Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rare photographs of the First New York Boy Scout Encampment (camporee) at Cooperstown NY, 1911.

From a set of 1911 Real Photograph Post Cards recently donated to the Troop 1 Boy Scout Museum. The first three of the set of six are published here with historical notes-we'll post the other three soon.

051815-2 The July 18 card says; "This is the Scouts at Cooperstown on their way walking home. Be there about Thursday. Cecil" The photograph pictures the massed scouts before the grave of James Fenimore Cooper in the churchyard of Christ Episcopal Church, 46th Street Cooperstown, NY, campaign hats lowered, hiking staves and community banners--Oneonta, Morris, Mohawk, etc. held high.  A white-collared young Rev. Yale Lyon is seen to the lower right of "The Scouts" banner in the last row nearest the church.

051815-3 and 4.  Two other postcards show near 100 Scouts and leaders massed before the Indian Hunter Statue in Cooper Park  (later moved to Lakefront Park in 1940). Again, Reverend Yale Lyon shows up wearing a tall-brimmed campaign hat and ecclesiastical collar.  (fifth in from the right margin.).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Recently our museum was given two thin plywood panel boards studded (and we do mean studded--all the items on the first panel are attached to the plywood with small round-headed brass tacks) The items include a Denver, Colo. felt banner, insignia for a Troop 169, Denver, CO., which may have been a war-era Japanese-American Boy Scout Troop sponsored by the Denver Japanese Buddhist Church. Between the banner’s felt ties is a tacked on note that reads:

To Valent- A small token of Friendship and Good Will--     From—Troop 169, Denver, Colo.                                            Japanese Buddhist Church
Also nailed to the board is a 1940-50s era Assistant Scoutmaster patch, a light blue Air Scout patch, two National Jamboree patches, one for the cancelled 1935 Jamboree and a canvas 1950 Jamboree pocket patch. Ranging down the left side of the panel is a series of felt and twill patches for camporees held in 1947 and 1948, and two patches for Camp Ki Shau Wau, a Chicago area camp owned by the Starved Rock Area Council. The last summer camp program at CKSW was held in 1976 but these two camp patches have been identified as from the1947 time period. At the bottom of the column is a felt 1948 Chicago Council Round-up patch.At the bottom of the right column is a triangular felt patch for a 1946 Camporee in the Corn Belt Council, another Boy Scout council in Illinois that eventually merged with the W.D. Boyce Council.

Camp Ki-Shau-Wau was a former Boy Scout camp owned by the Starved Rock Area Council (and later by the W.D. Boyce Council after the merger in 1972) located one mile east of Lowell, Illinois along the Vermillion River. The last summer camp program was held in 1976. The camp opened in the 1920s and was sold in 1989. 

Down the right side of the board is a 1951 felt Otschodela Council Jamboree Circus patch, a dark blue felt Crumhorn Mountain B.S.A. for 1948 or 1949 (the same patch was used for both years), a generic green felt Trail Builder patch issued to Crumhorn Mountain campers who helped bushwack out the camp’s first hiking trails, and a green and white felt Crumhorn Mt. Camp B.S.A. for 1951.  Seemingly out of place with this group is a Troop Eleven Hackensack (NY?) twill patch.
Crumhorn Mountain Camp in south central New York was established in 1948 on Crumhorn Lake, in the Town of Maryland near the Otschodela Council’s headquarters in Oneonta, NY. After the war ended in 1945, it soon became apparent the old Camp Deerslayer on Otsego Lake did not meet the requirements of the expected increase in camp attendance.  The camp at Crumhorn Lake, with one name change in 1989 to Henderson Scout Reservation, still serves the council’s campers today.
Down the center of the panel is a collection of 1940-50s era red-on-khaki and brown-on-dark green community strips, mostly for central New York communities:

One curious note: The patches that have been carefully removed by pulling the tacks with a small upholsters’ tack puller tool reveal penciled names underneath: “John” underneath the 1935 Jamboree patch, “Walley” under the 1950 Jamboree, and “Hank” under the Troop Eleven Hackensack patch. Curious to see if the name Valent appeared under the Assistant Scoutmaster patch, we carefully removed the tacks to find penciled “Scouts of America!”

Panel #2, 1950s Era Travel Decals

Souvenir travel decals are a part of America's automotive vacation and touring history. They were made and sold by the untold millions during the Golden Age of highway travel--1945-1970. Today, they have virtually disappeared.  While not exactly Boy Scout memorabilia like on the first panel, their bold graphics and variety make them highly collectible today. (Actually, many Boy Scout patch manufacturers in the 1950s and 60s also supplied decals from the same designs.)

The second panel displays a collection of 18 1950s era travel decals from Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado and the San Antonio Zoo, including a topless Shy Anne pinup (“Cheyanne,” get it?) promoting Cheyanne, Wyoming’s world famous “Frontier Days.” If girls dress like this redhead during Frontier Days in Wyoming, it must be an unforgettable sight at the rodeo.  Two of the decals are triangular Conoco Touraide logos, which also appears on a Nebraska Conoco Touraide decal featuring the towering State Capitol at Lincoln, Nebraska.  We did not try to soak off any of the decals to see if there were any penciled names underneath. 
Check out Lost Highway Art Co. at, where you can find out much more about travel decals like the ones found on our plywood panel.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1926 FIRST AID GUIDE for the Official Boy Scout First Aid Kit

The museum recently received a little 80-page booklet titled First Aid Guide for the Official First Aid Kit Boy Scouts of America, with a note attached: "Here is a 1926 First Aid Guide that was given to me by a woman friend of Marge's that I believed had belonged to her deceased husband. It seems to me that it might be an interesting item for the museum. If you agree will you please deposit it there."

