Five Scout camps named for fascinatingly famous people in history

An icon of the American West, the longtime president of Coca-Cola and a man who died in the sinking of the Lusitania.

Names of these and other fascinating Americans grace BSA camps across the country.

The names of Scout camps offer an interesting entry point into the history of Scouting, a particular community or the nation as a whole. Many camps are named for men and women who donated money, time or both to support local Scouting. Others are named for famous figures in history.

How did your favorite camp get its name? Leave a comment at the end of this post.

But first, let’s look at five Scout camps named for intriguing people in history.

Theodore Naish Scout Reservation

Who: Theodore Naish (1856–1915), a civil engineer in Kansas City, Mo., who died in the May 7, 1915, sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat.

Where: Kansas City, Kan.

Council: Heart of America

The story:

Theodore Naish was born in 1856 in Birmingham, England. He later moved to the United States and became a citizen. In 1895, he purchased nearly 150 acres of land in Kansas — rolling hills and dense forests of oak and hickory.

In 1911, at age 55, Naish married Belle Saunders, a schoolteacher from Detroit. The two spent several summers on the land he owned, enjoying hikes to the tops of hills 1,000 feet high.

In 1915, the pair treated themselves to a belated honeymoon to England, where Theodore had grown up. They purchased tickets on the Lusitania and traveled to New York to board their regal ride. Yes, England and Germany were at war. And yes, the Germans had submarines lurking in the waters around England. But Belle and Theodore didn’t worry.

“We were convinced that the Germans would not sink an unarmed passenger liner loaded with neutrals and so many women and children,” Belle Naish told The Kansas City Star in 1935.

When the German U-boat’s torpedo hit the Lusitania, Belle remembers seeing a “vast mass of water, mingled with all sorts of broken and splintered things,” she told The Star.

Belle and Theodore helped passengers don their life vests. Soon a second explosion — perhaps in the coal compartment — rocked the ship, sending Belle into the air and knocking her unconscious. Someone in a lifeboat pulled her in and took her to Queenstown, Ireland. Belle searched every hospital and morgue in Queenstown for her husband, but it became clear that he was one of the 1,198 passengers — including 128 Americans — who died.

Belle kept the Kansas property for more than a decade. In 1927, she donated 90 acres to the Boy Scouts. Later, she donated another 90.

Theodore Naish’s body never was found. In 1941, Boy Scouts helped dedicate a memorial to him. Decades later, his legacy lives on.

Camp Buffalo Bill

Who: William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1845–1917), an icon of the American Old West and traveling showman who founded the town of Cody, Wyo.

Where: Cody, Wyo.

Council: Greater Wyoming

The story:

William Cody earned the nickname “Buffalo Bill” after the Civil War when he supplied buffalo meat to Kansas Pacific Railroad workers.

After building legendary status as a (lowercase-S) scout and hunter, Cody transitioned into a career as a showman. In “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” he traveled the country to bring a glimpse of the American West to sold-out audiences. When organizers of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 rejected his request to participate, Cody set up his own exhibition nearby. His exhibition’s popularity irked fair organizers.

In 1895, Cody helped found the town of Cody in northwestern Wyoming. He liked its rich soil, picturesque scenery and proximity to Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872.

Those qualities that made the town of Cody attractive in 1895 make Camp Buffalo Bill near Cody a favorite of Scouts more than 120 years later.

Woodruff Scout Camp

Who: Robert W. Woodruff (1889–1985), longtime president of The Coca-Cola Co. and a prominent Atlanta philanthropist.

Where: Blairsville, Ga., about 2.5 hours north of Atlanta.

Council: Atlanta Area

The story:

Robert W. Woodruff was born in 1889 in Georgia. He was the son of a Ernest Woodruff, one of a group of businessmen who bought The Coca-Cola Co. in 1919.

After various jobs — shoveling sand, selling fire extinguishers, supplying trucks for troops during World War I — Robert’s dad offered him the position of president of Coca-Cola.

As company president in 1926, Robert Woodruff turned Coke into a global brand by establishing a foreign department. He served as president until 1954.

The fact that Woodruff’s name graces a number of school buildings and public landmarks is a testament to his philanthropy. There’s the Woodruff Arts Center and Woodruff Park, for example, named in recognition of his gifts.

