History of the Golden Gate Area Council


Alameda Council (1917-2020)

From the 1936 Alameda Council Report:

The world was involved in the Great War in 1916.  It appeared that the United States might become involved. In the spring of that year Dr. Barclay Stephens’ thoughts turned to the boys of Alameda whose fathers might be called to the colors should America enter the war. The thought that these boys would need adult leadership began to occur to Dr. Stephens as he commuted to his San Francisco office. 

He had heard of a new movement for boys, known as the Boy Scouts of America which had been organized a few years earlier. He determined to find out more about this program and began corresponding with the National Council office of the Boy Scouts of America in New York. 

In May, Dr. Stephens, accompanied by Mrs. Stephens, decided to obtain first-hand information by ‘making a trip to the New York headquarters offices. He spent several days in New York with Dr. James E. West, Chief Scout Executive, and the other officials in the National office and when he left for California a new trunk was filled with Scouting handbooks and literature. 

When Dr. Stephens returned to Alameda and resumed his commuting to San Francisco he talked Scouting to Major C. L. Tilden, A. W. Porter, C. W. Griffin, Frank Otis, F. S. Greenlee, Edward F. Wist and others. Generally, accompanied by Edward F. Wist or Edward Albert, many Sunday afternoons were also devoted to visiting leading Alamedians and convincing them that a Scouting organization was essential in Alameda. Gradually a substantial group of non -commuting Alamedans such as Rev. Everett Couper, George Furbush, J. Sherman McDowell, Phillip S. Teller, James E. Hall and others were also enrolled. 

In the spring of 1916 a movement started in the Oakland and Berkeley Rotary clubs to bring Scouting to the East Bay through a theatre benefit performance sponsored by the two clubs to raise a two-year budget. 

This movement made it impossible for Dr. Stephens to continue working quietly and it was decided to hold a public meeting of Alamedians on November 28, 1916. At this meeting the whole project was presented and it was the consensus of opinion of all that with the groundwork already laid by Dr. Stephens that a council could soon be organized. An organization committee consisting of Dr. Stephens, chairman, Rev. E. W. Couper, Major C. L. Tilden, George E. Furbush, Edward F. Wist, G. Sherman McDowell and Judge E. J. Silver was named. This group completed the work and on December 8 conducted a program in the Haight school auditorium for all boys and parents interested in Scouting. 

The program included moving pictures and demonstrations of Scouting and talks by Dr. Stephens, Major Tilden and H. D. Cross, National Field Scout Commissioner. Following the public program the men recruited by the organization committee remained and thirty-six representative Alamedians agreed to serve as members of the Alameda Scout Council. 

A meeting to elect officers and formally organize was scheduled for December 12, 1916, this organization meeting being held in the real estate offices of Delaney and Randlett, at Oak and Central. Dr. Stephens’ Alameda offices at that time were located on the floor above. Officers and directors were elected and an application was completed and forwarded to the National Council for a Charter for the Alameda Council, Boy Scouts of America. While awaiting the arrival of the charter from the National Council, the officers, directors and council members continued their pioneering work, enlisted scoutmasters and located meeting places for Scout Troops. The charter arrived, following which the first Scout troop meetings were held on January 19 when 70 boys were enrolled in the seven Scout troops. 

The first Anniversary Week in February, 1917, was celebrated with schools closed and all public meetings prohibited. Dr. Stephens prepared a Scouting message and this was published in the Times-Star, which has ever since been most cooperative. All Scouts and Scouters were requested to stand in their homes at 8:00 pm on the evening of February 8, Scouting’s national birthday, come to the Scout sign and rededicate themselves to Scouting by repeating the Scout Oath. 

70 Scouts were enlisted in these first 7 troops on January 19, 1917 and by the end of the year 129 Scouts were in the Alameda Council.  Thus was born this Alameda Boy Scout Council.


Original Scout Troops, January 19, 1917

Troop 1 – McKinley Park Community House

Troop 2 – First Presbyterian Church

Troop 3 – Residence, Dr. Stephens

Troop 4 – First Congregational Church

Troop 5 – Christ Episcopal Church

Troop 6 – Alameda Improvement Club

Troop 7 – First M.E. Church




February 2, 1917 – First Good Turn Day

March 3, 1917 – First Outing, Troop 3

1920, Troop 2


Sea Scouts




Shooting Sport


Scouting for Food

Order of the Arrow

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