2003 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
Prior to the U.S. involvement in W.W. I, Edward Browning (1886 - 1927) served in the ambulance corps of the French Army and subsequently transferred to U.S. service when his country declared war.
After the war, with health undermined as a result of gas attacks and exposure sustained in the battle zone, he returned and though in progressively ailing condition, lent himself with great enthusiasm to the formation of Devon Troop 1 (renumbered 50). He threw open the doors of his own home as its rendezvous and headquarters. He firmly believed that Scout training... stood pre-eminent in fostering all those qualities that make for good citizenship, patriotic service and self-sacrifice for the common good. As first scoutmaster of the Troop, he has left behind him an example that is a priceless heritage to Devon 50 and to all its future members.
1927 - Contributed by John B. Rettew III
My thoughts about camp return from time to time to the Browning Memorial Lodge and many fond memories I have of that building especially on a cold winter's weekend of camping.
Browning Lodge always was a special spot because it was named in honor of my Devon Troop 50's first Scoutmaster, Edward H. Browning. Mr. Browning volunteered to be Devon 50's first Scoutmaster in 1927. While this was not unique, the situation was; Browning suffered from the residual effects of chemical warfare sustained during his time in France in World War I. Unfortunately, his illness made it so that he had to "lead" the Troop in its initial days from his bedside. He died shortly after the Troop was founded.
Friends of Browning worked with the Council to refurbish the old wagon building which was converted into a "Scoutmaster's Lodge" and appropriately named Browning Memorial.
My memories though are of those winter weekends when our Troop held its winter camping in the Lodge. Here we would set up our bunks in what was then the loft. The leaders and staff were on the first floor (obviously to get close to the fire that some one usually kept going all night long). The most noticeable thing was that there was little insulation and the building did little to hold out the wind whistling through cracks throughout the night (our bed rolls and sleeping bags in the 1940's, if you were lucky enough to have a bag, were not what they are today). One did not need a refrigerator then…you just put your perishable items on the porch protruding from the building to keep them cold. Night games of capture the bugler or the whistler brought shivers to all. The hot
The original Browning Lodge had a back porch overlooking the Kindness Center down to the bend in the Octoraro Creek when Camp Horseshoe opened in 1928.
1928 - Contributed by Richard D. Foot
cocoa, cake and cookies cooked up by the leaders were a welcome snack and warmed the soul if not the body.
When I was Devon 50's Scoutmaster in the 1960's and 1970's, we continued the long tradition of returning to "our Browning Lodge" during winter camp. Of the many nights we stayed there, one stands out. That was the cold night one of our newer Scouts got into his down sleeping bag. At some point during the night, I heard a commotion in the loft above…some one was screaming, "HELP! HELP!" in a muffled voice. Rushing up the narrow stairs to the loft, we found our newer Scout still calling out! ….from the bottom of his bag…he had gotten turned around so his head was at the bottom! He was saved!
Many other times we enjoyed the Lodge…as a safe area from a March Susquehanna canoeing adventure…to other days at winter camp in the snow or on OA weekends. Ed Browning would have loved seeing his Memorial used as well as it has for 75 + years now!