Scout Hut Memories – Circa 1941

Gene Baird

 

The Scout Hut was built in a densely wooded area on the south side of Peachtree Street a

little east of the Cocoa Cemetery in the area where U.S. # 1 is now located. The Florida

East Coast Railroad, just west of the cemetery, at that time had double tracks for north and

south bound trains. An article in The Cocoa Tribune dated May 29, 1941, states “Work

starts on Cocoa Boy Scout Headquarters.” Carl Wolary, building chairman and member of

the Cocoa Scout committee stated that W. H. Bower, a local contractor would do the

construction work (same company that built the Aladdin Theatre in 1924, now The

Cocoa Village Play House.)

 

I recall that it was a simple wooden building twenty-four by thirty-six feet, with a tin roof

and several steps up to the front door. Windows were just openings covered with wood

shutters that were hinged at the top and held open with a pole. The back part of the room

was partitioned off for storage, and perhaps a sink and toilet. I really don’t remember for

sure what was back there.

 

The area where the hut sat was only partly cleared and to the east there was a large oak

tree with a single rope tied to a limb that we could swing on. I remember doing lots of

other fun scout things, like memorizing the Scout Oath, pledging allegiance to the flag,

playing games, which included a variation of hide and seek in the cemetery next door, and

camping out in the woods on the west side of Clear Lake near where the BCC Planetarium

is now located.

 

One thing that stands out in my memory at one meeting was a boxing match with G. C.

Fouraker. I really didn’t want to, but when my fellow scouts started making chicken

sounds I knew I had no choice, my honor was at stake. It wasn’t long before I was seeing

stars and sitting on the floor. For those of you who remember W.K. Fouraker’s younger

brother G.C., you’ll understand why it was a very short round.

 

The local Boy Scout Troop was Troup #4. The adult Cocoa Scout Council consisted of

Carl Wolary, Rev. Charles Voss, Stoney Ford, Ish Brant, Charles A. “Doc” Jones, A. L.

Wooten and Robert Schlernitzauer. An article in the Cocoa Tribune recalls a “Court of

Honor” held in April 1941, where the following received awards: Charles Boyd, David

Bruner, Amos Cox, Joe Allen Cowart, Jr., Frank Darden, Jr., Joey Hobbins, Robert

Newman, Lester Turner, Billy Sanders, Alton Vickers, 1. G. Vickers, Davis Wilson, and

Hugh Greek, Scoutmaster. Other active scouts mentioned at that time were Bobbie

Cowart, Mitchell Ellington, M. Ashley Ringo, Jr., and Charles Voss. In March 1942, Joe

Allen Cowart, Jr., thirteen years old, received his Eagle Scout Award. The Cocoa Tribune

stated, “Joe Allen is one of the youngest Eagles in scouting in Florida.”

 

Another reminder of living in Cocoa during the early 40’s was how dark it was at night

when there was no moon. With very few street lights and so few homes west of the

railroad tracks it seemed you could see every star in the sky. It was about the time that

King Street was being extended from U. S # 1 west, and Fiske Boulevard had been extended from

Poinsett Drive north to King Street. It was always dark when Scout meetings were over, and

one particular night I headed home on my bike, home being the last house at the west end of

Poinsett Drive in Virginia Park. Instead of my usual route out Peachtree then south on Varr,

I rode out King Street then turned south on newly paved Fiske. I remember it was so dark

I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, much less the road. So, I ended up pushing my bike

with one foot on the pavement and the other on the grass all the way to Poinsett where there

was some light. It’s remarkable how such seemingly unimportant events are remembered over the years.

 

As I now drive out Peachtree Street and cross U.S. # 1, past the location of the long gone

Scout Hut, the Cocoa Cemetery (still the same), and the railroad track, it brings back

wonderful childhood memories. It’s strange now, how the distance between U.S. #1 and

the railroad is only a stone’s throw, where, as a boy, it seemed a very long way to me.

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