History of the Mountain West Council


The earliest references to scouting in Idaho occur around 1914, when a number of Troops were organized. Troop 1 was chartered to the First Presbyterian Church, under the leadership of W.G. Sloan and Murray Badgley. Troop 2 was organized by Richard Kading and Eugene Farner at St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral, which was also the meeting place for Troop 6. Troops 3 and 4 were lead by J.C. Armstrong and Dr. H.B. Colver and met at the First Methodist Church. The First Baptist Church organized Troop 7 under the direction of Ora E. Strawn. The first LDS unit was Troop 13 and the First Catholic sponsor was St. John’s Cathedral which chartered Troop 15.

In 1919, leaders in Boise formed a Scoutmaster’s Association and named Ora E. Strawn from Troop 7, as its president. On May 28, 1919, an organizing meeting was held to consider establishing a local Boy Scout Council for Boise City. The meeting was held at the Boise Commercial Club, atop the old Boise National Bank Building.

Idaho State Supreme Court Justice Charles P. McCarthy was later elected president of the Council and Ora E. Strawn the Council Commissioner. The chartered name was the Boise Council. Arthur B. Tebbetts was commissioned as Scout Executive and office space secured at the 618 Overland Building.

In May of 1927, Elmore and Owyhee Counties were added to the Council and the Boise council changed names to the Boise Area Council. At about the same time the Council moved to a new rented facility in the 700 block of Idaho Street, where it remained until 1957.

In 1950, the Council conducted a contest to rename the existing council. A Scout from Troop 30 won a week at summer camp by submitting the winning name, Mountainview Council, which would remain for the next 18 years.

In 1956, Harold T. “Buck” Jones, arranged with the City of Boise to lease a plot of land at Fort Boise Park for the purpose of building a new council office. The office was originally designed for two career scouters and two office staff. Somehow it was stretched over the years to handle the load and was used up until March 1995.

The Western Idaho Council, located in Nampa was issued a charter in 1927. Two years later, in 1929, the name of the Council was changed to the Oregon-Idaho Area Council, with the addition of the southwest Idaho counties and eastern Oregon. In 1933, the name of the Council was shortened to Ore-Ida Council. The Council remained headquartered in Nampa, in the offices of the old Chamber of Commerce at the Old City Hall. Charles F.D. Baptist served as the first Council Executive.

By the end of 1966, Interstate 80 (subsequently changed to Interstate 84), from Boise West into Oregon had been completed, thus shortening travel between the two councils. This, “coupled with economic and communication factors,” led to the feasibility study by both councils to consider the council merger. Financially, the Ore-Ida Council was in the stronger position of the two. However, they were in the process of losing the lease to Camp Billy Rice, and the Forest Service terms for a new lease were not financially feasible for the Council. The Mountainview Council already had deeded facilities for summer camp.

The Executive Boards of both councils met in a special joint session on October of 1967, at the Nazarene College in Nampa. The meeting was chaired by Henry Falkner, from the Mountainview Council. A ballot was cast for implementation and merger of the councils, to become effective on January 1, 1968.

“When it came time to select a name for the new council, a ballot was taken and the count indicated exactly one-half wanted the name to be Treasure Valley, and one-half wanted it to be Ore-Ida. Mr. Falkner was then prompted by Nephi Grigg to make a decision. Henry announced “Fellow Scouters, the name of the new Council is Ore-Ida Council. Henry Falkner was elected President of the new council.”

By 1990, the Council offices in Fort Boise Park had long since out-served it’s usefulness. Council President David L. Palfreyman was elected in 1991 and charged with the primary goal of seeing a new Service Center come to reality. Palfreyman recruited attorney Eugene C. Thomas to chair the building committee.

An outstanding site was donated by William H. Moseley and Allen T. Noble on the Southeasts corner of Franklin and Maple Grove Roads in Boise.

The family of the late Farris C. Lind, who had dreamed of helping build a new council office building, was contacted by Palfreyman, Thomas, and Kim A. Hansen, Council Scout Executive. The project was off and going because of a generous cash contribution and the desire of the family to memorialize Mr. Lind.

On April 16, 1994, a Ground Breaking Ceremony set the stage for construction and Dedication Day, May 13, 1995, for the FARRIS C. LIND SCOUT SERVICE CENTER.

—Carter L. Wilson III

On January 31st, 2020 the Ore-Ida Council and the Snake River Councils merged to become the Mountain West Council.