Boy Scout Troop 157
Weston, Massachusetts

About Troop 157

The Weston Scout House, a history...

The idea for a Scout House in Weston really began in 1938 when Girl Scout leaders and some of the members of the Weston Girl Scout Council enlisted the support of Wilmot Whitney and Harold "Red" Travis to help them raise the funds to build a Girl Scout House. As soon as $3,000 was raised by private donations, Josephine Sturgis Bidwell and Harold Travis went to see the Misses Louisa and Marion Case to offer them that amount for the purchase of the triangular piece of land at the intersection of Wellesley and School Streets. "The two spinsters agreed to think it over and in about three weeks, Miss Louisa phoned that she'd like to see Mrs. Bidwell and me for tea at her winter apartment on Beacon Street, in Boston. My heart and face fell when she greeted us with 'My sister and I have decided not to sell you that three acre piece for the Scout House!”  After we sat down, she continued, ' But after  giving the apex to the Town as a permanent park in memory of our parents, we'd like to give you the base of about an acre for your Scout House. Will that be satisfactory?"'  Thus began the efforts of the mothers and fathers of Weston scouts to raise the remaining funds needed to construct a permanent home for scouting in the town of Weston.

The old records show a discrepancy as to who drew the plans for the House. Red Travis remembers that it was Samuel Mead of Conant Road, a well-known Boston architect, and Mrs. Sumner records that it was Mrs. Stanley Kellogg who drew the plans.

During the next three years funds were raised through the sale of a Cookbook, a Minstrel Show, a Wesleyan Glee Club performance and a rummage sale, "the largest of its kind ever held in Weston," filling both floors of the Town Hall.  From 1938 to 1941 the fund-raising efforts of the newly formed Weston Scout, Inc. and the Mothers Club of the Weston Council of Girls Scouts successfully raised over $4,500 for a grand total of $7,5OO, the estimated cost of constructing the Scout House.  Mesdames Kellogg, Bidwell, Granis, Hammond, Moody, and Sumner played a prominent role in successfully realizing this goal. Ground was broken in June 1941 and construction was completed in September. The Mothers Club held a "Kitchen Shower" to furnish the kitchen in the colors of green and cream. Many of those items are still in use today. Fathers and sons armed with shovels, picks, hoes, rakes and wheelbarrows spent a morning grading and landscaping the grounds. "An improvised tractor with J.J. Rowan Jr. at the helm led the attack on several piles of loam." Plantings around the House were still being cared for by a group of energetic volunteers from the provisional group of the Weston Garden Club.

It was the original intention of the "founders" that the House be a meeting place for all of Weston's Scouts - both female and male. But when word of such an idea reached the New York headquarters of the National; Boy Scouts of America a letter was quickly sent to Mr. Travis stating that the Weston charter would be revoked if Boy Scouts were allowed to use the building for any reason!  Thus, the House became exclusively a Girl Scout House for the next thirty years until the advent of coeducation into some part of the Boy Scout program!

In 1962, to mark the 50th Anniversary of Girl Scouting U.S.A., a small tulip tree was planted near a driveway. It was rescued from certain destruction by a group of scouts seeking marshmallow sticks! Today it had grown to a healthy size and provides shade for outdoor activities.

As the House approached its fortieth year it was beginning to show signs of aging and use. Expenses were always increasing and some major repairs were urgently needed. So, in 1980, under the skilled leadership of then president, Donna Wheelock, the Trustees of Weston Scouts, Inc. launched a Capital Campaign Fund. Two years later they had successfully raised enough for some capital improvements and an adequate endowment fund. Again, Red Travis played a major role in the effort -personally contacting friends and former Scout leaders and negotiating the most important gifts. Red Travis died two months after being recognized for all of his efforts on behalf of the Weston Scout House and being named an Honorary Trustee of Weston Scouts, Inc.

This year we celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Weston Scout House. Today, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cubs and Boy Scouts regularly use the Scout House as their primary meeting place. There they are able to store equipment and project materials and the meeting space is ample and inviting. There have been very few changes in the original building and it has endured fifty years of lively and energetic scouts with great resiliency. The original heating system has been replaces with one more efficient; hot water has been added to the kitchen sink; some doors have been replaced with added safety features and the back porch has been rebuilt. Repainting the exterior clapboards is, or course, repeated every few years. The Trustees of Weston Scouts, Inc. continue their role as guardian of the House and share the responsibilities of guiding it into the next fifty years.

From a history on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, 1991.