First Boy Scout Troop in Gladstone organized in 1912

Editor’s Note: Information about Boy Scout Troop 466 of Gladstone was written by Steve St. Juliana for the “Gladstone Centennial History Book – 1887-1987.”

The first Gladstone Boy Scout Troop was organized in 1912. The first Scoutmaster was a man named Doig. He was army-trained and very strict on discipline. Twice a week, the Scouts were paraded on Delta Ave. from 9th to 7th Streets and they became quite apt in “squads east” and “squad west” and other army maneuvers.

Regular equipment for each Scout was a six-foot bamboo staff. The merit badge system was followed, supplemented by knot tying, first aid, and woodcraft. Each Scout was religiously required by Scoutmaster Doig to report on his “good deed” a day.

Mention in an issue of the Delta Reporter is made of a picture of about 100 Boy Scouts. Early members of the troop included Carl Olson, Dannie McCarthy, Fred Artley, Clare McCurley, William Murdock, Harold Miller, George Byers, Milfred Brown, Percy Cameron, Clare Lesway, Lionel De Groot, George Hubert, Victor E. Peterson, Walter Lancaster, Clifford White, Alfred Anderson and D.D. Stewart.

After Scouting’s first lush days in Gladstone, a decline set in, probably as a result of the Great War. Reorganization began in 1919 or 1920 with Rev. Grant Perkins of the Methodist church organizing Troop One. This first troop, later changed to Troop 56, continued until 1939. Acceleration of the Scout movement dates from the time Rev. Dow Nagle assumed the pastorship of the Methodist church. He built a strong troop. Soon Scout “fever” was catching on, with civic leaders backing the movement in a city-wide drive until more than 200 Scouts were registered in seven different troops.

In 1922, a committee, headed by W.W. Gasser as chairman, and, with Henry Rosenbum, G.R. Empson, John F. Card, Gus Dehlin, J.D. Staple, Glen W. Jackson, and James T. Jones, undertook to raise $2,000 to finance the movement.

A Scout Camp at Garth replaced the one previously used by Troop One. In July, 1922, 175 Scouts, under the leadership of Scoutmaster Roy Everhart, established the first city-wide Scout Camp.

Scout leaders in those days were George C. Ogden, W.S. Skellenger, Coach Lloyd Gordon, and Lieut. A.A. Alguire. A drum and bugle corps was formed, reported to be the first such organization in Scouting in the country.

Another feature of Scouting in the early days were relay races between Gladstone and Escanaba troops. The first race was won by a Gladstone team composed of Robert Noreus, Harold Bjorklund, Barney DeHooghe, William Firth, Owen Montgomery, John Foy, Owen Longberry, and Leo Bunno.

Escanaba won the second race when the Gladstone team consisted of Wallace Cameron, Barney DeHooghe, Leonard Mineau, William Firth, Keith Campbell, Gordon Mathy, Kenneth Forbes, and John Foy.

The development of Troop One was followed by Troop Two, organized by the Presbyterian church. Five other troops were also organized, with Troop Four of All Saints Church one of the largest.

A decline again set in and soon only Troop One remained under the leadership of William S. Skellenger and Rev. Harry Colenson and Rev. Ira Cargo.

Organization of the Red Buck District in the late 1930s again revived the movement and, in 1939, there were four troops sponsored by the Methodist Church, All Saints Church, and the Lions and Rotary Clubs. Also Cub Scout Pack 20.

Boy Scout Troop 466 was started in 1933 by John Norton, who served as Scoutmaster for several years before turning it over to his brother, Ray Norton. The Gladstone Rotary Club sponsored Troop 466 and still serves in that capacity. There have been many Scoutmasters since then and (by 1987) 60 Scouts have earned the rank of Eagle.

Leaders, in addition to the Nortons, have been Ronald Martin, Harry and John VanBrocklin, Marvin Johnson, Melvin Strom, James Balding, David Scherff, and Alan Salmi. They have had the help of many assistant Scoutmasters.

At one time, Gladstone had the largest troop in the U.P. with 179 boys registered, making it necessary to rent their own camp instead of going to the traditional Scout camp.

Through the years, the Scouts have engaged in many projects to help improve the community, such as, helping with the Spring Clean-up and making the “Welcome to Gladstone” sign, which is visible from the Bay.

Troop 466 was the first troop in the Upper Peninsula to go to Mackinac Island to serve as the Governor’s honor guard. In the summer of 1986, the troop again served in that capacity.