Finding the Camp.
In the spring of 1919, the Scouts began earnestly searching for a permanent campground to call their own. They set their sights on a plateau area of Raccoon Mountain, in Pan Gap, near the Police and Fire Outing Club. The area, nineteen miles from Chattanooga, was on the Tennessee River at Douglas Ferry landing and consisted of a 200-acre plot of land. On older maps the area is still identified as Scout Valley (or Scout Hollow). Chattanooga Boy Scouts knew that this place would be perfect to establish a "permanent camp where traditions will seem more real; where canoeing will actually take place; where campfires will burn and cast flickering shadows upon real, primitive woods, and where hearts and faces will be kept warm and ruddy under the searching shafts of an unobstructed sun."
Directions to the camp were given as "Turn to the right at Pan Gap, turn to the left at Lake Lookout, park your car at the Fireman's camp, and then start up the mountain trail." Once parked at the Fireman's camp, it was described as being "about two miles on the fus [sic] side of the mountain," up an "awfully steep" trail.
Champe S. Andrews reported at the semiannual meeting of the council on March 21, 1919 that the committee had selected the tract of land. Reports said that it was "beautifully situated, surrounded on all sides by great picturesque mountain peaks about an hour's journey from the city." The land "forms a ledge on the side of Raccoon Mountain just at the foot of the sheer cliffs of granite, about 200 or 300 feet in width and about half a mile long." From one side there was a very rugged slope about three-quarters of a mile in length, terminating at the Tennessee River.
The camp could be reached either by river or highway, but in either case "a journey through the wilds" was necessary. "The general direction of the property is a line running parallel to Main street and extended across the river, Moccasin bend and over Raccoon mountain. About an hour is required to reach the camping grounds by road over the mountain. At Lake Lookout the conveyance must be left and walk of twenty-five minutes through the most rugged scenes of the hilly country confronts the camp visitor. The site lies just above Douglas' ferry."
"Two immense boulders placed only a few inches apart, through which the water flows at one point, make it possible to easily dam the gulch and create a lake."
Raising the Money.
The Scouts laid claim to the land, but needed $15,000 to buy the land, build the camp, and form a budget for the year. G.H. Patten, chairman of the finance committee, outlined the plans for a finance campaign.
The primary focus when budgeting for camp was for the price of attending camp to be as reasonable as possible for the boys and with this end in mind and the price-per-boy was fixed at sixty-five cents per day, or $4.50 per week. The Council paid the cooks’ and athletic directors’ salaries.
The Scouts developed a campaign to raise the funds. They had established themselves in the hearts of Chattanoogans, who knew the boys were true community servants. Then, all they had to do was ask. Ten thousand public school children took letters to their parents urging their help in raising funds. George Patten managed a general financial campaign for a week, which consisted of liberal advertising by the Scouts and publicly displaying posters designed by local high schoolers. Scouts also called upon businessmen who had pledged to contribute.
Unfortunately, the campaign to raise money for Camp Raccoon was crippled when the Treasury Department solicited the help of the Boy Scouts in assisting with the victory loan drive. The Scouts devoted their time and energy to raising money for the drive instead of for the camp. At first, Chattanoogans’ generosity seemed overwhelming. Although Scouts stopped canvassing businesses, the checks came in by mail, and for surprising amounts. Even so, the Council only raised about $3,000 because donors believed the campaign would be wildly successful and so cut their promised donations in half. The Chattanooga Council did not give up. George Patten, Chairmen of the Council Finance Committee, stated, "The Boy Scouts simply sacrificed their own interests . . . to answer the call of the government to assist in the victory loan campaign. The people of Chattanooga are not going to fall down on these youths—their own sons." Ultimately, the Scouts reopened the campaign in early May after the victory loan drive ended. Ten days later, a committee composed of about seventy-five local businessmen gathered at the Hotel Patten to discuss the final push for the camp fundraiser. Council President Richard Hardy presided over the meeting. They planned to raise the entire amount needed in one day.
