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Special EVENTS
derby was held May 15, 1953, The 1937 National Scout
in Manhattan Beach’s Scout Jamboree—delayed two
House, a building still in use years because of a polio
IN EARLY 1953, 10-YEAR-OLD by Scouts. outbreak—took place liter-
Cub Scout Donn Murphy Before long, officials at the ally in the shadow of the
of Manhattan Beach, Calif., national office in New Jersey Washington Monument.
decided he wanted to heard about the pinewood A temporary arena stood
compete in the Soap Box derby. Boys’ Life published between the monument
Derby. There was just one plans for pinewood derby cars and the White House, while
problem: You had to be 12 in 1954, and packs across the headquarters tents stretched
years old to enter. That meant country were soon scheduling west toward where the World
Boy Scouts were welcome, but annual races. War II Memorial now stands.
Cub Scouts were not. Murphy told his story in Campsites filled much of
Donn’s disappointment a 2001 book called Simply the open space south of
inspired his father and Pinewood!. He had a cameo the Lincoln Memorial and
Cubmaster, Don, to create in the 2005 film Down and on Columbia Island. The
a Cub Scout-size alternative Derby, a comedy about an Jefferson and Korean War
to the Soap Box Derby. Not ultracompetitive pinewood Veterans memorials both
just for Donn, but for all derby in an Arizona Cub stand on former jamboree
From June 30 to July 9, 1937, 27,000 Scouts camped in the shadow of the
the members of Pack 280C. Scout pack. Don Murphy campsites. Washington Monument and saw the sights of Washington, D.C.
Murphy and other pack died in 2008. His obituary, Not surprisingly, the
dads, many of whom worked in the Torrance, Calif., Daily Scouts took full advantage of at the Tomb of the Unknown exhibits, merit badge sympo-
with him at North American Breeze, was titled “Father of their surroundings, visiting Soldier (there was just one sia (foreshadowing the Merit
Aviation, assembled racing the Pinewood Derby.” every monument, memo- unknown soldier in those Badge Midway), and elaborate
kits in brown paper bags, each rial, and museum in sight. days). campsite gateways.
consisting of a block of wood,
More than 22,000 traveled to Despite the urban setting, Perhaps the most impres-
two wooden axles, four nails,
Mount Vernon on crowded the jamboree featured plenty sive gateway was a striking
and four wheels. While the cruise ships, nearly 20,000 of traditional Scouting replica of Springwood,
Cub Scouts turned these kits MANY PARTICIPANTS IN toured major public build- activities, including archery, President Franklin Roosevelt’s
into cars, the adults built a National Scout Jamborees ings, and 22,807 attended semaphore signaling, and log home in Hyde Park, N.Y.
32-foot, two-lane track—com- since 1981 have enjoyed side the Washington Senators’ rolling in the Tidal Basin. The Roosevelt himself inspected
plete with an electrical finish trips to Washington, D.C. For three-day home series against jamboree also inaugurated the gateway when he stopped
line—on which the cars participants in the very first the Boston Red Sox. To mark some enduring traditions, by the jamboree, inaugurating
would race. jamboree, however, the city Independence Day, jamboree including the daily Jamboree yet another jamboree tradi-
And so the first pinewood was the destination. representatives laid a wreath Journal, trading posts, national tion: presidential visits. ¿
1973 1976 1979
The National Eagle For the first and only time, the BSA holds the To celebrate America’s The BSA’s national office Florida Sea Base joins the family The ninth edition of The Boy Scout
Scout Association National Scout Jamboree at two sites: Farragut bicentennial, 750 moves to Irving, Tex., after of Scouting’s national high-adven- Handbook, written by William “Green
(NESA) is launched. State Park in Idaho and Moraine State Park in Eagle Scouts and 25 years in New Jersey. ture programs. Bar Bill” Hillcourt appears, marking a
Pennsylvania. Scouts and leaders number 73,610. adult leaders camp return to traditional Scouting skills.
all summer on the
National Mall in
Washington, D.C.
Events.indd 37 11/19/09 9:19 AM
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