In the summer of 1915, only five years after the beginning of Scouting in the United States, the directors of the Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp of the Philadelphia Council realized that it would be appropriate to show recognition to those scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law. They therefore formed the Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui after a legend of the Delaware Indians. It was later to be known as the Order of the Arrow.
Progress was rapid and the organization proved so useful that many councils soon incorporated it into their programs. In 1930 the Order of the Arrow was introduced into the St. Louis Council at Irondale Scout Reservation. At first it was known as the Osage Lodge. By 1931 when the first “President” was elected it had been discovered that another lodge had the same name. The name was then changed to “Shawnee,” after the tribe that had inhabited the neighboring territory. The “thunderbird,” which means eagle, was adopted as the Lodge totem. When the St. Louis Council became of size to adopt the district system in 1939 the Lodge had a membership of about 1,000. Chapters were therefore established. At that time each member had to be 15 years of age. Because of the older registration, several socials were held each year. One such event was the crowning of the “Indian Princess.” In the early sixties, the Ordeal was taken out of summer camp and moved to the Fall Reunion in order to give Scouts more time to work on summer camp activities and give proper attention to the induction of new candidates.
The year 1965 marked the start of a new era of the Shawnee Lodge, with the dedication of S bar F Scout Ranch at the Fall Reunion. Camps Sakima and Famous Eagle were opened in the summer of 1966 with the generous help of the Order of the Arrow. Since then, Spring Conclaves have been held at Beaumont Scout Reservation and Fall Reunions at the S bar F Scout Ranch. In 1969 Camp Gamble was completed by the Order and it was opened in 1970.
Shawnee Lodge has now become one of the largest lodges in the United States. It boasts a membership of more than 3,800. Shawnee also is one of our nation’s most active lodges. The Shawnee Lodge has done countless major service projects for the Greater St. Louis Area Council as well as providing camp promotion every year. The man-hours of service save our Council thousands of dollars every year.
Shawnee Lodge has provided hundreds of service hours outside of the Council through it’s one day of service which began in 2008 working in Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park.
The Order of the Arrow has become the highest honor that can be attained for outstanding camping qualities. The Shawnee Lodge, your Lodge, has had a great past and is looking forward to an even greater future.