Building the Camp.
Much of the camp was built by Boy Scouts. For example, the dam was constructed entirely by the Scouts working under the direction of an experienced engineer. Much of the work on the buildings were done entirely by the boys under the direction of several foremen.
The Scouts planned two main buildings: The first was a community house built like a hunting lodge, log-cabin style. The other was a mess hall capable of serving sixty Scouts at a time. Four smaller buildings—three small cottages and a community dining room—were also planned. Not afraid of the hard work it would take to make their dreams come true, Scouts themselves built the structures under the supervision of more experienced adults. In addition, the Scouts dammed the stream that snaked through the camp to form a lake and constructed an athletic field. This stream was known as Pan Gap Branch
Work on Camp Raccoon began the weekend of April 25–27, 1919. Troops 1 and 13—a total of about thirty boys—cleared the lake site in a weekend. They unloaded a river barge containing 23,000 feet of lumber donated by various Chattanooga lumber companies: Lookout Planing Mills; Chattanooga Sash and Door Co.; and Stivers, Chattanooga, and Willingham Lumber Company.
Prater-Palmer, Rogers-Bailey, Crisman, and P’Pool Hardware Companies gave tools and hardware. R.G. Pursely gave a mule and Mercer Reynolds gave a horse. Both were harnessed by L.O. Morin of the Southern Saddlery Co. A saddle and bridle described as "splendid" was given by F.F. Sims, manager of the Robert Scholze Tannery. Plows and cultivators were donated by the International Harvester Co. and Newell Sanders Plow Co., and a wagon from the Chattanooga Wagon Co. Three hundred and sixty-five fruit trees, a gift of the Huntsville Rotary Club, were planted. Strawberry plants, donated by D.W. Hunter of the Chattanooga Nurseries, covered one acre.
By the end of June, three officers’ cottages were almost complete and carpenters were beginning the mess hall.
Opening the Camp.
The camp experienced several false-start dates. Scouts originally anticipated Camp Raccoon being open from July 1 until either August 1 or the middle of August, 1919. (It ran until September 2, 1919.) As news of the camp began to spread, troops in towns neighboring Chattanooga planned to camp there. Troops from Dalton, LaFayette, Cleveland, Chickamauga, Bridgeport, South Pittsburg, Menlo, and other nearby towns planned to camp with Chattanooga Scouts in August.
On June 27, the Council announced that camp would open on July 23 and continue through August. Finally, Scouts were promised that camp would open the following Tuesday, on July 29:
The buildings and dam are completed and everything is in shape for the opening. The mess hall, which is 65x20 feet, contains a large dining room and kitchen, cook’s bedroom and pantry complete and will accommodate 100 scouts at one time; there are two officers’ cottages and an officers’ mess hall, each one having three rooms, the cottages having a living room and two bedrooms, while the mess hall has a dining room, kitchen and cook’s bedroom; an athletic field has been placed in shape with a thirty-foot wire backstop behind, and home plate and a wall twenty feet long by fourteen feet high, over which the boys will practice volting, and a running tract; the dam has been built half way up, which is as far as will be permitted by Architect E.E. Betts, as it must settle before completion, which will be done next year. The scouts will be housed in tents which form a quadrangle in front of the scouts’ mess hall. This year the scouts will use one of the original mountain houses as their clubhouse, in which a writing table, victrola and stationery will be kept, and also a supply of sweets on sale for the boys.
In 1919, the camp staff included:
Will Redd of the University of Chattanooga, a terrific athlete and champion regional diver—in addition to being a commissioned Red Cross life saver—was in charge of all athletics and swimming.
Miss Gertrude Wright was out every Tuesday night to beekeeping, gardening, and other subjects with which she was familiar.
Dr. J.L. Bibbs (J.L. Bibb) came out on Saturday nights to lecture to the boys on first aid and personal health.
R.H. Willard (H.H. Willard) joined the boys on Thursday nights to teach telegraphing and flag signaling.
