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History of Cradle of Liberty Council #525

Delmont Council #507 of the Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1911 and consisted of Delaware and Montgomery Counties of Pennsylvania, hence the name, DELaware and MONTgomery. Some say Delmont is a Lenni Lenape word meaning "valley between two hills," but it is unlikely. Delmont Council opened several camps in its early years of existence. The first was Camp Pequea on the Susquehanna, about 15 miles southwest of Lancaster. In 1913, the first Camp Delmont was opened on Whites' Island in the Delaware below Scudders' Falls. Camp Delmont then moved to Pioneer Island in the Schulykill River in 1915. Then, in 1916, Delmont Council purchased 35 acres in Summneytown, Pennsylvania for $500.00. The propert included a stone farmhouse. This is the present site of the Funk Camp at Camp Delmont, the home of the C.O.P.E. course.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Council #525 was formed in 1912* to serve the scouts of the city of Philadelphia. In 1913, Philadelphia Council bought Ridges and Marshall Islands in the Delaware River around Pipersville, PA, and renamed them Treasure Island Reservation, due to someone commenting that the purchase of the reservation was the "treasure" of the Philadelphia Council. Today, this is the oldest continuously operated scout camp in the United States. In 1915, on Treasure Island, the Order of the Arrow, WWW, was founded by E. Urner Goodman and Carol Edson, Camp Director and Assoc. Camp Director, respectively. This was the creation of Unami Lodge, One and one of the greatest movements within Scouting history. See for a complete history of the Lodge.

By 1929 Camp Delmont had reached its current size of 794 acres. The camp consisted of Camp Wilbur, north camp; Camp Cedar, central and lakefront; and Pioneer Camp, the far eastern camp, and Camp Funk, where, after the launch of the Cub Scout Program in 1934, was the original Cub World Activity Center. In this year, 1929, Delmont Council, under the direction of Jack Foster, the sports director, founded Delmont Lodge, 43 of the Order of the Arrow. They selected the Saville Memorial Lodge as the lodge totem. They opened a cermonial site on the far side of Unami Creek, using the Bridge of Smiles as a cross. The Lodge House was Tops'l Lodge. After the demolition of the Bridge of Smiles, circa 1960, the ceremonial grounds were moved to an area behind Schweiker Lodge, main site, and below Oak Lodge, Thunderbird Rock, a pre-ordeal and brotherhood site. See or for a complete history of Delmont Lodge, 43.

In 1930, Philadelphia Council opened the roughly 500 acre Camp Hart adjacent to Delmont Council's Camp Delmont along the Unami Creek. In 1934, Delmont Council changed its name to the Valley Forge Council #507. Roger S. Firestone, founder of Firestone Tires became influential in the Valley Forge Council, donating much money to the perpetuation of Scouting. In 1956, Valley Forge and Philadelphia Counicls formed a Federation, and founded Resica Falls Scout Reservation, a 4000 acre scout camp in the Poconos, with primary funding from Roger S. Firestone. A plan called for 5 smaller camps within the Reservation, similar to Delmont, however only 2, Big Springs and Great Bend were completed, and Firestone was opened as an Explorer Post. Today, Big Springs and Firestone are still in operation, Big Springs being a traditional Summer Camp program, and Firestone based on a more rustic patrol method camping.

Over the next 46 years, Valley Forge hosted the National Jamboree three times; 1950, 1957, and 1964; and opened the World of Scouting Museum in Valley Forge Park behind Washington Memorial Chapel. The Philadelphia Council holds the largest Scouting for Food program in the country. These two councils grow to two of the highest ranked councils in the nation. Resica Falls was released upon the demise of the Federation and remained in the hands of the Valley Forge Council.

In 1996, due to finanicial troubles in the Philadelphia Council, Valley Forge and Philadelphia merged to form a new council, Cradle of Liberty Council #525. The council maintains two headquarters, one in Center City, the Bruce S. Marks Service Center, and the Roger S. Firestone Service Center adjacent to Valley Forge National Historic Park. In 1999, the Cradle of Liberty Council opened Camp Garrison or Cub World, on new ground attached to Camps Delmont and Hart. Upon a generous donation from the CEO and Founder of Safegaurd, the three camps were grouped under the name of Musser Scout Reservation, creating a 1400+ acre super-camp in Green Lane, PA.

Upon the merger of the two councils, the two OA Lodges had to be merged. Upon a vote of general membership of the two lodges, the name Unami Lodge, One were maintained and Delmont Lodge, 43 became defunct. This is the second time a lodge was absorbed into Unami One. Unalachtigo, 8 was an OA lodge based on the Turkey Clan of the Lenni Lenape. It was at Philadelphia's short lived Camp Biddle in Media, PA. It was folded at the closure of this camp in the late-1920's.

Today, Cradle of Liberty is the third largest council in the USA and presently serves over 87,000 youth in Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Governed by a board of directors comprised of leading citizens and staffed by a professional Scouter team, the council is charged with both promoting and carrying out all types of Scouting programs in the three county area.

Greg Heleniak


Troop 117, Plymouth Meeting, PA
Cradle of Liberty Council, BSA
Baden-Powell Chapter, Unami Lodge, One, WWW
Unami Lodge, One, WWW