The troop number 248 was originally given to a troop sponsored by the Inver Grove PTA in 1949. (Note this is not Inver Grove Heights, and not a particular school or school district number!) When that troop folded in 1953 due to lack of adult leadership (see how important you all are?), the number was available for reassignment. It was taken up again when our troop was chartered by St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church and sponsored by the church Couples’ Club in Feb. 1958, and has been continuously chartered with them for the past 51+ years.
The church and the troop, however, were not always in this location. St. Stephen’s Church was founded back in 1882. By the time Troop 248 came along in 1958, the congregation was meeting in a red brick church building at the corner of Manomin and Annapolis, in St. Paul, just across the street from West St. Paul and a block east of Smith Avenue. The building is still there and now home to another church congregation. Just two years later, St. Stephen’s new church was built at the corner of Charlton St. and Wentworth Ave., where we are today.
Our first Scoutmaster was Lowell Steenberg, and he served for two years. Scoutmaster Jerry Picard took over in 1960, about the time the church moved to its present location.
The troop grew as West St. Paul and Mendota Heights grew to be vibrant suburban communities. These earlier decades in our troop history were also boom years for this area. Drawing from the same geographic neighborhoods for over 50 years as based on addresses on troop rosters, numbers remained generally high even with new troops forming in nearby churches and schools, which were being built for the expanding population of young families. Troop 248 was chartered with 11 scouts, which became 26 before its first rechartering in February 1959. The troop reached a new high with 46 boys in 1963. Most years the troop has kept up a membership of around 20 to 30 boys. Membership later tapered off slowly, dipping to a dull roar of 14 boys in 1996 and 1997. Since then it has continued to grow to our current troop level of 56 boys in 7 patrols with 14 registered active adult leaders.
|George F. Doran||1963-1969|
|Clifford J. Hanson||1969-1971|
And our new 9th Scoutmaster, Brent Olmstead took the helm in 2014.
Other changes have come about over the years. St. Stephens Church built a beautiful new sanctuary in 1969, so the Fellowship Hall no longer had to serve double duty for worship and social occasions, setting up and re-setting up each week. Then in 1997, a generous donor provided the funds to build the Noreen Center with the express purpose of offering the community a new place for youth activities, and which our troop has benefitted tremendously.
Although originally officially sponsored by the St. Stephen’s Couples Club, the club changed its name in 1973 to the Ones & Twos Club, and then in 1977 the church itself became our host and sponsor.
Boy Scouting has had some changes too. After many years of being in Chief Little Crow District of Indianhead Council, updated demographics placed us in a new Kaposia District in 1994. In 2005, Indianhead Council itself merged with Viking Council, which served Minneapolis and western Minnesota, to become the new Northern Star Council.
Life is growing and changing. That is what boys do too. Troop 248 has seen 600 of the community’s youth grow into manhood. May Troop 248 continue to serve so well.
Written by Karen Dosh, November 2009
Revised by Sam Stifter, March 2014