Professor Spencer J. McCallie and Scout Commissioner Champe S. Andrews attended one day of each week to teach different phases of scouting.
R.S. Maddox, Tennessee state forester from Nashville, taught woodcraft and ranger life.
Scout Executive Roy Bachman had general supervision over the camp
The Council paid the salaries of cooks and athletic directors. The price was set at $4.50 per week, 65 cents per day.
Camp Raccoon boasted the first documented camp patches in Chattanooga. Each Scout earned "credits" for different tasks and participation in events. Those with 150 credits were awarded an embroidered arm sleeve emblem. None of these emblems are known to have survived.
Camp weeks began Tuesday afternoon and closed the following Tuesday. Scouts placed their belongings in a wooden box with hinged lid and lock and left the box at the river warehouse at the foot of Broad Street on Monday before the Tuesday they intended to reach camp. Scouts then met on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm to hike out to camp in time for supper.
The August 21, 1919 issue of the Chattanooga News reported that Cleveland Scouts were camping at Camp Raccoon. Mr. Willard was teaching telegraphy and told good stories; Miss. Gertrude Wright talked to the Scouts about bee keeping and poultry raising and urged them to raise rabbits and pultry in their back yards. "Chick" Ellis, boys' director of Chattanooga YMCA, interested the campers in outdoor life and athletics; Prof. Spencer J. McCallie brought a helpful message and some good ghost stories. Dr. James L. Bibb taught first-aid and talked to them about personal health. J. O. Carter led singing and Rev. Claude E. Sprague, of Cleveland, conducted the religious service. The scouts enjoyed baseball and swimming. In camp that week were: Scout James Bivins, Francis Garen (Goren?), Wayne McCulley, Roddy Wilson, Leroy Rymer, Ray Marler, T.G. Chase, Vernon Gibson, John Sprague, John Dethro (Dethero?), Elmo Kinser, Howard Barker, Carl Barker, Fred McDonald, John O'Brien, Herbert Wolf, Dudley Hale, Paul Jordan, Marcus Holt, Paul Bush, Hal Voigt, Frank Voigt, Kenneth Durham, Kendall Arledge, Tyler Morgan, Russell Johnson, Hampton Fancher, Jack Wyatt, Charles Rudiell (Rudicil?), Roy Dalton, Olin Dalton, Roy Smith, John McCarty, and Scoutmaster Claude E. Sprague.
Camp closed on September 2, 1919.
Scout Executive School.
By September 17, 1919, the national council selected Camp Raccoon as one of four camps in the United States where a school of instruction for Scout Executives would be held during the week of September 22, 1919. The others were in Flint, Michigan (Fenton, MI) from September 1-8, 1919; Bear Mountain near Tuxedo, NY (Interstate Palisades Park?) from September 8-14, 1919; and Berkeley, California, from January 21 to 24, 1920. At the school at Camp Raccoon, scout executives were given actual practice and demonstration of work in camp methods and management. Moreover, "the sea-scout plan was discussed and expounded, practiced and indorsed." The school was held under the leadership of Mr. Stanley A. Harris, national field Scout executive of the district; Mr. H.P. Fitch, then of Columbus, Ohio, served as camp director; Roy D. Bachman was of great assistance. Also in attendance were "[t]hree prominent national officers," James Wilder ("Pine Tree Jim"), Chief sea scout and L.W. Barclay, director of the department of education in addition to Stanley A. Harris, national field commissioner (all of New York). Chief Scout Executive James E. West arrived in Chattanooga for the event on September 24 , 1919 and stayed until September 26, 1919. Champe S. Andrews arranged for a sight-seeing tour of Chattanooga for those at Camp Raccoon. Reports claimed that between 39 and 45 men from 14 different states attended the scout executive school.
First Weekend Hike.
