Council Offices

Buffalo Trail Council

Most council offices, in the very early days of Scout Councils, were either free or rented at a very low cost.  They usually consisted of one or two rooms as they only had the paid professional in the office.  Later, as they employed additional men, and even a secretary or two, as the council grew and expanded its services, so did the need for office space.  They began to build their own offices, or remodeled a building they bought or was donated to them, to better fit their needs. This is the story of some of offices of the Buffalo Trail Council.

Snodgrass/Cowden Home Now Service Center

This photo was taken prior to reneovations being made to current
Council office.

In 1958, the wife of Clyde Cowden and daughter, Midland, deeded their old home to the Buffalo Trail Council for $10.00 following the death of Clyde Cowden in 1954, just a few months after having built a new home on Country Club Drive.   The house was built in about 1930.  The home was built by Elisha N. Snodgrass who was a real estate man, a property owner, and a leader in civic affairs.  He died in 1935.  After the death of her husband, Mary Lou Snodgrass and her children sold the house to Clyde Cowden.

According to the Cowden's daughter, the house was originally one story with three bedrooms.  In the 1940's a second floor with two bedrooms and a bath was added, and one of the downstairs bedrooms was converted to a den. 

The council has made extensive changes to the building, but the original front entrance on D Street is a reminder that families once occupied the home. In February 1978, the council broke ground for a 4,300 square foot addition at the corner of Texas and D Streets to house a self-service trading post for Scout supplies, a meeting room, a storage room, and a printing room.  It is now called the Abell Scout Service Center, located at 1101 W. Texas Ave., Midland

Office and Trading Post in Odessa

Odessa's most enduring business, Henderson Drug, had its beginning in 1906 when William Thomas Henderson, Sr. purchased a lot at 204 N. Grant St. The store, a popular gathering place for Odessans, was known for its soda fountain and also served as a post office and housed the offices of several doctors. 

More than a drug store, it sold gifts. patented drugs, cosmetics, candy and tobacco. For over 80 years, its soda fountain has been a magnet for socializing in Odessa. In 1927, Henderson moved to 122 North Grant and stayed there until fire forced him and his partner Jack C. Collins to move to the present location of the Henderson-Collins drugstore at 409 North Grant. Collins joined Henderson in 1931. Falling on hard times, the store was closed for a short period during the depression. Collins reopened with empty boxes filling many of the shelves. They had no electric service for a time because they couldn't afford the deposit. 

The store was the Greyhound bus stop until the late 1930's, and the scene for many a tearful goodbye when it was the army bus stop in the 1940's. It also served as the post office until 1939. 

Jack and his wife Pearl bought the Henderson shares of the partnership in 1957. Eventually the prescription drug department was sold to Evans Pharmacy in 1969. the Ector County Commissioners paid $90,000 in 1982 for the structure so it could be demolished.  History buffs persuaded officials to spare the city's oldest commercial building. In 1985, the city and county funded a $45,000 restoration project.  The building stayed vacant since exterior refurbished was completed in 1987. 

The council received a 50-year lease on the building. In a news release, dated August 21, 1991, the council announced that a goal of $273,083 had been reached to renovate the interior of the old building and to provide equipment, furnishings and supplies to operate the Scout Service Center in Odessa.  The Buffalo Trail Council had a grand opening ceremony for the service center on June 15, 1992.  The Henderson Drug Building, renamed the Thomas Price Womack Scout Service Center, houses the Buffalo Trail Council of Boy Scouts. This 1906 building is the oldest commercial property still standing in Odessa. 204 North Grant, corner of 2nd Street and Grant Avenue. 

The building now houses office space for the executives working the western edge of the council (Big Bend, Sand Hills, Comanche Trails Districts).  A Scout shop is also downstairs.  Upstairs has been remodeled into a large meeting room for various council and district meetings.

Funeral Home Now Scout Service Center

A funeral home in Big Springs, located at 610 Scurry St., was donated to the Buffalo Trail Council for use as the Lone Star District East Area Scout Service Center in about 1995.  The Center was near completion two years after it was donated to the council.  The funeral home was built in 1929 and was one of the first building in West Texas to be built specifically for a funeral home.  It was also one of the first funeral home to have a chapel.  The funeral home was air conditioned in 1950 and was the first commercial business in Big Spring to be so fitted.

Mr. Charles and Mrs. Ann Eberlye, both licensed Funeral Directors and Embalmers, built the building.  The funeral home was mainly operated by Ann Eberley.  Charles Eberley assisted with the duties when he wasn't out on a run for the Texas and Pacific Railroad.  Together they operated the business for 33 years until 1953.

That year they sold the business to Raymond and Martha River and changed the name to River Funeral Home.  Ernest Welch from Seymour came to work for then shortly after they bought the home.  In 1955 The Rivers sold an interest in the business to Ernest and Mary Lynn Welch and in 1958 the Welch's, along with Mr. and Mrs. Bill Schlecht purchased the River's interest.

In 1963 the Welch's formed a corporation and bought their partners interest.  The name was changed to River-Welch Funeral Home. 

The building was dedicated on a Sunday from 2-3:30 pm  that started the annual observance of Scout Week.  The program included the singing of the song "Hero," by Allison Wallace, daughter of the District Executive Warren Wallace.  The building houses a Scout museum, Scout Shop and a kitchen.  A plaque on the building reads, "This building, given by he Ernest Welch family, is dedicated to the development of character and citizenship in the youth of the Big Spring area." 

"The center will give our leaders a place to be trained and a place for district meetings," Warren Wallace said.   "This will be the place to meet. Our units will still meet where they normally meet and we won't havet o encroach on anyone," Wallace added.

In addition to the Welch family, the Dora Roberts Foundation, Marie Hall, Johanson's Nursery, TU Electric, the City of Big spring and Partee Enterprises assisted in the building.  The Lone Star District serves the counties of Borden, Glasscock, Howard, Mitchell, Scurry and Sterling.

Information provided for this page from David O'Neill from the The Thorny Trail XXVIII Nos. 1 and 2, FAll 1999/Spring 2000, the Big Spring Herald and the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

Updated: March 9, 2010
Return to Home Page