We get many of the vintage Boy Scout items for our museum this way--a short note and a request to "do something with it, thanks."  Boy Scout First Aid Kits are favorites because they fairly shout the Scout motto "Be Prepared" and the contents (if still intact) speak to us of the often curious treatment of minor accidents in generations gone by. 

After some introductory words about the frequency of accidents among the young, and the wrong kind of bravery in boys who pay no attention to their wounds when a minor accident happens--they think it a sign of a "softie"--a "Miss Nancy" to take care of a little cut or scratch, keeping it exposed to dirt and germs, the booklet gets down to business about arterial pressure points and the use of a tourniquet, treatment of burns and scaulds, bandaging and the use of a Boy Scout neckerchief as a sling, bites of animals (Snakebite: "...after you have sucked the wound as clean as possible, it should be cauterized with iodine or by heating a wire, nail or the blade of a knife."), the dangers of coal gas, treatment of apparently drowned persons, and how to make a rescue carry from a second story window. "Grasp his coatails and lift them over your shoulder, carrying the patient in the same way you would carry a sack of potatoes--but more gently."

Under the section, "Your Health," Scouts are advised about good eating habits. "Mixing frankfurters, pickles, ice cream and chocolate is likely to result in stomachache," and "Constipation is responsible for many a headache and many a low mark in school."   "Live up to the Scout Motto: Be Prepared."  

The Troop 1 Unadilla Boy Scout Museum accepts donations of memorabilia that help us tell the 100-year story of the Boy Scouts of America and of the oldest continually chartered Boy Scout troop in the nation. The museum is a part of the Unadilla Historical Association, a 501c3 nonprofit organization preserving and interpreting our Unadilla community history.

Contact Brian Danforth, Scoutmaster and UHA Secretary for a schedule of when to visit the museum (607-369-2007) or Donald Tuttle, UHA Vice President and Troop Historian (607-369-7323).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


While preparing a new exhibit on the two “hats” Rev. Yale Lyon wore as Scoutmaster of Troop 1 and as Chaplain of the H.Y. Canfield Hose, Hook and Ladder Company, we learned of the availability of an Ajax Chemical Fire Engine, essentially a large hand-drawn chemical fire extinguisher on wheels that could shoot a powerful stream of water and carbon dioxide gas into a fire that starts in grease and oil, tar, paint or turpentine. The Ajax operated by breaking a glass bottle of sulfuric acid into a canister of bicarbonate of soda, all inside a large steel tank. The resulting 80-foot high-pressure stream was touted as the equivalent of 9,000 pails of water.

An Ajax Fire Engine was often one of the first pieces of mechanized fire-fighting equipment within the means of a small town fire department. Unadilla’s Ajax may have been purchased and put into service by the Unadilla Fire Department as early as 1910 but perhaps as late as the mid-1920s.


It is the Unadilla Historical Association’s intention to acquire this fire engine, restore it to its original condition as a project for the Unadilla Fire Post No.1 to use in parades and firematics demonstrations. Because of the danger of chemical burns, we intend to install a modern fitting on the unit so it can be operated with compressed air.

Project Restore Ajax begins this month as soon as weather warms and our young firemen rescue the unit from its weedy fence-row grave and send on its way to get a new set of “fire engine red” clothes. You can follow our progress of restoration toward the “reveal” on Flag Day June 14, 2012 on this blogsite: While you are here you might want to read a related story on Rev. Yale Lyon’s 1915 “Splendidly Equipped Scout Fire Auxiliary” posted below.

If you want to do more, why not consider a cash donation toward this project. We estimate the cost of the project at $1,200, which covers the full restoration, pin-striping and decals, and a new parade banner for our Scout firemen of today.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Troop 1 Scouts As Auxiliary Firemen

A view of the splendidly equipped troop at Unadilla, N.Y.

We occasionally plug in the term "Unadilla Scouts" to see what the search engines cough up and this time we hit on an article in the December 1915 issue of Boys' Life magazine depicting the boys of our Troop 1 as a "splendidly equipped scout fire auxiliary." Here's what the article had to say:

"Troop 1, of Unadilla, N.Y. has the distinction of possessing what is probably the best equipped auxiliary fire apparatus of any troop in the country. They are organized as a regular auxiliary to the Unadilla Fire department. Their scoutmaster, Yale Lyon, has been chaplain of the two fire companies in Unadilla for the past five years. He owns a fire wagon and two horse carts, which he turned over to the members of his troop for their use.

The duty of this scout fire auxiliary is to go with supplies for the regular firemen in case of fire. The are not expected to take any active part unless in a great emergency, or in any way not directed by the firemen.

Unadilla scouts have had a great many drills and exhibitions and are proficient in handling the apparatus. So far, however, the scouts have not had an opportunity to put their equipment and training to a real test at a large fire. But the boys are confident that they would be able to give a good account of themselves should the occasion require."

Today, the youngest members of the Unadilla Fire Department are organized as BSA Post 1 Unadilla and are trained and equipped much the same as the adults. "We still don't let them fight building fires but they do serve in other essential ways," says Advisor Ken Mazzone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010