After Camp Raccoon closed for the summer, Scouts would hike the area on the weekends. In October 1919, Scouts made "the first demonstration hike of the fall" to Camp Raccoon where a number of boys were examined. Carl Green (Troop 1), Hoyt Zilen (Troop 29), Joe Haskell (Troop 1), Billy Cate (Troop 29), and Ridgely Morrision (Troop 29) passed the examination in first aid, signaling, tracking, scout's pace, fire making and cooking, which completed their second-class examination. Samuel Spencer passed in judging distance, direction, first aid and nature study.
November Scoutmaster's Training Camp.
A day-camp for Scoutmasters was planned for November 7-8 at Camp Raccoon. The council requested employers of scoutmasters to release them from work on these days without financial loss to them. Stanley A. Harris, national field scout commissioner, and other outside help were planned to be enlisted in training the local scoutmasters.
Scouts used Camp Raccoon even during the off-season. For example, the Boy Scouts hosted the Kiwanis club at Camp Raccoon in May of 1920. The Scouts and their guests traveled by auto—as Scouts called them—to the Suck Creek ridge and finished the remainder of the trip by boat. The camp cook served a chicken dinner for all. Troop 1 also camped at Camp Raccoon in May 1920, including Joe Haskell and Assistant Scoutmaster Terrell.
As summer camp approached in 1920, the Council made a wish list of donations:
For Camp: 2 mules, 2 cows, 12 hens, 2 nanny goats and 1 billy goat, 1 farm wagon, harness, plows and harrows, 1 Ford truck; donator of any of the following will have the privilege of naming the gift: Spring house, $500; cottage, $1000; headquarters building, $1,500; Lake completed, $2000.
For Headquarters—Desk, fireproof file cabinet, two typewriter desks, typewriter, mimeograph machine, director’s table, 12 office chairs, rug, 14x12; one five-section book shelves, Ford touring car.
For Scouting for Older Boys—Victrola, stereopticon, 100 folding chairs, 1partition.
For Sea Scouting—Gasoline boat, small barge, flotilla of canoes.
For Bugle and Drum Corps—Twenty-four bugles, 24 parade snare drums, large bass drum.
For First-Aid Corps—Twelve litters, 24 first-aid kits.
Bernard E. Loveman, Council President, discussed one of the Council’s needs, and advertised Camp Raccoon:
We particularly need a Ford car for our scout executive. It would double his usefulness. He has to go out to the camp at all hours of the day. At night he sometimes has to attend two or three, or even four Boy Scout meetings in different parts of the city and suburbs. Such a car would be very useful. It could, besides be used in carrying the baggage of the Scouts to and from the camp, as all Scouts are required to "hike" to the camp.
. . . .
One or two weeks at this camp is part of the program of every Boy Scout, and this stay at the camp is "the event" in the life of these boys. It isn’t a pleasure trip. It is good, hard work advancing the boy in his Scout work, the Scout work that makes them good men and good citizens. But it is work that is made into a pleasure.
The 1920 camp staff included:
Will Redd—Camp Director
Dr. George A. Gay—Director of Activities
Deputy Sheriff "Daddy" Brooks—Camp Warden
Scout Melvin Baldwin—Record Chief
Dr. James L. Bibb and Dr. H.P. Larimore—Camp Physicians
Robert Sparks Walker, D.T. Hardin, the Rev. W.H. Johnson, R.H. Willard, Fred Painter—came on different evenings to assist in the daily program.
Ultimately, Redd, Gay, and Johnson ran the camp under the direction of Scout Executive Bachman.
Gay and Johnson were in charge of first aid, signaling, map reading, map making, cooking, Scout’s pace, tracking, fire making, and similar subjects. Redd taught the boys how to swim, how to use knives and axes properly, how to find compass directions using a watch, and he was also in charge of all athletics. Robert S. Walker, President and Managing Editor of the Southern Fruit Grower and local naturalist, was considered the most interesting addition to camp. Walker came one night each week and taught the boys about bugs, trees, and flowers. The boys particularly found his talks on bees, tumble bugs, and ants the most interesting. Scouts also enjoyed the hikes he led each week before breakfast to teach tree study.
