Last Saturday, Henricus Historical Park expanded a little further with the addition of a gun-post platform like what may have been used by the early settlers to watch over the James for unwelcomed activity in 1611. The platform was constructed in the English village at Henricus as an Eagle project of Kristopher Liss. Liss, 15, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 2837. He recruited 32 scouts and parents to volunteer their time during the weekend to help him earn his Eagle rank and help the community of Henricus, by providing a labor force to build another structure in the historical park. John Pagano, historical interpretation supervisor for Henricus, approved his project for the park after a power point presentation by Liss and guided him through the details before and during construction.
Liss’s brother John, earned his Eagle rank a couple of years ago when his project was building a section of palisades at the park. A couple of privy’s were constructed by another Eagle Scout just recently, and drying racks in the Indian village was a project for another Eagle. “Over the past six years we have adopted Henricus for our Eagle projects,” said Jim Liss, Scout leader and father of Kristopher and John. “They are great partners.” Henricus Historical Park has always been a favorite destination of Jim and Robyn Liss and their children. The boys remember coming out to visit when they were much younger and the park was in its infancy. Helping and watching the park grow has been enjoyable for the Liss family and Troop 2837.
“An Eagle service project required by Scouting, as far as making Eagle rank, has to be a project that benefits the community,” said Dan Andrews, also a leader and Kristopher’s mentor.
As mentor, Andrews helped young Liss with the process of pulling the project together. “What needs to be done, planning, materials and making contact,” he said.
Liss began the project in the latter part of May. Making contact with Pagano and finding out what projects were on the table, the gun post platform was something that could be accomplished and benefit the community of Henricus. “They have been waiting to do it [the platform] for awhile,” said Liss. “No man power. There is a lot of stuff they want to get done around here.”
Liss brought in the design and manpower and Henricus paid for the materials. The project materials ran around $4,300. Liss located the raw white oak needed for the project at Sewards Lumber, a lumber mill in Surry, Virginia. “They were very gracious in cutting for us,” said the elder Liss. “It is all authentic. The way they would have built it in the 1600s, except some areas we constructed for safety.” They used bolts for the structure. Power tools were used for cutting the lengths on site ,as well as pre-drilling where nails would go.
Part of the process for a Scout working towards his Eagle rank is adapting to change and modification during the project process. Liss said he had to change the plans four to five times due to the inconsistency in the wood. As project superintendent, Liss had to be sure proper measurements were taken. “There are a lot of measurements,” he said. The project needed 100-2x6’s, 62-2x10’s and four-6x6’s. The most difficult part of the project was nailing the nails through the hard wood. White Oak is the hardest wood available in this region. Andrews said 250 to 300 man-hours have gone into the project.
Boy Scout Troop 2837 has produced 22 Eagles in the last 10 years. Four more are in line to complete their Eagle project within the next year.
Boy Scout Troop 2837 is sponsored by the Chester Baptist Church. Troop 2837 is in the Arrohattoc District, which is one of seven scouting districts that make up the Heart of Virginia Council of The Boy Scouts of America. The District includes all of Amelia and Nottoway counties, as well as Chesterfield County south of Powhite Parkway and Old Hundred Road, north of Happy Hills Road, and west of Interstate 95.
The District is home to 29 Boy Scout Troops, 30 Cub Scout Packs, 10 Venture Crews and one Varsity Team. If you are interested in joining Scouting, Scout Night will take place in the area elementary schools in September.