Merion Liberty Troop - BSA Troop 71

Merion Liberty Troop over 100 years of scouting

This group is for Boy Scouts and their parents of Merion Liberty Troop , one of the oldest Scout troops in the U.S. Originally founded in 1910, known as the 10-10-10 Troop and chartered by the Boy Scouts of America as #1 Merion in 1917, Merion Liberty Troop has a proud history in Scouting that continues strong today. Merion Liberty Troop is, to our knowledge, the last remaining Boy Scout Troop to have earned the designation "Liberty Troop," and the right to wear the distinctive "L" patch on the left uniform sleeve, for its achievements in selling Liberty bonds during World War I.

"[Edward] Bok, who had been appointed one of the Boy Scout commissioners in his home district of Merion, saw the possibilities of the Boy Scouts in the Liberty Loan and other campaigns. Working in co-operation with the other commissioners, and the scoutmaster of the Merion Troop, Bok supported the boys in their work in each campaign as it came along. Although there were in the troop only nine boys, in ages ranging from 12 to 14 effectively did these youngsters work under the inspiration of the scoutmaster, Thomas Dun Belfield, that they soon attracted general attention and acquired distinction as one of the most efficient troops in the vicinity of Philadelphia. They won nearly all the prizes offered in their vicinity, and elicited the special approval of the Secretary of the Treasury.

Although only "gleaners" in most of the campaigns—that is, working only in the last three days after the regular committees had scoured the neighborhood—these Merion Boy Scouts sold over $1,400,000 in Liberty Bonds, and raised enough money in the YMCA campaign to erect one of the largest huts in France for the army boys, and a YMCA gymnasium at the League Island Navy Yard accommodating two thousand sailor-boys." -- from The Americanization of Edward Bok, 1921 [Edward W. Bok (1863-1930)]

Merion Scout House, 625 Hazelhurst Ave (rear), Merion Station, PA, 7:30 p.m. Mondays during the school year.

In 1917 the Merion Scout House was dedicated to the use of the Liberty Troop by Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking machine Company. Originally a carriage house for the Johnson estate, Merion Liberty Troop had used the building to meet for several years before 1917. In 1917 Mr. Johnson dedicated his former carriage house to the exclusive use of the Merion Liberty Troop at the same time he constructed the Merion Tribute House. The Merion Scout House has been in continuous use since then; and it is believed that it is the oldest continuously used independent troop scout house in the nation.