Despite heavy and almost constant rains early in the camp season, the mirth of Camp Raccoon never waned. The boys swam in the lake every morning or afternoon. The invigorating morning swims earned the lake the name "Alarm Clock." The Scout gardens provided fresh vegetables, and Howard Williams, the cook, kept the boys well fed with blackberry cobbler made from fresh picked blackberries and fresh river fish caught in the nearby river. Nightly campfires warmed the hearts of the boys, who sat on logs with their patrols around the fire. There, at 7:30 each evening near the demonstration field, the patrols would try to outdo the others by performing skits and singing songs. The boys and adults bonded around the fires, and each program closed with the scout benediction sung to the tune of "Taps."
The 1920 camp season at Camp Raccoon could only be described as "splendid." A report by Robert Walker noted the following beautiful description of the highlight of Chattanooga Scouting:
Thousands of years ago when the old earth was adjusting her surface she found in hunching her side too much matter at a certain spot, and to make her internal self more comfortable and more uniform a part of her body bulged up like the wrinkle of a soft garment. Nature then set to work and pulverized her stony self by the use of water and heat and cold. This huge hump in nature was then ready for forestation, and vegetable growth has been progressing ever since. For centuries a portion of this wonderful wrinkle has been gazing across Moccasin Bend in the direction of Chattanooga and Missionary ridge. Although only a few miles in a direct air route westward from Chattanooga, to reach the eastern base of Raccoon mountain one must travel eight miles by auto, or many miles more if he chooses to go by water. People who have eyes to see and use them observe that this huge elevation known as Raccoon mountain contains a depression known as Pan Gap. Across this gap wild beast first laid out a trail, and with the coming of the Indians they seized the animal trail, and the white man later wrested it from the red man. This old mountain trail once led to a gigantic pan carved out in the bend of the Tennessee river, but since the construction of the lock and dam below the waters have successfully obliterated it.
As our auto deposits us at the eastern base of Raccoon mountain we find this small trail awaiting us, and we accept its offer of hospitality and guidance. As our moving feet turn the stones that the feet of lesser animals have turned for ages, old sentinels of the forest stand to either side to greet us and shade us from the hot rays of the summer afternoon’s sun. Oaks, sourwoods, persimmons, maples, sourgums, sweet gums, hickories and various other denizens of this rocky mountainside long ago met together here and formed an ideal brotherhood, and it is their company that we are now permitted to enjoy, which smaller children cover the space beneath and nod their fragrant faces as we caress them with our garments. Up and up across the rocky ravines our faithful mountain path leads ups, and as we pause to rest our bodies the white blossoms of a host of American ipecac tempt us, and we are not satisfied until we have plucked a handful. We have scarcely gathered our choice until a yellow daisy-looking flower, with tall, square steam [sic], bearing six greenish leaves, arranged in whorls reminding us of the churn dashers of by-gone days, give us such a welcome that we cannot fail to add some to our collection. So we add a few of the coreopsis major and proceed on our journey. On either side of our path the trailing arbutus, pussy toes and wild honeysuckles have added their floral efforts to the history of the wayside—for it is the month of June.
The cool atmosphere, the land of real fairies and the stones lying within our path too gentle to move out of our way make us oblivious to the steepness of any part of our trail. Ants and beetles hurry across our trail, reminding us of the Saturday evenings of olden days when everybody on the farm was preparing for a day of rest. Here and there timid lizards go scurrying out of sight, and some who have not been trained in the manners of their anthropod brothers peep cunningly around a tree to see if we really deserve the name of being called and civilized people. The gentle brown toads hop across our path, for in Raccoon mountain they are lords of the day as well as the night. On our right and left the ants are busily engaged in pasturing their ant cows—the aphides—on the green foliage of weed and shrub. We pause long enough to watch them strike the aphides honey ducts, which brings a flow of honey dew within reach of their mouths. Under the green wings which nature has prepared for us, and it is tastily decorated with her best patterns of lichens. As we sit for a moment nature takes advantage of the opportunity and directs our attention to some of her other children living in Raccoon mountain, of which she is justly proud.
