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About Troop 1

 

For over 100 years boys and dads (and some moms) have been gathering in a "Sooner log cabin" in the basement of First Presbyterian Church to learn knot-tying, plan camping trips and to recite the oath " On my honor I will do my best..."

Troop 1 is the oldest troop in the Indian Nations Council, the oldest Troop in Oklahoma, and one of the oldest in the nation. The Boy Scouts of America was founded on February 8, 1910 and shortly thereafter Troop 1 was formed.

When telling the Troop 1 story, perhaps it’s best to start from the beginning of Tulsa itself, when in 1892 the Hall brothers (James & Harry) helped bring the Frisco Railroad from its then, end-point in Vinita to just short of the banks of the Arkansas River to better serve the cattle business in the area. But, it was in 1898 & then again in 1901 when oil was struck, first in Red Fork, just across the river from downtown and then the mother lode in Glenpool, just a few miles to the south that put Tulsa on the map.

The oil boom had created quite an overcrowding problem for our little Tulsa town and C.E. Buchner became the catalyst to build Tulsa’s first YMCA. As Secretary of the newly formed YMCA, “Buck” knew that while the “Y” made room for those families who had literally dropped into the Tulsa landscape without a place to go, the children still needed some structure to their lives. One of the many good deeds that “Buck” did for the community of Tulsa was to form a Boy Scout Troop. Through his initial efforts, on May 10, of 1910, a Sunday school class at First Christian Church took on the task of sponsoring Tulsa’s first Scout troop, Troop 1. Buck knew that he could not shoulder the entire responsibility himself so in September of that year he convinced a good friend, Fred E. Bossard, to accept the position as our first Scoutmaster.

Not long after forming however, Troop 1 faced its first challenge. The First Christian Church Sunday School superintendent could not be convinced that Scouting was nothing more than a paramilitary organization. Forced to find a new home, Troop 1 was quickly accepted by First Presbyterian Church in early 1911, which has been our chartering organization and home ever since. It is presumed that Troop 1 may have first met in the old wooden church building at the Southwest corner of 4th & Boston, just a half-block away from the old YMCA. But not for long, as 1st Presbyterian Church was also growing. In late 1911 the congregation moved to what was called “the Dome Building” at the southeast corner of 7th & Boston, where the church remains today.

Troop 1 met in the basement of “the Dome Building” for fourteen years, until the new “Sanctuary Building” was constructed in 1925. By then the church was convinced that Troop 1 was a keeper and decided to give us our own permanent space in the basement of the new Sanctuary Building, where we met for the next 84 years. Of course by then, Scouting had grown by leaps and bounds and Troop 1 had also grown into Troop 2, Troop 3 and several others, which all met at 1st Presbyterian.

Through the decades our basement Scout Room has looked much the same as it did after a 1933 remodel, when it was decorated to resemble a “Sooner Log Cabin” where many of the Scouting symbols you can still see today were wood-burned into the walls and beams of our historic room. Except for another small remodel in 1997, the Troop Room remained unchanged until 2009 when the church took on a multi-million dollar building expansion project which placed the Troop Room in jeopardy of falling victim to the wrecking ball.

Once again, the church decided that Troop 1 was a keeper and early that year the Troop was informed we were being relocated to the Bernsen Family Life Center (the former Masonic Temple built in 1922) across the street to the west. In spite of some tears and heartburn by several former Troop-1 scouts and scouters, the Troop decided to make lemonade out of lemons.

Troop 1 Assistant Scoutmaster and Architect Max Wells was asked to design a new Troop Room, one that is new and exciting, meeting the needs of the Troop while still preserving the character and history of the past. To accomplish that, we disassembled the entire room, one board at a time and moved it to the new space creating an expanded version of the old, with the new. We preserved our ‘Sooner Log Cabin’ by painstakingly relocating each board to the new space, making it better than it ever was before. Through countless designs and redesigns, the old Troop Room has been transformed into the room you see today.