The Robert W. Woodruff Scout Reservation, now called Woodruff Scout Camp, was built after donations from the Woodruff Foundation and Coca-Cola. Each summer, Scouts gather there for life-changing experiences they’ll find nowhere else.

Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation

Who: Horace A. Moses (1863–1947), founder of Strathmore Paper Company and the man who helped start Junior Achievement, a nonprofit youth organization that teaches young people how to succeed in the world economy.

Where: Russell, Mass., about 35 minutes west of Springfield, Mass.

Council: Western Massachusetts

The story:

Horace A. Moses, born in New York, established the company that eventually became the Strathmore Paper Company. Strathmore, now part of the Pacon Corp., is known for making high-quality art papers. The company counts Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth among its past customers.

In 1919, Moses helped start Junior Achievement, serving as its chairman for 27 years. The organization teaches work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to students in kindergarten through high school. In 1984, Moses was featured on a 20-cent stamp commemorating his work with Junior Achievement.

Moses’ good works extended to Scouting, as well. Shortly before his death in 1947, Moses sold sections of his 1,600-acre summer estate to the BSA.

For his Good Turn, Moses received the council-level Silver Beaver Award. The award still hangs in the camp office.

Cole Canoe Base

Who: Edward N. Cole (1909–1977), an automobile executive who was general manager of Chevrolet and helped develop the Corvair and Vega.

Where: Alger, Mich., about 2.5 hours northwest of Detroit.

CouncilMichigan Crossroads

The story:

Edward N. Cole wanted to be a lawyer, but a part-time job at an auto parts store introduced him to the high-octane world of automobiles.

He enrolled in the General Motors Institute, and his rapid ascent began. One of his first hits was as a member of the team that developed the 1949 Cadillac V8. He was the chief engineer of the Chevrolet Division when he helped turn weak-performing Corvettes into the muscle cars they are today.

When he was general manager of Chevrolet, GM’s largest automotive division, Cole was on the cover of the Oct. 5, 1959, issue of Time magazine.

After that, Cole developed the Chevrolet Corvair, a compact car that sold from 1960 to 1969, and the Chevrolet Vega, a subcompact available from 1970 to 1977.

Through all this, Cole was involved in Scouting as a volunteer. He served as president of the Detroit Area Council in 1962. In 1977, as vice president of General Motors Corp., he donated funds to support what was then called the Rifle River Scout Canoe Base.

In recognition of Cole’s gift, the base was renamed Cole Canoe Base, home of the famous Beast Feast I covered in 2015.

What’s your camp’s story?

Is your camp named after someone famous or fascinating? Leave the story in the comments.

40 Comments

  1. From the Northern Star Council web page (http://camping.northernstarbsa.org/Camps/FredCAndersen.aspx)

    Honoring the generous support of Andersen Windows founder, Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp is the longest tenured council camp property. Sitting directly on the banks of the St. Croix River, this camp is a perfect spot to launch a canoe trip or plan a weekend campout. The property is divided into two levels with 260 acres of woods and rock bluffs to explore.

  2. We have a two camps that are part of the long standing camping tradition in Pine Tree Council that have interesting histories as well.

    Camp Bomazeen, organized in 1944 and located in Belgrade, Maine is named after a Native American leader. Bomazeen was a sagamore of the Norridgewock Indians, and was killed in the English colonials’ raid on Norridgewock in August of 1724. He was shot fleeing the attackers in an attempt to warn others. His name translates ‘keeper of the ceremonial flames’ of the Norridgewock tribe of the Wabenaki nation. The Camp Bomazeen property was donated in 1944 by Dr. George G. & Francis M. Averill of Waterville.

    In 1927 Charles and Augusta Hinds donated the funds to the Cumberland County Council, BSA for the purchase of the property which would become Camp William Hinds. Camp Hinds was named in honor of their son who was hit and killed by a car in Portland. The family business was the A. S. Hinds Co. in Portland which was famous for various creams for the face, hands, and skin. At the time, Mr. Hinds was a member of the Council Executive Board.

