Scouting’s White House won’t be demolished

Monday, April 22, 2013
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The White House at Boyhaven in Middle Grove has been part of the Boy Scout camp since 1934.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
The White House at Boyhaven in Middle Grove has been part of the Boy Scout camp since 1934.

— The Twin Rivers Boy Scout Council is considering what work is needed on the historic White House building at Camp Boyhaven, but there’s no truth to rumors it will be demolished, a council official said.

“They’re complete rumors,” said Drew Chesney, the council’s vice president of programs. “We’re going to be evaluating the building and seeing what we have to do.”

The council staff only began preliminary discussions about the aging building’s restoration a couple of months ago, he said, and it’s too soon to say any options have been developed.

“It’s an old building. It needs some attention,” Chesney said.

The house is on Boyhaven Road between Rock City Falls and Middle Grove, surrounded by more-primitive camping and storage structures. The White House functions as the headquarters for the camp, which is used for camping and other outdoor activities by Cub Scouts and Webelos from throughout the Capital Region.

The camp ranger lives in the White House, and it has the camp office. Chesney said the White House will continue to serve those purposes this summer.

Apart from its role at the scout camp, the building is one of the oldest in western Milton: It can be documented as far back as 1830, when it was the home of Isaac H. Frink, a prosperous farmer who raised cattle and hogs. The 320 acres along the Kayaderosseras Creek that are now Camp Boyhaven were once part of Frink’s farm. Some local stories tie it to the Underground Railroad, which helped runaway slaves flee north before the Civil War.

The building is known as the White House, not as an accurate description of its color but in memory of Harry L. White, who was president of the Schenectady County Boy Scout Council from 1964 to 1969. The name was given to the house when he retired, and has been used ever since.

The Boy Scouts have operated Camp Boyhaven since 1924, originally under the auspices of the Schenectady Council, which later merged with others to form the Twin Rivers Council, based in Albany. The land that includes the White House was purchased in 1934, when the camp was being expanded.

 

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