Scouting History in Connecticut

This page last updated on May 04, 2013

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HISTORY OF COUNCILS IN THE BSA

Copyright 2003 Honor Publishing

CONNECTICUT Boy Scout Council History
By Ed Henderson

As one of the 3 smallest states in the union, one might not suspect that Connecticut would have had so many council's in its history but the Charter Oak state has actually seen 22 different cities serve as a Scout Council Headquarters with a rich history of camps, councils, and memorable events.

Today there are four councils located within the state with a small portion also served by the Narragansett Council in Rhode Island. Two of the councils:

Connecticut Rivers Council #66 & Connecticut Yankee Council #72 are relatively new entities, the final result of a number of consolidations over the past 90 years. Together they service a vast percentage of the state. Connecticut's other two surviving councils are representative of the kind of small town councils that once covered the Northeast Region. Each serves a relatively small geographic area.

The earliest council organization in the state dates back to 1913 with the New Haven Council (Council # 74). Because there has been such a long history of Scouting in the state, several websites specifically dealing with Connecticut history have been developed:

The Alfred W. Dater Council, which lasted until 1972 has a website (off line when last checked, but only temporarily). The website features a scrap book cover almost the entire life of the Stamford-Alfred W. Dater Council, starting with a sheet of penciled notes for the 1917 agenda and ending with news clips from February, 1973 -- a span of 56 years! The website, when on-line can be accessed at: http://www.stamfordhistory.org/rg5.htm

The entire state of Connecticut is in the Northeast Region of the B.S.A.

GREENWICH COUNCIL http://www.greenwichbsa.com/ is today one of the smallest councils in the United States, serving the Southwest corner of the state near New York City. The communities served are: Bellehaven, Byram, Coscob, East Portchester, Glenville, Greenwich, Mianus, Old Greenwich, Pemberwick, Riverside, and Rockridge as well as West Putnam Ave. The Council here was established in 1917 as Council Number 67. In 1929 there was a brief number change to Council # 810 before reacquiring its old number. The council remains essentially unchanged through today. The Council has one short term camping facility which is very popular with scouts from many councils.

Seton Scout Reservation at http://www.greenwichbsa.com/seton_reservation.htm has a long and colorful history of it's own. A special website detailing nearly 45 years of camp history can be found at: http://www.greenwichbsa.com/history_of_seton.htm

To see all of the unit websites within this council visit:

Net_Roster/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Councils/council.asp?cid=49

HOUSATONIC COUNCIL http://www.housatonicbsa.org/ is based in the town of Derby. Scouting at the council level began here in 1918 with the creation of the Derby Council # 69. In 1921 the name was changed to the current one, Housatonic, with the same council number. The entire council serves just eight communities: Ansonia, Derby, Ederby, Huntington, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton, making it one of the smallest councils in the United States. The Council camp & Training Center are located at Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation. There is a separate website with a good bit of detail about the camp at:

http://www.lnvalley.org/hcbsa/essr/essr.html

including a biography of the namesake for the camp and a brief history of events at the facility.

To see all of the unit websites within this council visit:

/Net_Roster/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Councils/council.asp?cid=50

CONNECTICUT YANKEE COUNCIL http://www.ctyankee.org/ is based in Milford CT, one of Connecticut's larger communities that began hosting its first council headquarters only recently in 1998 when the current council was created. A good deal of information about the council, including a complete list of all communities served can be found on the excellent Scouts New England website at http://members.tripod.com/~SNE/cyc.htm
Because there have been so many pieces to this council's historic tapestry, we have broken down the history by looking at some of the earlier councils that made up the current council.

Quinnipiac Council

When the last merger took place in 1998 forming the modern day Connecticut Yankee Council, it was between the Hamden CT based Quinnipiac Council (#74) and the Fairfield County Council (# 68). The Quinnipiac Council can trace its roots to the earliest council in the state to the New Haven Council (#74) based in New Haven, which was founded in 1913. In 1921 the word AREA was added to the council name and in 1929 the council name was changed yet again to Southern New Haven County Council while still being based in New Haven. New Haven's hosting duties ended in 1935 when the council changed headquarters city and name to become the Quinnipiac Council located in Hamden CT. With the motto "Cherish the Wide Earth" the council continued operations here until the 1998 merger. During it's run as Quinnipiac Council, they also picked up another council in 1978, the Meridian CT based Central Connecticut Council. This council had gotten its start in 1915 as the Meridian Council # 71 and kept that name until 1929 when the council became known as the Central Connecticut Council # 71. This council was absorbed by the Quinnipiac Council in 1978.