  3. Here in Western Colorado Council our camp is name after Steve Fossett. At Steve Fossett Spirit of Adventure Ranch we have high adventure for older scouts as well as merit badge programs for the younger scouts.

    • Down here we have Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch in Elbert, CO. Summer 2017 though, I worked 7-weeks at Medicine Mountain Scout Ranch in South Dakota, then 1-week at Theodore Naish Scout Reservation in Kansas. Troop / Ship 324 Denver Area Council

  4. The Baden-Powell Council’s Camp Barton is named for Colonel Frank Barton. Barton was the first student from Cornell University to be commissioned an officer in the US Army in what would become ROTC. He served in the Phillippines, was superintendent of Sequoia National Park, and returned twice to Cornell as Commandant of Cadets. He was serving in that role when he became the first president of the Ithaca Council, B.S.A. Colonel Barton died in 1921. When Ithaca Council organized it’s first scout camp in 1922, the Scouts requested that it be named Camp Barton in his honor. The camp moved to a new location in 1927, where it remains today, on the short of Cayuga Lake, but retained its name: Camp Barton

  5. Brown Memorial Camp near Abilene, KS, Coronado Area Council. Named after CL Brown and just celebrated its 90th Birthday. Business Tycoon of the early 20th century. Found 85 companies in his lifetime, 79 of which survived the Great Depression and include names such at Sprint, Piggly-Wiggly, and Westar Energy. More info on CL Brown, including a early pic of the Brown Memorial Camp, at http://dkcohistory.blogspot.com/2011/01/cl-brown-and-his-affect-on-abilene.html

  6. Howzabout Camp Theodore Roosevelt, on the Chesapeake Bay, Nat Cap Area Council? Unfortunately closed and sold. Part of it is the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, so I’ve been told…

  7. Grand Canyon Council has a camp named after what is likely the most famous Arizonan and one of the most iconic figures in US history. People all over the world, if asked to name one American Indian, will usually start with Geronimo. Camp Geronimo first started near Reavis Ranch in the Superstition Mountains from 1922 – 1924. It next moved to near Kohls Ranch until 1955, when it moved to its current location on Webber Creek (Spade Ranch) in a box canyon in the shadows of the Mogollon Rim. How Camp Geronimo failed to make the short list of camps named after famous people is clearly a gross oversight.

  8. Blackhawk Area Council (named after the famous Indian war chief) is home to Camp Lowden, named after a past governor of Illinois.

  9. I had hoped HAMSR (Horace A Moses Scout Reservation) would be in here when I saw the title. That was my camp growing up.

    Thanks!

    • heading up to HA Moses SR this weekend for the OA Fellowship. The Manor House has been restored in the past year, now the Summer Camp Offices! Facilities are in great shape!!

  10. The Scouts continued to add on to Camp Naish, and has totaled over 1200 acres for many years. You might also want to do a story on the other camp in Heart Of America council, H. Roe Bartle , named after the former mayor of Kansas City and one of Scouting greatest supporters.. I believe it is somewhere near 5.000 acres

    • H. Roe Bartle also started an honors camping society called Mic-O-Say. He was the first “Chief” of the “Tribe”, and he was a (the?) scout executive in Kansas City. His nickname thus became “Chief”. When a professional football team moved to Kansas City from Dallas, they named the team in honor of H. Roe and thus the Kansas City Chiefs came into existence.

  11. H Roe Bartle reservation is named after the former Kansas City mayor and philanthropist who also served as a scout executive. As mayor, he helped recruit an NFL team to Kansas City and they named the team after him (his nickname was “Chief”).

  12. Camp Chief Little Turtle in NE Indiana is named after a chief of the Miami people, and one of the most famous Native American military leaders of his time.

  13. One of these 5 camps has a multiple famous people! Camp General Knox is one of the 3 areas of the Horace Moses Scout Reservation! Running through the Moses Scout Reservation is part of what is known today as the Knox Trail, the 300 mile route used by then Col. Knox to move 60 artillery pieces during the winter of 1775-76 from Fort Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights to drive the British from Boston. Along the trail is not only the General Knox District of the Western Massachusetts Council, but also Knox Council, BSA (very recently merged and now part of the Mayflower Council, BSA).
    https://www.wmascouting.org/files/12801/Camp-Map

  14. California inland Empire Council, Camp Emerson, not named for the writer, but a local doctor that saw the value of scouting. Donated in 1919. They are preparing it for its 100th birthday. I grew up there and my kids grew up there. There are many stories and many youth and volunteers that camped there.