Scarcely have we rested until a yellow-breasted chat—that amusing clown of the bird kingdom—so successfully imitates a jay that in our imagination we can see the bluish creature not far away. But in the denoeument [sic] of its song the next note is a shrill whistle and the successive blasts echo across the mountain. In its season this bird is the master choir leader of Raccoon mountain. The indigo bunting holds the yellow-breasted chat in high esteem for its mimickry [sic] of song, and the curious and comic antics cut in mid-air by the chat seems to inspire the bunting and challenge it to music. From the highest branch of the tree-top the indigo bunting follows the chat and unwinds a repetition of the song, reminding the nature-lover of a plant whose flowers grow in terminal spikes.
. . . .
On down the slope we move and behold a brook that is chattering and fussing with the stones about something, and as we advance, behold, we see signs of Camp Raccoon—for directly before us some kind and thoughtful persons have gone before and left behind a rustic pioneer bridge made without a nail. As we tread over the chattering stream we think our thanks and bless the name of the Boy Scouts, who have consoled us by a message written in stone, "This is the trail." And these stones that lie at our feet, and larger ones that bask in the shade and sunshine above us, have declarations written in round white pebbles that this place we call Raccoon mountain was once the bottom of the sea.
It takes nature ten thousand years to build one inch of soil, and she has for ages been placing mite by mite and little by little in preparing Raccoon mountain a fit place for both man and beast.
. . . .
Before us straight ahead we see the wonderful royal can[y]on of the Tennessee, while to our left stands a cliff that keeps guard over the Tennessee, and to the east a green peak covered with pines and oaks and blooming flowers. High up on the east side of our right above the infant ravine, are two bubbling springs too secure for a typhoid, or any other dangerous germ, to gain entrance. When one tries to adequately describe these springs and their surrounding beauty, words and sentences flee.
. . . .
Such is the site of Camp Raccoon—the boys’ training school of Chattanooga—containing some 300 acres belonging to the Chattanooga council of the Boy Scouts of America. It is where your boy has and will enjoy the thrill of outdoor life and training so necessary for his physical, mental and spiritual development. On the table to the left stand the mess hall for the Scouts, the campfire cabin, where ghosts walk in the stillness of the night after the storytelling is over, and the many tents where boys live the long-cherished lives of primitive man. Just below the infant cascade that divides the two tables, the little stream has been dammed and here is the cool artificial lake, and it is here that your boy is tought [sic] by Camp Director Will Redd the art of swimming before he is permitted to go to the swimming hold in the Tennessee river below. It is here that the boys just before breakfast are permitted to take a cool plunge which puts the pep underneath their skins for the day. Up the hill to the right stands the cabin of Camp Warden Daddy Brooks, who is always on the job twelve months in the year, looking after the property, and in camping season giving advice and hints to the boys as to the things to heed that their sojourn in the mountain may be a success. Further up we follow the trail and if we carry a pail of water, our patch leads us on top of the table, where is situated the officers’ camp—the cozy cottages of Scout Executive Roy Bachman and the director of camp activities, Geo. A. Gay. The view from the officers’ headquarters is wonderful, and few scenes in America can excel it, because you look squarely into the face of the royal canyon of the Tennessee river. Words become as elusive as a family of young quail and as slippery as an eel in the hand when the mind tries to capture words in the English language to adequately describe the natural beauties of Camp Raccoon and its wonderful surroundings. At no place in America has nature provided a more ideal site for a Boy Scout camp than she has here. The rocks, the waters, the trees, the flowers, the insects and the stars—all of nature’s children—are here in one happy colony to lead the boy into study that can only influence him to become the highest type of an American citizen.
. . . .