Fairfield County Council

The Fairfield County Council was itself, the result of a number of earlier council mergers. The town of Norwalk first hosted the Norwalk Council # 75 in 1917. IN 1932 this became the Central Fairfield Council. In 1935 there was a slight name change to Mid-Fairfield Council. This name lasted until 1952 when another merger took place creating the Mauwehu Council # 75. With the formation of Mauwehu Council the council banner left Norwalk with the new headquarters being located in Ridgefield CT. In 1972 the various scout councils in Fairfield County consolidated to a single council. At this point the Mauwehu Council #75 joined up with the Pomperaug Council #65 & the Alfred W Dater Council # 78 forming the Fairfield County Council #78. The new Fairfield County Council also returned it's Scout Headquarters to the city of Norwalk and ran from 1973 to January 1st 1998 before becoming a part of the modern day Connecticut Yankee Council #72. Obviously there were other earlier councils involved with Pomperaug Council & the Alfred W Dater Council. Pomperaug Council was based on the coastal city of Bridgeport CT. Council Scouting got it's start there as simply the Bridgeport Council # 65 in 1915. In 1936 the name of Pomperaug was adopted and the council continued on until the three way county consolidation in 1972. The other part of what became the Fairfield County Council was the Alfred W. Dater Council but its origins go back to the Stamford Council #78 which was established in 1916. This council continued there until 1939 when the Alfred W. Dater Council name was adopted (still Council #78) but with the headquarters moving to Glenbrook CT. The Glenbrook based council continued on from 1939 until the three way 1972 merger.

Camps of the Connecticut Yankee Council

As you might suspect, with so many mergers and former councils making up the modern day organization, each council over time also added their camps to the modern day offerings. Currently there are five council facilities and each of these camps are promoted on several websites. We recommend the following URL's for additional information on the council's camps:

OFFICIAL COUNCIL CAMPING PAGE
http://www.ctyankee.org/camping.html

CONNECTICUT SCOUT CAMPS PAGE (Council camps begin with CYC)
http://www.scouter.com/compass/Where_To_Go/BSA_Camps/Connecticut/

Scouts New England's Connecticut Yankee Council Camping Page
http://members.tripod.com/~SNE/cyc.htm#bscamp

The five council camps for Connecticut Yankee Council are:

Camp Pomperaug - 175 wooded acres with access to a Council-owned one acre island located in nearby Lake Mashapaug. There are canoes & cabins for rental. Located near Union CT.

Camp Sequassen - Since 1922 tens of thousands of Scouts and Scouters have camped at Sequassen. Located in New Hartford, along the shores of West Hill Pond, Camp Sequassen is made up of 560 rolling, woodland acres. This facility is the main summer camp of the council.

Camp Wah Wah Taysee - located in Hamden on rolling hills adjacent to Sleeping Giant State Park. This camp could be considered a back pack camp, everything must be carried in. The camp occupies 16 acres.

Deer Lake Scout Reservation is located in Killingworth (approximately midway between New Haven & Groton) about a 15 minutes drive north of I-95. The camp contains a lagoon, a field, hills & a COPE course.

Hoyt Scout Reservation - The John Sherman Hoyt Training Center and Scout Reservation is a 174 wooded acres and is open year-around for tent camping. There is a cabin with electricity and hot and cold water, two inside flush toilets, kitchen, etc. Located in West Redding.

To see all of the unit websites within this council visit:
Net_Roster/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Councils/council.asp?cid=48

CONNECTICUT RIVERS COUNCIL http://www.ctrivers.org/ is based in East Hartford CT, and has a history very similar to that of Connecticut Yankee Council, with this modern day council forming in 1995 and being the final result of over a dozen mergers during the past 90 years. A good deal of information about the council, including a complete list of all communities served can be found on the excellent Scouts New England website at

http://members.tripod.com/~SNE/crc.htm

Because there have been so many pieces to this council's historic tapestry, we have broken down that history by looking at some of the earlier councils that made up the modern day Connecticut Rivers Council # 66.

Indian Trails Council

Until the modern day Connecticut Rivers Council formed on January 1st 1995, there had always been a council headquarters in the Norwich CT community. The first organization being the Norwich Council # 76 which organized in 1917. This council gave way to the North New London County Council of the same number in 1922 and ran six more years when the name was changed to the Eastern Connecticut Council # 76 in 1929. This council continued until 1972 when it helped form the Indian Trails Council #73. Indian Trails, while keeping its headquarters in Norwich CT, adopted the council # 73 and ran on until 1995. While Norwich had a council for over 80 years in the northern part of New London County, a very similar history was taking place in the southern part of New London County. In 1917 the New London Council # 77 was established before changing its name in 1923 to the South New London County Council. In a history that mirrors it's northern county counterpart, the council changed names again in 1929 but this time back to simply being known as the New London Council. This time the name stuck for just six years. In 1935 the name was changed to the Pequot Council and continued operating as such until 1972 when the county consolidated into a single council.

Long Rivers Council

The Capital City for the state served as a council headquarters dating as far back as 1915 when the Hartford Council # 70 was organized. In 1933 the name was changed to Charter Oak Council # 70 and operated until 1972 when a complex merger of four councils took place including Middlesex County Council # 674, Mattatuck Council # 80, the Nathan Hale Council # 73 and the Tunxis County Council # 79. This four way merger became the Long Rivers Council # 66 and operated until the final merger of January 1st 1995 when operations moved to East Hartford across the river and becoming the modern day Connecticut Rivers Council # 66. The Mattatuck Council got its start in 1915 as the Waterbury Council # 80 located in the city of its namesake.

