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History of the Nentico Lodge

A Brief History of Nentico Lodge, Baltimore Area Council

Since 1922, Nentico Lodge has carried out the mission of the Order of the Arrow, recognizing Scouts and Scouters of Baltimore and the communities of central Maryland who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. From the first summer at Camp Linstead on the Severn River, and over the 100 years since, an estimated 30,000 Arrowmen have taken the obligation as a member of Nentico Lodge.

The Beginning (1922-1942)

The founder of Nentico was Baltimore Scout Executive W. Perry Bradley. In October 1921, Bradley attended the first meeting of the Grand Lodge of the Wimachtendienk W.W. (as the Order of the Arrow was then known,) as a guest of Philadelphia Scout Executive E. Urner Goodman. Goodman and Carroll A. Edson had started the fraternity at Treasure Island six summers prior and it had spread to at least eleven other scout camps in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, New York and Illinois. Bradley agreed to bring the Wimachtendienk W.W. to Maryland’s Camp Linstead and Baltimore was formally granted a charter on May 17, 1922, the first local lodge chartered following the formation of the Grand Lodge.

The charter members of Nentico Lodge were six scouts representing four different troops and four adults including Scout Executive Bradley, Linstead Camp Director W.W. Hill, Assistant Camp Director Thomas W. Marshall and Scoutmaster Horace Varian. The ten were inducted in Camp Linstead’s council ring at 11:00 pm on Friday, June 30, 1922 with Grand Chieftain E. Urner Goodman presiding. The second degree (Brotherhood honor) immediately followed, and officers were installed. An additional twelve scouts and one adult were inducted during four additional ceremonies throughout that first summer bringing the first year membership to 23.

An organizational meeting of the lodge occurred on October 30, 1922 at the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. The purpose of the gathering was to select a lodge totem, adopt a lodge constitution and install new officers as well as to confer the second degree on the others inducted that summer. Sixteen year-old James A. Mitchell, a First Class Scout of Troop 19 became the first Nentico Lodge Chief under the new constitution (bylaws.) The Sakima or Chief of the preceding four months, Francis Campbell, a Merit Badge Scout of Troop 61 had recently turned 16 and left for college.

Scout Executive Bradley had good news to share at that first general lodge meeting. In September, at the Second Biennial Conference of Scout Executives, Bradley had helped overcome objections expressed regarding “camp fraternities” that could have meant an early end to the Order of the Arrow. The conference had instead deemed the Wimachtendienk W.W. an “official experiment” of the Boy Scouts of America. Bradley had also attended the second annual meeting of the Grand Lodge and was elected Grand Scribe. In addition, Camp Linstead would be the location of the 1923 Meeting of the Grand Lodge.

By the time of the second annual meeting of the Nentico Lodge on October 6, 1923, membership had swelled to 80 brothers and Nentico was about to host the Third Meeting of the Grand Lodge. Seven of the twelve lodges attended, represented by seventeen delegates. Business conducted at the meeting included the adoption of a standard “calling-out ceremony” and that the “insignia or jewels for the eleven officials of the Order as instituted and used by the Nentico Lodge at Baltimore, was recommended for acceptance as the standard for the Grand Lodge.” Following the conclusion of business on Friday evening, October 12th,  Grand Scribe Perry Bradley was inducted to the third degree becoming Nentico’s first Vigil Honor member; (the 24th of the Order) receiving the name Pennauweleman, meaning - The Thoughtful. The following day Bradley was elected Grand Treasurer following co-founder Carroll A. Edson’s election succeeding Goodman as Grand Chieftan.

Nentico Lodge continued to grow at Camp Linstead. Assistant Scout Executive and Linstead Camp Director Thomas W. Marshall received the Vigil Honor (the 34th awarded) at the 1924 Grand Lodge Meeting held near Tuxedo, NY. Marshall was given the name Wilawilihan meaning Generous One. In 1925, a delegation from Nentico including Bradley and Marshall installed Unalachtigo Lodge at Wilmington’s Camp Rodney. When that lodge disbanded six years later, Nentico admitted the remaining members. In 1926, the Grand Lodge assigned numbers to the growing list of local lodges, officially designating Nentico Lodge of Baltimore as Lodge 12.

