Posts Tagged ‘Old Camps’

Here at Broad Kaw Valley, we maintain a What Is It page in hopes of identifying mysterious (at least to me) Boy Scout items.  One such item, shown below, has been in my collection for close to 15 years and I finally figured it out last week.  The felt “W” patch shown in the image was found on a shirt with a khaki and red “Macon” community strip at appears to date from the 1930s.

Camp Winnetka

In terms of figuring it out, here’s how it went down:

I posted a link to the What Is It site on patch-L and received response that it might be from Lake of the Ozarks Council which was based in Jefferson City, Missouri and that the patch was featured in the June 2003 ISCA Journal with a “Boonville” khaki and red strip.  After a few searches, I came up empty…so I turned to facebook.  I became a fan of Great Rivers Council (based in Columbia, MO) and posted the image on the wall.  Shortly thereafter, I got the response I was looking for:  Camp Winnetka near Moberly, MO.

A few more searches and I came up with a good case:  Moberly is 25 miles south of Macon and 40 miles northeast of Boonville.  The patch has been found on shirts with Macon and Boonville khaki and red strips. Also, I found an article from 2008 about a Macon, MO scout troop celebrating its 75th anniversary.  It references Scouts meeting at Camp Winnetka near Moberly in the 1930s before moving into the basement of the Macon United Methodist Church.

My conclusion?  Camp Winnetka sounds like a pretty good match to me.

If you have any additional information on Camp Winnetka or need help identifying a patch, please contact me.

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This week we stray to the east, to what is now Powell Gardens. As you may know, Powell Gardens, the very popular botanical garden, southeast of Kansas City, was previously a Boy Scout Camp. The history web page for the gardens states, “Mr. Powell donated the 640-acre farm to the Kansas City Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, who used it as a regional camp until 1984,” at which time Heart of America Council disposed of the property.

In reading, Trail to Eagle: Six Decades of Scouting in Kansas City, there is reference to Camp Powell being split into two sections: one for district and unit events and one for training. The book states that Ernst Training Area (ETA) was located near the largest lake. Camp Powell was used for training activities for youth and adults. In the early 1980s the Brownsea leadership camp was held at Camp Powell.

Following are some scans of patches that say “ETA”, both participant and staff and also a conservation patch, from a local collection:




Did anyone attend training at the Ernst training area? Does anyone recognize the patches?

To close, here are three Camp Powell patches:

Kansas City Area Council-era

No council name

Heart of America Council-era

In response to this post, reader Matt Perryn sent the following scan of a KCAC-era Powell Scout Reservation Patch on white twill.  Compare to the first Powell patch above which has an off white twill background.  Thanks, Matt!

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My Boy Scout career began with Troop 86 in Olathe, Kansas. Although I don’t attend any meetings these days, my scouting registration is still through the troop. We celebrated our 75th anniversary in 2005 and as part of the celebration a book was put together about the history of the troop, aptly titled, “Troop 86 History.”

The book includes the text from several newspaper articles recounting the beginnings of scouting in Olathe. One article from The Olathe Mirror dated July 24, 1930 caught my attention. It reads:

Raise Funds for Boy Scouts
“Camp George” Algire located West of Olathe
Permanent Cabins to be Erected

…”Camp George Algire” is a beautiful plat of 40 acres situated on the Creek (Cedar Creek) 4 1/2 miles west of Olathe on the newly chatted road. F.W. Sickles who constructed a new bridge at this point reports a stream of water was encountered 8 feet below the surface…This means that the swimming pool which is to be built will have an abundant flow of fresh, cool, water at all times. Permanent cabins are to be built for the three Olathe troops and the Deaf School. The camp is to be thrown open for the use of all Boy Scout Troops in Johnson County and it is certain we will have boys in camp at all times during the camping season.

Sounds promising, right? Well, sadly the book states that although several campouts were held on the land, a few months later the property was sold and no further plans were carried out.

I did a little searching and found the location of the camp. The Johnson County Historical Society has digitized old atlases of the county. Here is a view of the general area mentioned in the article.

Johnson County Atlas, 1922

The northeast portion of section 31 is labeled Willard Algire. The northern boundary is 135th Street or Santa Fe Street in Olathe. This is also known as Prairie Center Road. It is not clear weather Willard was George’s father or if the “W” in G.W. Algire stands for “Willard”. The atlas also indicates that the property is 160 acres, while the camp is listed as 40 acres. A portion of the property may have been sold between 1922 (date of the atlas) and 1930 (date of the article).

Here’s the location of the property from Google Maps:

Of particular interest to me is that house where I grew up in Olathe is a little less than three miles from Camp George Algire.

This begs the question, are there more Boy Scout Camps in the Kansas City area that were short lived?

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