In 1935 the council experienced a merger with the Naugatuck Council # 72 which precipitated the name change to Mattatuck Council. The Mattatuck Council continued operations until the four way merger of 1972. The Naugatuck Council # 72 mentioned earlier was located in Naugatuck CT and was created in 1917 before ending with its absorption into Mattatuck Council in 1935. Another of the four councils that made up Long Rivers Council was the Torrington CT based organization with history dating back to 1918 when the Torrington Council # 79 was established. In 1929 the Torrington Council became known as the Northern Litchfield Council with the same number and headquarters city. This operation ran until 1947 when the name was changed for the final time to the Tunxis Council - lasting until the 1972 four way merger. A third council involved in the 1972 merger that formed Long Rivers Council was the New Britain CT based council # 73. The council here was first chartered in 1916 as the New Britain Area Council - lasting until 1953. That year the council changed it's name to the Keemosahbee Council.

In 1967 Keemosahbee found itself in a merger with Bristol Council # 66 to form the Nathan Hale Council # 72. New Britain's service as a council headquarters city ended five years later in 1972 with the four way merger to form Long Rivers Council. Before moving on, to the last of the council's involved in the 1972 merger, it needs to be noted that the Keemosahbee merger in 1967 was with the Bristol CT based Bristol Council # 66. This council had operated continuously since 1917 until its merger in 1967. The last ingredient in forming the Long Rivers Council, which eventually became today's Connecticut Rivers Council was the old Middlesex County Council # 674 based in Middletown CT. This organization developed in 1924 and ran until the massive four way merger of 1972.

In the rich history of Connecticut Rivers Council there is one final footnote of a long since vanished council that operated as the Manchester Township Council # 68 in Manchester CT from 1917 until 1925 when it ceased operations. To aid Scouters trying to keep track of all of these past mergers the Connecticut Rivers Council even has a website listing it's past councils at: http://ctrivers.org/council/oldstuff.htm

Camps of the Connecticut Rivers Council

As is the case above with Connecticut Yankee Council' there are quite a few camps, past & present, that have served scouts over the years. Currently the modern Connecticut Rivers Council has seven camping facilities. Each of these camps are promoted on several websites. We recommend the following URL's for additional information on Connecticut Rivers Council's camps:

OFFICIAL COUNCIL CAMPING PAGE
http://ctrivers.org/camping.html

CONNECTICUT SCOUT CAMPS PAGE (Council camps begin with CRC)
http://www.scouter.com/compass/Where_To_Go/BSA_Camps/Connecticut/

Scouts New England's Connecticut Yankee Council Camping Page
http://members.tripod.com/~SNE/crc.htm#bscamp

The seven council camps for Connecticut Yankee Council are:

Camp Cochegan Rock - Located in Montville CT on 100 acres this is a short term camp with a Dining Hall and tent sites. NOTE - This camp may no longer be in use, it is not mentioned on the current council website - always check with the camping office of any council before trying to visit any property.

Camp Mattatuck is located near the town of Plymouth. The camp has added a climbing wall to its 500 acre spread. Each summer more than 2,000 scouts attend camp including some 1,250 for a week of Boy Scout Summer Camp.

Camp Nahaco - occupies 135 acres and has a pond/lake (50 or more acres) for swimming, boating, canoeing, and sailing. They offer tent camp sites, Adirondack (lean-to) shelters and winter cabins for overnight groups, an activity field for athletics & camporees. Again, the site is not listed on the council web page - check for current availability.

Camp Tadma is near the town of Bozrah. Celebrating over 50 years of operation the camp is a major Boy Scout Summer Camp as well as a Cub World with several themed program areas. The camp even has its own dedicated web site at: http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Trails/7847/

Camp Wakenah is in Salem CT. The camp occupies 90 acres and has a pond/lake (50 or more acres) for swimming, boating, canoeing, and sailing. They offer tent camp sites, winter cabins and family camping for overnight groups.

Webster Scout Reservation - The June Norcross Webster Scout Reservation has over 1,100 acres just east of Warrensville. There are 12 campsites & complete facilities including a Dining Hall.

Workcoeman Scout Reservation is located on the shore of beautiful West Hill Lake in Winsted, CT. Established in 1924, it is one of the oldest, continuously operated scout camps in the country.

To see all of the unit websites within this council visit:
/Net_Roster/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Councils/council.asp?cid=51

The author maintains the links at NetRoster, Scout Camp Database and the ScoutCamp.org for South Carolina. For corrections contact him at BigEd@usscouts.org

Where would you like the staff at the Scouting E-Zine to take you next,
write us at info@honorpub.com and tell us which state's history you want to
read about in our next issue!

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