Pellissippi Lodge History

The Pellissippi Lodge was founded in Augist of 1942 at Camp Pellissippi.

In January of 1943, Pellissippi Lodge 230 received its first charter from the national office of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Order of the Arrow was an idea brought to this council by Elmer Hawkins, who was serving as Assistant Scout Executive and Camp Director at Camp Pellissippi in the summer of 1942. Mr. Hawkins was no stranger to the Order, as he had experience in starting the Sequoyah Lodge #184 in the Sequoyah Council in Johnson City, TN.

During the last week of summer camp at Camp Pellissippi, Mr. Hawkins tapped out the first members of Pellissippi Lodge and handed each of them a 3 inch piece of hollow bamboo with a piece of paper inside bearing the letters WWW on it. Then, in August of 1942, a special encampment was held at Camp Pellissippi and the first ordeal in lodge history was held. The ordeal was held at the camp outpost which was far away from the main camp and could only be reached by boat. The candidates built lean-to’s and performed service projects around the outpost.

After the ordeal was complete an Ordeal Ritual team from Camp Unaka of Sequoyah Lodge 184 came to Camp Pellissippi to perform the Ordeal Ritual and induct the first members of Pellissippi Lodge. The first group of members, known as the Charter group included 10 members of the staff at Camp Pellissippi and 2 adults. After the ceremony, the charter members were given the first piece of insignia to signify that they were members of the Order of the Arrow, it was a half red, half blue neckerchief with silver piping sewn to it.

The members chose the name Pellissippi which is translated to “Winding Waters” in Cherokee. This is also significant because Camp Pellissippi is located along the Clinch River which for many years was referred to as Pelissipi by the local Cherokee tribe.

The charter was received by the national office in January and the number “230” was assigned to Pellissippi Lodge and since 1943 has continued to serve the Great Smoky Mountain Council ever since.