Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - January 2015

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

 

Boys' Hotel Houses Early Scout Troop in Kansas City 

The Boys’ Hotel was a different kind of establishment than most Kansas City residents would have expected to find in Northeast Kansas City in early 1910. The thirty young men that called the hotel home were on average sixteen years old and had to pay their own room and board every week. They paid between $2.00 and $2.25 per week for room, board and laundry and were like guests in any other similar establishment, except they were a lot younger and were all on their own. If they did not like the hotel they were free to leave at any time, but they probably could not find a better situation in all of Kansas City.

Charles Hahn was appointed the superintendent of the Boys’ Hotel in late 1912. He had begun his career working as a parole officer for the juvenile court in Salt Lake City, Utah and had recently served as the youth minister for a church in Independence, MO. He was familiar with the values and program offered by the Boy Scouts of America. The Boys’ Hotel Scout Troop was one of the earliest troops organized in Kansas City, MO. Judge Porterfield, the sponsor of the Boys’ Hotel realized that the values espoused by this new organization that was taking root in Kansas City were values that he hoped to instill in the boys that lived at the hotel. The Boys’ Hotel Troop was often pictured at parades and other important civic events. The troop was always meticulously uniformed and looked almost military in their bearing. The troop often camped along the Blue River not far from Grandview, MO for their weekend outings or summer camps on property that was eventually acquired and donated to the Boys’ Hotel and named Camp BoHoCa.

If you have Scouting history questions or suggestions for future articles, please email email me at adubill@aol.com.