I have never found a more attentive crowd and the boys take their work seriously, which means that these lessons leave an indelible stamp upon their characters. On a single practical nature hike taken at 5 o’clock in the morning through the mountains, I never found a single boy but what returned to camp with his full number of birds, shrubs, blooming flowers or trees identified and with knowledge and observation that enabled him to sufficiently describe them on examination. No one can stand by and observe the deep sincerity that prevails in camp at the flag exercises without coming away feeling inspired and impressed by the [boys’] deep reverence for their country’s flag. The director of camp activities each morning inspects the patrol for cleanliness, etc., and they are graded accordingly. At the conclusion of the inspection the patrol which has made the best grade is presented with a first trophy—the skeleton of a horsehead. There is always a keen contest for this trophy which when won is prominently suspended with pride over the tent of the winners. But woe unto the patrol which makes the lowest grade—for theirs is the booby trophy which is also a skeleton of a horsehead with that part of the skull missing which protected the brains! I think these unique trophies are original with Camp Raccoon. A more orderly crowd of boys I have never observed anywhere. Order is the camp’s first law.
One week in June 1920, Camp Raccon had forty (40) Scouts in camp. They came in on the steamboat James N. Trigg. The roster: Carl Carson, Clarence Williams, Robert Sims, Percy King, Evert Aucott, Gabriel Dubois, William Everton, Charles Byrne, Robert Morgan, Oliver McKechan, James Johnson, Harmon Biac(?), James Williams, James Hamontree, Hubert Trippe, Fred Prather, Carter Parham, Dick Price, Clyde Weatherford, John O'Brian, Ralph Weatherford, Bob Alexander, Edward T. Burns, Deakem Felton, Edward Hays, Martin Reynolds, Charles Hughes, Ralph Brensler(?), Bartley Price, Charles Winter, Roy Long, Howard McCall, Jr., Clarence Schroyer, Jr., John Poindexter, Joe Haskel, Fred Thomas, Melvin Baldwin.
Roster from a July 1920 week: C.A. Weeaner(?), Dawson Hall, Bernard Clemons, Stewart Trippe, William Gardner, Walter Garant, Carl Hamontree, Roy Sparks, Elmer Aslinger, Lynn Smith, John Kemmler, Edwin Varnell(?) Thomas Atkinson, Alvis Ott, Edgar Ewton, Ashton Arledge, Sam Sivley, Ralph Craig, Dan Clippenger, Harry Williams, James Oaks, Arthur Williams, Scoutmaster J.W. Miller, Roy Estes, Chilton Thompson, Asa Murray, Clarence Warren, Melvin Baldwin, Ralph Weatherford, David L'Heuraux, Paul Serrich, and Charles Chamberlain.
In July 1920, Walter Cline and two of his assistants went out to Camp Raccoon and took moving pictures of the camp. The name of the picture will be "A Hike Through the Mountains With the Boy Scouts." It includes scenes of the scouts with their hiking outfits, morning dip in the Tennessee river pan, camp fire meeting, taps, reveille, and many other scenes from camp. The picture is gotten up for the "Fox Weekly."
The 1920 summer camp season ended on Tuesday, July 20 having served 219 boys.
In August 1920, thirty-five area businessmen attended a weekend camp at Camp Raccoon. Scout Executive Roy Bachman assigned them to patrols under the following leaders: Crows: Prof. J.W. Edwards. Owls: W.H. Sears. Wildcats: C.H. Winder. Peacocks: Fred Ferger. The camp suffered from terrible rain. The owls received the first trophy: The skull of the horsehead that died possessing all of his mental faculties. The booby trophy was also presented (with no skeleton where the brains would have been). Roster of participants: Morgan Ferrell, J.P. McCallie, Clarence Sutton, R.M. Liner, E.L. Ludrug, C.O. Docker, J.W. Edwards, A.D. Catlin, Robert S. Walker, W.H. Sears, Bob Sears, M.F. Edwards, A.W. Taber, C.P. Wright, John Baumgartner, C.H. Winder, F.B. Englehart, O.U. Dykes, B.S. Annis, George W. Hountz, R.I Brown, G. Graham Owens, H.F. Wenning, J. Fred Ferger, Wirth F. Ferger, D.T. Jones, R.G. Patterson, J.F. Finlay, C.L. Peacock, Randolph H. Willard, B.E. Loveman, Roy Bachman, J.B. Green.