  15. Camp Geronimo is located north of Payson, Arizona in the shadows of the magnificent Mogollon Rim on nearly 200 acres of forest and meadows.

    Geronimo (Mescalero-Chiricahua: Goyaałé [kòjàːɬɛ́] “the one who yawns”; June 16, 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. From 1850 to 1886 Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands—the Tchihende, the Tsokanende and the Nednhi—to carry out numerous raids as well as resistance to US and Mexican military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and in the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Geronimo’s raids and related combat actions were a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict, which started with American settlement in Apache lands following the end of the war with Mexico in 1848.

  16. When Camp Bedford Scout Reservation located in Duane, NY, was donated to the Adirondack Council, Inc. 394, Boy Scouts of America, it attracted nation-wide interest. The Council accepted title to the beautiful Partridge Park and Clear Pond estates in the Town of Duane, on May 25, 1942 from Charles E. and Anna Oken Bedford, the retired Vice-President of Standard Oil Company of New York City. The camp is located at 10424 State Rt. 30, Malone, (Duane) NY {north of the Meacham Lake NYS DEC Campground, 12.3 miles north of Paul Smiths, and 21 miles south of Malone, NY}.The donation to establish Camp Bedford Scout Reservation at the time was the largest donation of land to any Scout Council in the USA, and for many decades. The Council was given the heavily wooded 3,650-acre tract with brooks, ponds, and a lake. Camp Bedford was officially dedicated and opened as a Boy Scout Summer Resident Camp on July 4, 1943.

    The camp consists of 10 campsites: Algonquin, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, Mahican, Mohawk, Upper and Lower Iroquois, Bear, Oneida, and Tuscarora. Eight program areas exist: Archery Range, Rifle Range, Sports Field, Scout Craft, Nature Den, Waterfront, Boating Area, and a fishing area on Clear Pond.

    During 1969 into 1970 the 200 seat Marjorie Merriweather Post Central Dining Hall was constructed due to a generous contribution made by the heiress of Post Cereals (her husband was the Ambassador to the USSR), she was a close friend of Charles and Anna Bedford.

    Since August 15, 2005, Camp Bedford has operated as a year round multi-use facility with 8 program areas, 10 campsites, 6 indoor sleeping areas (Loon Lodge, The Swamp, the Health Lodge, Petty Lodge, the Trading Post, and the Dining Hall) to be available for a single day, a weekend, or to be used as a base camp for a week for Scouting, community, or private groups to rent. Twin Rivers Council believes that Camp Bedford serves as an example of how a Scout resident camp can be redeveloped as an outdoor education adventure area for Scouting units and the public to enjoy in close proximity to the Lake Placid Winter Olympic venues and the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Mountains. This is a clear statement of excellent stewardship by the Council to sustain and improve this facility for all to explore this pristine part of the Adirondack Wilderness. For more information visit the Twin Rivers Council website or call 518-869-6436.

  17. Brown Memorial Camp in Coronado Area Council is named after the man who donated the land, CL Brown. A business tycoon of the early 20th century, he started over 85 businesses, many of which survived the Great Depression, and some that merged with other companies to become what is now Sprint, Piggly-Wiggly, and Westar Energy. Camp Brown just celebrated its 90th Birthday.

  18. Camp Westmoreland in Florence AL is one of the oldest camps in the BSA. Named after General Westmoreland. The camp is also locally famous as the stopping place of a “famous” movie star in the 1930s, Hopalong Cassidy.

  19. Camp Rodney is named after Caesar Rodney without whom the Declaration of Independence would not have passed. The camp is near Northeast MD on the Chesapeake Bay in the Del-Mar-Va Council. Great sailing!

  20. In Cascade Pacific council We have Camp Meriwether for the Boy Scouts and next door Camp Clark for the Cub Scouts after Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Both the camps sit together on tbe beach not far from their furthest point reached.

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