At the Tenth Reunion of the lodge in August 1932, thirty-five members gathered to mark a decade of growth. 349 Arrowmen had been inducted over eleven summers. Nearly a year earlier in September 1931, Leonard K. Brown kept his Vigil at the Ninth Grand Lodge Meeting held at Camp Rotary on Lake George, NY. Brown was 21 years old and had served as Lodge Chief in 1928 & 1929 prior to becoming the 1930 Regional Grand Scribe (Region III) making him Nentico’s first “youth” member of the Third Degree.

Despite the active involvement of the lodge in national and regional affairs during its first decade, the 1930’s witnessed Nentico Lodge absent from the final Grand Lodge Meeting held in 1933 as well as the National Lodge Meetings of 1936, 1938 and 1940. During the decade, members of the lodge did raise funds for a new Council Camp; promote attendance at Camp Linstead among local scout troops; construct a new fraternity ring and engaged in meaningful camp improvement projects thus firmly establishing a legacy of service that continues to this day.

The War Years (1942 – 1948)

Change was on the horizon as Nentico Lodge’s 20th Anniversary approached. In 1942, the U.S. entered World War II and Perry Bradley retired after 26 years as Baltimore Scout Executive. Both events would have tremendous impact on the lodge.  The Baltimore Area Council selected Robert H. Heistand as Baltimore’s fifth Scout Executive. He was a 40-year-old Scout Executive of Columbus, Ohio and fortunately for Nentico, he was also the Order of the Arrow’s National Treasurer. Heistand faced several challenges upon arriving in Baltimore and chief among them was the need to find a new Council Camp.

1944 marked the final Summer Camp at Camp Linstead on the Severn, the council’s camp for 27 seasons. In 1945, 1946 and 1947 summer camp was conducted at Camp Boy Haven (Rock Hall); Camp Cone (Cub Hill); and Deep Run (Carroll County) where the lodge continued to conduct Ordeals and induct new members. The Baltimore Area Council purchased land in northern Harford County for a new “Memorial Scout Camp” with plans to offer summer camp starting in 1948.

1945 saw not only the end of the war but also the return of the Vigil Honor for a member of Nentico, as Heistand conferred the honor on 26 year-old William F. Pramschufer, Nentico’s 1943 Lodge Chief. Only 37 Vigil Honor candidates were petitioned in 1945 from among 326 lodges nationwide. Pramschufer was the 570th Vigil Honor awarded. The National Lodge had been encouraging local lodges to make greater use of the honor for over a decade. Nentico Lodge would soon do so, beginning in 1948.

Due to the war, the National Lodge Meeting scheduled for 1942 had been cancelled. When it finally occurred, the 14th and final National Lodge Meeting, held in August 1946, was significant for Nentico for two reasons. First, after a 14-year absence from the national scene, arrowmen from Nentico Lodge were among the 984 delegates representing 114 lodges who travelled to Chanute Field in Illinois for the large post-war gathering. Second, they witnessed Baltimore Scout Executive Robert Heistand elected as National Chief. He would be the last adult to hold that title. During his tenure as National Chief, Heistand led the National Executive Committee’s effort toward full integration of the Order of the Arrow into the Boy Scouts of America; a goal that would be realized in the spring of 1948.

A Time of Change (1948 – 1955)

1948 marked a turning point for Nentico Lodge in many ways. Over the first quarter century, Nentico had a solid tradition of youth leadership operating under the guidance of senior officers (advisers;) a practice not found in many newer lodges of the time. Only during the period from 1939-1943 was the Nentico Lodge Chief over the age of 21 but even then, Ed Perkins (1937; ’39-’41), Frank Supplee (1942), and Bill Pramschufer (1944) were no older than 24. That changed following the war with many men returning from service and returning to scouting. The 1948 Lodge Chief, Earl Palmer was 34 years old. From 1948 to 1955 the average age of the Nentico Lodge Chief was 31.

In the spring of 1948, Nentico Lodge again found itself in a position to aid in the growth of the Order. A delegation from Nentico travelled to the new York-Adams Memorial Scout Camp to install Tuckahoe Lodge 386 on May 10, 1948. The following weekend the York-Adams Council President travelled to Baltimore’s Camp Cone for his induction. He would go on to serve as Tuckahoe’s first Lodge Chief.

