From the News, April 5, 2017

A Brief History…

In 1985, the Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 75th Anniversary, the Diamond Jubilee.  While the Council itself wasn’t quite that old, it did still take the opportunity to celebrate.  So during that first week in February–Scout Week–the Council took out a multi-page advertising section in The Tennessean.  The eleven page insert featured several actual advertisements from Scouting supporters, such as Castner Knott’s, Harvey’s, and Thomas Nelson.  It also included a host of “articles” extolling the many programs and opportunities the Council offered.

One of these articles was “BSA Started With Good Turn,” which was a brief history of the Middle Tennessee Council from the start of Scouting to the Council’s formation in 1920 all the way up to the then-current Executive Hershel Tolbert.  Remembering that it is an advertisement for the Council, it is still a simple, concise overview of MTC’s 65 years.

“BSA Started With Good Turn,” The Tennessean, February 3, 1985, Advertisement pgs. 4 & 5.

BSA start

Note there is no author to the article, because it is in fact not an actual article, but an advertisement.

From the Archives, April 2, 2017

Native American Costumes

This week’s photo is a bit of a mystery. Here are the costumes for a Native American Ceremony of some kind laid out on picnic tables behind the compound in the late 1960s (or perhaps early 1970s).  The tables are basically where the dumpsters are today; the dirt road leads back to the now abandoned dump.

The knee jerk is that these costumes belong to the OA, and that theory makes sense. Everyone knows that Boxwell and the OA have a long history together.  The very first OA tap-out ceremony for Wa-Hi-Nasa was at the Narrows of the Harpeth Boxwell and many of the founding members were Boxwell staff members.  To this day, the OA continues to have a large influence at Boxwell, even creating and running Winter Camp!

However, in the 1960s, Native American ceremonies were a regular part of summer camp.  “Native Americans” opened and closed campfires and there were also often Indian dances as part of the campfire program.  As there are no visible OA sashes here, these costumes could easily be part of those activities as well.

And thus, the mystery…

Indian costumes

Two picnic tables of Native American costumes for some kind of program at Boxwell.

Website Updates

Quick updates tonight.

We have updated the “In Memory” section of the website to reflect the passing of Claus “Dutch” Mann and Bobby Reasons.

As we do every three months or so, we have updated the banner image. Here is the original, from the collection of Grady Eades.

Pirates Coves

Pirates Cove as it looked from Old Hickory Lake, 2015.

From the News, March 29, 2017

Green Bar Bill

As we discussed back in 2014, the Scouting legend William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt came to Boxwell to stay for awhile.  The article though looks at Hillcourt’s history and even gives some explanation of his involvement with the Scout Handbook and how writing the 9th Edition brought him out of retirement.

Harwell Wells, “Despite His Age, He’s Still into Scouting,” The Tennessean, June 19, 1986, pgs. B1 and B2.

Green Bar Bill

Green Bar Bill visits Boxwell, June 1986


From the Archives, March 26, 2017

The Staff Car

In honor of the passing of Claus “Dutch” Mann, we thought we would do something a wee bit different today.  The very first interview we ever conducted for preserving Boxwell’s history was with Dutch in 1996.  Fortunately, one small story he shared connects with this month’s theme of camp vehicles.

Some background first.  In 1971, Boxwell and camps around the nation moved to what was known as “the Commissioner System.”  Program Areas were basically done away with and camp was divided into a clusters, each with a set of Camp Commissioners.  Each Commissioner staff took over the duties of the previous program areas, save the Waterfront.  In other words, the duties of Activity Yard, Con Yard, Handicraft, Field Spots, and site leader were all rolled up in each commissioner staff, of which there were five.

At Stahlman in 1971, Kerry Parker, Jerry Barnett, and Dutch Mann were three of the five Camp Commissioners leading commissioner staffs.  They decided to have a little fun with the job by utilizing one of the MANY military screen vehicles found at the compound at the time. As Dutch briefly explained in 1996…

“We had an old Army staff car that in the compound we decided that Jerry Barnett and Kerry and I decided to get dressed up like Generals and for flag formation we, we pulled up, we had a driver and we pulled up, we made like we were 3 generals and called everybody to attention and we had a swagger sticks and we had inspections of the ranks and so everybody was dressed.  We chewed a few guys out and we had a lot of fun with that and then after the inspection why then we had the flag lowering.  We had a lot of fun with that command car.”