Twice as large, but with the same log cabin character that hundreds of Scouts have enjoyed for decades, all remains the same. Through the dedicated efforts of many, thousands of dollars, two building contractors and three years later, what you see today is where Troop 1 hopes to make its home for the next 100 years.

The history of Troop 1 - and Tulsa itself - is written on the knotty-pine walls of our meeting room and not a single board was discarded in the new construction. Pictures of campouts and ribbons and awards from hundreds of scouting events tell of our rich tradition. Countless names are penciled and wood-burned on the rough-sawn wood, including Former Oklahoma Governor. Frank Keating. Hundreds of other names are also on our walls, most of the Eagle Scouts have left their mark by being allowed to autograph the Troop Room walls when they become Troop 1 Eagle Scouts, a cherished honor. It’s a recycling project like no other. From the old knotty pine walls with the wood-burned Merit Badges, to the old camping wash bucket light fixtures, to the electrified Coleman lanterns, to the old canoe in the rafters, and all the other memorabilia, it’s like peeking into great-grandpa’s attic.

Tulsa honored Company D, 11th Engineers, 36th Division when they returned home on June 12, 1919 with the Arch of Welcome. The arch, made of paper mache, was erected on Main Street between 3rd & 4th Streets and was built at a price of $3500 and paid by public subscriptions.Community service has been a hallmark of Scouting and Troop 1 from the beginning. In addition to hundreds of service projects led by Eagle Scouts over the years, the Troop distinguished itself during World War I by scouting walnut groves for the Army to make propeller blades, harvesting a peach crop in Perry, OK, and helping build an "Arch of Triumph" for a downtown parade for returning soldiers

 Troop 1 provided the Guard of Honor when General John J. Pershing visited Tulsa in 1921. Troop 1 joined other Tulsa troops to help register African American citizens for food and clothing following the race riot in 1921. In fact, many of the victims of the race riot found shelter in the basement of the old “Dome Building” and found a place to sleep on the summer camp cots of Troop 1 Scouts and Scouters. More recently, Eagle Scout Leadership Service Projects rendered service to public schools, homeless and disadvantaged children, the Tulsa animal shelter, the Red Cross, churches, elementary and middle schools, high schools and the handicapped. Troop 1 Eagle Scout Service Projects can be found literally all over town.

Of course,
camping has always been a focus in Scouting. In the early years, Troop 1 camped in many of the same places we now camp: Camp Euchee, NE of Sand Springs (near what is now John Zink Ranch), Camp Parthenia (now Camp Loughridge) and, since 1925, Camp Garland (now a part of the Mabee Scout Reservation), a few miles south of Locust Grove, OK. In 1937 Troop 1 attended the first National Jamboree held on the Mall in Washington, D.C. In the summers of 1997, 2001, and 2005 Troop 1 has attended the National Jamborees at Ft. A.P. Hill near Washington, D.C., and recently attended the 2010 Centennial Jamboree.

Today, our campouts include weekend camping each month of the year at numerous locations in the region, canoeing, and backpacking treks in the Rocky Mountains as well as Summer Camp at Hale Scout Reservation outside of Talihina, OK. Most summers you will also find Troop 1 Scouts attending high adventure bases at Seabase in Florida, Northern Tier in Minnesota, and the crown jewel of Scout camping Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.


These days Troop 1 has just under 100 registered Scouts and 50 adult leaders, making it one of the largest troops in Indian Nations Council. We meet every Monday night in our new/old Troop Room and camp once a month.

As we begin our second century, Troop 1 intends to both honor and continue the tradition of excellence, leadership and Scouting principals established so many years ago.

We welcome you as our guest. Take your coat off, pull up a stool, share in our rich history, prop your feet up at our campfire, have a cup of coffee and stay awhile…stay a long while.

Troop 1 Eagle Scouts

1950 Scrapbook - 40th Anniversary Celebration

Recollections of Troop 1 1947-1953

Troop 1 in the News