Honoring the Centennial of Scouting

Exhibit Highlights Lasting Innovations Created by Beaver-Area Scout Leaders

The Heritage Museum’s spring exhibit celebrates the centennial anniversary of Scouting, honoring the creation of the Boy Scouts of America from several independent youth organizations, with an emphasis on the Scouts’ Old Fort McIntosh District (1943-1990). 

Scouting in Beaver began only two years after the Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, when Beaver Men’s Club sponsored the formation of Troop 1 (now Troop 406) in 1912. Local Scouting leaders Dr. Everett Partridge and George Wildman were ahead of their time in developing innovative endeavors. 

“Doc” Partridge, seeing a need for older boys to have more adventurous excursions, began taking his unit on Canadian wilderness canoeing trips, forming the Canoe Trails program in 1947, two years before Boy Scouts of America started the Explorers, Scouting’s high adventure program.  In 1965, George Wildman took over training of the Canoe Trails boys. Under his leadership, Canoe Trails allowed Girl Scouts to go on canoeing adventures in 1966, three years before the Boy Scouts of America became co-educational in 1969. 

Our area has remained a key Scouting area, with two National Jamborees taking place at Moraine State Park in 1973 and 1977, and with local troops actively participating in programs such as Tiger Cubs (1982) and Scouting for Food (1988). Today, Beaver County’s 870 Eagle Scouts attest to a strong heritage.

The exhibit features a trove of artifacts: a 1911 Boy Scout Handbook in pristine condition (on loan from James Foster); a Fort McIntosh District Boy Scouts of America flag (donated by Mike Shovlin, Scoutmaster of Troop 406); and Scouting patches, photographs, and equipment belonging to local Scouts through the years. Also on display is the artwork of Norman Rockwell, who as a 18-year-old art student walked into the office of Boys’ Life magazine and was hired to create the artwork to visually communicate Scouting’s patriotic values and spirit. His work for the Scouts propelled his career, landing him a job as an illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post which led to worldwide fame.

A timeline from the late 1890s to today charts BSA’s national development, from its origins in England.

The exhibit opened with a ribbon-cutting featuring speakers on March 13; District Executives from Pittsburgh, the leaders of the Beaver Valley District, and prominent members of the old Fort McIntosh District were invited. 

While the exhibit is open, several local Troops will camp beside the log house. 

All former Troop members are asked to come and visit the current Troops as they camp, bringing pictures and memories to share. 

Please contact Mike Shovlin to take part in the camping events.

— By Paula Soto