October 16-17, 1920 was the Scoutmaster's training camp at Camp Raccoon. About thirty men went to the camp by truck, and organized themselves into patrols: Arrowheads: H.F. Wenning. Owls: M. Fuller. Ponchos: R.H. Willard. Four first-class scouts were present: Dawson Hall, Robert Sims, Everett Aucott, and Roy Meyers. (Note: It is possible that any rank above First Class was still considered a "First Class Scout").
In December 1920, the Huntsville, Alabama Rotary Club notified the Chattanooga Boy Scout office that it had purchased fruti trees which would be shipped to Camp Raccoon for planting.
The 1921 camp staff included:
Prof. Charles K. Peacock—Director of Activities
Uncle John Macnab—Camp Warden
Dr. H.P. Larimore—Camp Physician
Eagle Scout Melvin Baldwin—Record Chief (in charge of attendance records, post office, and candy store)
Eagle Scout Ralph Weatherford—Commissary Orderly
Eagle Scout Harry Hutson—Dining Room Orderly
Eagle Scout Charles Chamberlain—Kitchen Orderly
Eagle Scout Richard Savery—Assistant in Athletics
Eagle Scout Leonard Murray—Instructor in Bugling
Eagle Scout Robert Sims—Orderly at Scout Leaders’ Section
Eagle Scout Newman Burns—Orderly to the Scout Executive
Coxswain Harry Pass—Gardens and Sea Scouts
Robert Sparks Walker—Naturalist
Fred Painter—Instructor in Wireless
In addition to serving the Boy Scouts, Camp Raccoon was also used as a girls' camp from June 7 to June 21, 1921. The boys' camp was scheduled to open on June 21.
On April 23, 1922, the New York Times reported that the National Boy Scout Council recognized Chattanooga’s achievements. Instead of weekly meetings extending over the period of several weeks to train men in their roles at camp, the Council utilized weekend training camps. The "short, concentrated scout camp training course" was very effective.
In a June 3, 1923 newspaper article, the Council announced plans for Camp Raccoon for that summer:
The scout council has had a road made to the top of the mountain, which is now ready for use. Many troops have already signed up for their week at camp and indications point to the most successful camp in the history of Chattanooga scouting. Of great interest to the boys is the announcement that the usual irksome duties such as carrying water and getting wood, has been abolished. The lake is full and shooting through the spillway. The expense has been further reduced this year and a week will cost the scout only $4. Indications are that the majority of scouts in Chattanooga will take advantage of the camp during one of the four weeks of June 25 to July 23. Any scout who fails to go will certainly be the loser.
E. Dempsey Jones was selected as one of the few camp instructors for Camp Raccoon for the summer of 1923.
In 1925, the Council sold the property and used the money to purchase 93 acres on North Chickamauga Creek near Hixson that became Camp Tsatanugi.
The continuous growth of Scouting in Chattanooga, and problems with the water supply, led to the sale of Camp Raccoon in 1925, and the money used to purchase 93 acres on North Chickamauga Creek near Hixson that became Camp Tsatanugi.
The reason the Chattanooga Council decided to sell Camp Raccoon and build another camp in 1925, can be found in a Chattanooga Times article dated March 13, 1925 that announces the purchase of property for the new camp:
Several offers have been made the Scout council by parties wishing to take over the Raccoon mountain scout camp, which has existed since 1918. Handicaps which the scouts have experienced there, proved rather serious for their purposes, but do not affect the value of the land for other projects. The water facilities for swimming have been very irregular, on account of the small streams supplying the artificial pool being unreliable. Last year, one of unusual drought, the streams practically dried up. Access to this camp is poor, except by river, due to the lack of roads.
PHOTOS FROM CAMP RACCOON