After much planning and anticipation, Broad Creek Memorial Scout Camp operated its “Pioneer Season” in the summer of 1948. The Baltimore Area Council had begun acquiring the property in 1946 and building began immediately. In 1947, Nentico Lodge purchased the original camp development office from the Council for use as a lodge building and members of the lodge were involved in every aspect of planning and building the camp.

1948 also marked the culmination of Bob Heistand’s tenure as National Chief. At the 1948 National Lodge Meeting at Indiana University, Heistand announced that the Order of the Arrow would become fully integrated into the BSA on September 1 and his successor, H. Lloyd Nelson took the reins of the Order as Chairman of the National OA Committee rather than as National Chief. That 1948 Conference is widely regarded as the first NOAC and it set the pattern for every National Order of the Arrow Conference to follow. In appreciation for his contributions, Bob Heistand would receive the Order of the Arrow’s Distinguished Service Award at the Order’s 1950 35th Anniversary Meeting (NOAC.)

With the Order’s integration into the BSA came a new alignment of Order of the Arrow lodges within the BSA’s 12 regions. The first Fellowship Pow Wow of Area III-A was held at Broad Creek in April 1950. Founder E. Urner Goodman attended as did Chairman Lloyd Nelson along with delegates from the 24 lodges in eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Ed Perkins, now age 33 was once again Nentico Lodge Chief and had led the preparations for the event including the construction of Broad Creek’s Tindeutchen Amphitheater and Mystic Circle ceremonial grounds.

Nentico Lodge continued its support of the expansion of the Order of the Arrow.  In May 1952, six brothers from Nentico Lodge traveled to Camp Agawam in New Castle PA to conduct Packanke Lodge 419’s first Brotherhood ceremony. In October 1952 Nentico Lodge conducted one of the initial Ordeal ceremonies for charter members of Amgamek-Wipit Lodge 470 of the National Capital Area Council. In March 1954, about 20 members of Amgamek-Wipit took their Brotherhood honor at Broad Creek.

In 1952 Bob Heistand, acting as Nentico’s Supreme Chief of the Fire named Ed Perkins as the lodge’s first Lodge Adviser and by 1955 youth leadership had been restored following guidance issued by the National OA Committee to all lodges that “adults only have an advisory role in the Order of the Arrow and should not be in leadership positions.”

The Modern Era (1955 – Today)

The lodges of Area III-A would return to Broad Creek for Area Conferences in 1959, 1967 and 1972. Urner Goodman returned to Broad Creek as well and delivered the Closing Challenge of the 1959 Conference. Following that 1959 Area Conference, the tradition of the Nentico Lodge Service Beads was born, a tradition that continues to the present day.

During the 1960’s Nentico Lodge’s Dance Team, Talaco, dominated the Indian Dance competitions at Area III-A Conferences. At the 1971 Area Conference, Lodge Chief Mike Chapman was elected Area Conference Chief, the only member of the lodge to serve in that role.

In 1973 Nentico Lodge attended both the final Area III-A conference and the first SE-1 Section Conclave under the BSA’s new 6 Region alignment. The Baltimore Area Council was assigned to the Southeast Region for a decade until 1983 when Nentico Lodge was one of the five charter members of the Northeast Region’s Section NE-6.

Nentico hosted the inaugural Section NE-6 Conclave in 1983 where Nentico Lodge Chief Doug O’Connell was elected Section Chief. He was re-elected in 1984 Conclave and in December of that year O’Connell was elected 1985 Northeast Region Chief for the BSA’s Diamond Anniversary year. Doug was presented the Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award at the 1986 NOAC in Central Michigan University, on his 21st Birthday. Over the decades, many arrowmen from Nentico Lodge have contributed to the broader growth of the Order as Section Officers and Advisers. Other Nentico Lodge recipients of the Order’s Distinguished Service Award include Greg Buckler (1998;) Tom Moore (2000;) and Kevin Dowling (2015.)

The Order of the Arrow and Nentico Lodge have grown from a simple camp fraternity, to a Brotherhood of Honored Campers, to the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. From Camp Linstead to Broad Creek to the communities of central Maryland, the arrowmen of Nentico Lodge have performed countless hours of Cheerful Service, contributed to the growth of the Order of the Arrow and of Scouting and most importantly, inspired generations of scouts to live up to the ideals of the Scout Oath and Law.