives, here is Anderson “passing the baton” on September 15. The two men are front and center, Akers on the left, Anderson on the right. In the background, from left to right are treasurer E. E. Murrey, Assistant Scout Executives James Gribble and Talmadge Miller (both part of the Narrows Boxwell), and George Simpson, deputy regional executive of Region V. It is not an exaggeration to say that big changes both in the Council and at Boxwell would soon follow…

From “New Scout Executive Takes Over Duties,” Nashville Banner, September 16, 1947, pg. 8.

Akers, Anderson, Gribble, Miller, Murrey

Back Row, L to R: treasurer E. E. Murrey, Assistant Scout Executives James Gribble and Talmadge Miller, and George Simpson, deputy regional executive of Region V.
Up Front: Ward E. Akers and William J. Anderson

From the Archives, July 21, 2019

Kitchen Patrol at Linton

We’re going way back this week, almost to the very beginning. This week’s photo from the Archives comes from the Linton Boxwell and features none other than Leslie G. Boxwell himself. More on that in a moment.

The first Camp Boxwell was more like a modern day camporee in a lot of ways. Yes, there was a camp cook–Walter Whittaker–and Scouts ate in a “dining hall.” However, they also brought their own dishes and utensils, which they had to wash themselves. Pots and pans were washed in the Little Harpeth River right back the camp. And, because the first Boxwell had basically no staff, all kitchen work was done by Scout volunteers. Yes, that’s right. The Scouts who were there for the week got K.P. (Kitchen Patrol) duty. And that’s what’s happening here.

This photo appeared in the July 30 issue of the Nashville Banner, the first in a set of three. The caption for this specific photo read, “The top picture shows L. G. Boxwell, chairman of the annual Boy Scout camp for whom the camp at Linton is named, heading the line of, otherwise known as kitchen mechanics at the Boy Scout cam. The dusty figure in the center is none other than Walter, the camp cook, who knowns to sling hash and sing along with the best of them. The way the boys take to Walter’s three squares daily would give joy to the soul of a dyspectic.”

And so, to the far left, none other than L. G. Boxwell himself. Camp cook Walter Whittaker takes the center position. And surrounding them are Scouts at camp for the week.

Linton KP

L. G. Boxwell, Walter Whittaker, and Scouts on K. P., July 30, 1922

Boxwell Day, 2019

Happy Boxwell Day!

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 almost 100 years to keep Boxwell alive and flourishing!

Happy Boxwell Day everyone!

Boxwell Day

Happy Boxwell Day! Leslie G. Boxwell surrounded by the four camps bearing his name. Boxwell was located at Linton, TN, the Narrows of the Harpeth, Rock Island, and Old Hickory Lake.

Remembering the Staff, 1950s

Camp has begun, so it is time to revisit our “Remembering the Staff” series.  Every week while summer camp is going on, we will make a post showcasing the staff of different decades.  Remember, of course, that you can find all of the staff photos here:  You can also go to the Other Boxwells page to look at the first three camps.

Following tradition, this first week focuses the Rock Island staff.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a Rock Island Staff photo for 1959.  In fact, we don’t have any Rock Island staff photos past 1955! 1959, of course, was the last year of the Rock Island Boxwell.  By the time camp opened that summer, the capital development campaign for “new Boxwell” had just concluded.

Thus, perhaps the best thing we can show this week is a newspaper article from The Nashville Banner from June 10, 1959 on page 14 on what a great last summer was going to be had at the Rock Island Boxwell…

Banner article

This is basically the last newspaper article written specifically about Boxwell at Rock Island. Note Chester LaFever’s name. LaFever would become Stahlman’s first Program Director in 1960.

Interview Transcription Project: Thank You

The campaign has achieved its goal! You made it happen!
To all of you who contributed to my GoFundMe Campaign, thank you. To those who have supported VirtualBoxwell over the last (almost) two decades, thank you. To those who continue to put up with my mild obsession with Boxwell, thank you.
As I prepare to move into the formal writing stage of the history of Boxwell, I want to pause for just a moment. Over the course of working on this Boxwell project, I have met and conversed with the most incredible people. Some were camp legends, some were personal legends. All were legendary.
I’ve heard the most fantastic stories. Stories that have made me laugh; stories that have made me think. I’ve heard stories that have made me sad and stories that have made me cringe. Every conversation was unique and amazing in its own way. Oral histories are people’s lives and I’m thrilled to have captured so many.
Through doing this research, I walked into the lives of people I wouldn’t have met for any other reason, but I would now call you friends. I’ve been surprised and proud to earn the support of individuals who are part of social circles I would never have dreamed of being connected to in any way. And of course I deeply appreciate those friends who have come forward to assist, some camp related from youth, and others from adulthood who have never even set foot on Boxwell soil.
If you can excuse the expression, it has been one hell of a ride so far, and I have loved it.
It has been such an indescrible joy to be part of this story throughout my own life. To know that people are counting on me to write this communal story–a story that has never been told–is mind-boggling and humbling. I am overwhelmed in the best way possible.
So, to everyone who has been a part of this in any way, thank you for making this happen. It has been an incredible journey so far. There are still quite a few miles to go, but I have renewed confidence I can complete the journey in time for the Centennial in 2021!
Grady Eades

Eades, 1994

This is me, Grady Eades, as Activity Yard Director in 1994. Tom Willhite was still Reservation Director and he referred to the Activity Yard as the “AY Yard,” something we all laughed about!