Boy Scout 1929 Flash Flood Memorial.

Boy Scout 1929 Flash Flood Memorial

Field review by the editors.

Rockwood, Tennessee

Scoutmaster James Tarwater Wright led 21 members of Rockwood Troop 45 on a Friday night campout on March 22, 1929. They were only a few miles from home, just off US 27, in a bungalow cabin along White's Creek, when the flash flood hit. The creek swelled to nearly 10 times its normal size. The railroad and highway bridges just upstream washed out, sending debris crashing into the cabin. In the morning, 14 boys were found alive in the treetops, but the other seven, and Scoutmaster Wright, did not survive.

Boy Scout 1929 Flash Flood Memorial.

To mark the cabin site, a large cross embellished with the Boy Scouts logo atop a 20-foot-tall pillar of rocks was built. It was impossible to miss while US 27 remained a country road, but when the highway was later double-laned with an elevated bridge across the creek, the memorial was bypassed and forgotten.

A restoration effort in 2017 by Scout Troops in several nearby towns cleaned the monument and cleared away the encroaching trees and undergrowth. The washed-out gravel road leading to the monument suggests that visitors still shouldn't visit when it's raining.

Boy Scout 1929 Flash Flood Memorial

Address:
Jenkins Waldo Lane, Rockwood, TN
Directions:
On the east side of US-27, nine miles north of Spring City or seven miles south of Rockwood. On the east side you'll see an intersection for Whites Creek Rd (Lakeside Resort). Instead of turning east, turn west onto the service road (Jenkins Waldo Lane). Drive past the electrical substation to the end of the pavement. You'll probably want to park here, and follow the washed-out gravel road on foot the rest of the way, under the highway, to the monument on the east side; it's only a couple hundred yards of walking. Watch out for snakes in the grass near the memorial.
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In the region:
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