The Boy Scouts of America held its first national jamboree in July 1937 in Washington, D.C. According to Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Sc... -- 25,000 Scouts took part in the gathering, camping around the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin.
A front page Southeast Missourian article published June 28, 1937, noted 39 Scouts from 13 area towns departed Cape Girardeau that day by Frisco train for St. Louis. At St. Louis, their car was attached to a special "jamboree train" for the trip to Washington. Not only does the article provide a photo of the youngsters, it also lists all the Scouts by name:
Periodically over the 10-day gathering, the Missourian printed photographs and articles about the boys and their activities. While the newspaper says "a Missourian photographer" took pictures in Washington, he isn't identified. G.D. "Frony" Fronabarger almost certainly photographed the boys as they prepared to leave Cape Girardeau, but we haven't been able to confirm that he accompanied them to Washington.
A local journalist who did make the trip was Leo Schade, editor of the Cape County Post at Jackson. His 1991 obituary notes: "In 1937, he accepted an honorary assignment with the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C. He was one of four feature writers on the staff."
Letters reprinted in the Missourian came from Kenneth Rudert, George Ashley, Tom Biard, and William F. Suedekm Jr. Here are some excerpts:
Published July 3, 1937
"We arrived in Baltimore, Md., at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday and switched engines from a locomotive to an electric engine, which brought us to Washington, D.C. about 8 a.m. We boarded a bus which brought us to the camp grounds.
"We saw the Capitol from a distance and we went by all the government buildings and also saw the Washington Monument...
"Boy Scouts have been arriving from all over the nation today...
"Airplanes have been flying overhead constantly, and two big TWA passenger planes have been carrying passengers all morning and a Goodyear Blimp has been flying low over the grounds. Some newsreel cameramen were here all morning taking pictures..."
Published July 8, 1937
"Wednesday -- The Jamboree officially opened this morning... Late today the troop went on a sightseeing trip, first to the Washington Monument. On the way we met boys from England, Canada and Norway.
"We traded various articles with other Scouts and then visited the Lincoln Memorial... At 6:30 (p.m.)...we went to the Arena for the big campfire program... A campfire story was told us by Theodore Roosevelt Jr...
"Thursday -- This morning we went to Mount Vernon... We went through Washington's home and we saw his stage coach. We saw his and his wife's burial place...
"Friday -- ... This afternoon a troop was invited by Congressman Orville Zimmerman of Missouri to see the Capitol, the Congressional Library, and the Supreme Court. In the Capitol we saw the Statuary Hall, the old Supreme Court room, the central dome, the House of Representatives, and the Senate Chamber..."
That evening Dan Beard presented Eagle badges to all the local Eagle Scouts, including John H. Cochran and Thomas Baird from Cape Girardeau, Andrew Williams from Charleston, and Bud Wicker from Kennett.
"Saturday -- ... Part of us went to the Smithsonian Institute and the rest went to a swimming pool or stayed in camp...
"Monday -- ... Six boys were chosen to go to Arlington with Thomas Baird in charge to honor the memory of the soldier dead and the unknown soldier..."
Published July 9 , 1937
Tuesday -- "The boys all had leave this morning... Most...went on an educational sightseeing tour... This afternoon...some went to see the White House, Bureau of Printing and Engraving... One bunch of boys got to see the Senate in session, and some saw the place where Lincoln was shot..."
Published July 12, 1937
"Thursday -- ... At 8:15 (a.m.) we all had to be ready to march for the big parade to come off...at 10:30 o'clock. We left our camp at 8:30 and marched all the way up to the center of the city. All the Jamboree Scouts assembled after the parade on Constitution Avenue a line on each side of the street to hail the President and his cabinet when they came by... The President rode in an open air car and sat on the right side. Mrs. Roosevelt was on the left side... This afternoon nothing special was on so it left the boys to have a free afternoon. The boys scattered out. Some went again to the Smithsonian...and one bunch of boys took an airplane ride and rode bicycles.
"Another group of boys paid one dollar to see Annapolis..."
"Friday -- The troop woke this morning at 6 o'clock. The first thing we did was to pack our clothes and check in our bedding... The different troops of Section P were leaving all morning so that about noon half of the camp was gone... This evening practically everyone was gone. We had supper with the Sea Scouts. We left camp at 8 this evening. Everyone sure hated to leave because we've had such a good time..."
On the return trip, the boys stopped in New York City, where they saw the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center and Coney Island. Their train trip also took them to Niagara Falls, Buffalo, N.Y., and Detroit, Mich.
The Southeast Missouri contingent returned to Cape Girardeau on July 13, 1937:
Tony Smee submitted these two photos. See his comment below.