Passaconaway Lodge was formed on June 10, 1942 at Camp Manning, when 43 members from New Hampshire were inducted into the Order of the Arrow. Robert M. Nelson became the first Chief of the lodge; William F. Shea became its Secretary, and Richard S. Hasty its Treasurer. Mr. William K Richards served as the first lodge Adviser. The lodge was named for Passaconaway, chieftain of the Pennacook tribe, which called New Hampshire home. Though the beaver was initially chosen as the lodge’s totem, it was later changed to the bear in honor of Passaconaway’s name, which translates to “Child of the Bear.”

It was not until two years later, on December 9, 1944, that the first lodge meeting was held at the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester. With 32 members in attendance, it was at this meeting that the lodge adopted its constitution. The lodge held its annual meetings at Camp Manning until 1946, when Camp Carpenter became the official Daniel Webster Council camp. Since the council includes almost the entire state of New Hampshire, it was decided at that time to divide the lodge (with 108 active members) into six chapters, each electing chapter officers.

Passaconaway Lodge had the honor of hosting the Area Conference in 1948, the first of its kind ever to be held in New England. That same year, the number of lodge members passed 200, and Paul E. Wemple, then the lodge Staff Advisor, became the first Vigil Honor member. Also in 1948, a delegation of 6 attended the National Lodge meeting in Indiana.

As part of the Fall meeting in 1952, the lodge pocket flap was introduced and annual dues went into effect, replacing lifetime dues. As the lodge increased its membership, it became evident that more chapters would have to be formed to meet the lodge’s needs. At the Fall meeting in 1960, the lodge was divided into ten chapters. These chapters were Algonquin, Monadnock, Rockhill, Southeastern, Merrimack, Mantowa, Lakes, Spaulding Bay, White Mountain, and Mount Washington. In January of that year, the first issue of the lodge newsletter, The Totem, was printed.

On November 30, 1968, the lodge held its first separate Chapter Officer Training, which had previously been held in conjunction with lodge meetings. 1970 saw a record 225 Ordeal candidates inducted at Mead Wilderness Base, and the Area 1-F Conference, hosted by Passaconaway at Camp Carpenter. Dr. E. Urner Goodman was in attendance, along with 300 Arrowmen.

For the first time, Hidden Valley Scout Reservation was chosen for the location of the Spring meeting in 1971. The lodge established a council ring at Hidden Valley in 1974. Spring and Fall meetings now alternate between Hidden Valley and Camp Carpenter on a yearly basis so that service can be given to both camps.

On June 11, 1972, the lodge celebrated its 30th Anniversary at Camp Carpenter. 1972 was also the first year Passaconaway attained National Standard Lodge recognition. The year ended with Passaconaway becoming part of a new Area division system designated Area 1-B.

In 1984, the number of chapters was reduced to eight. In 1989, the region structure changed again, and Passaconaway became a part of Section NE- 1A. In 1992, the lodge celebrated its 50th anniversary, and in 1997, Passaconaway hosted the Section NE-1A Conclave at Hidden Valley. Passaconaway Lodge earned Quality Lodge recognition in 2000 as well as the National Service Award for the lodge’s assistance in opening Camp Bell.

In 2011, Passaconaway amended its bylaws for the first time since 1992, adding Nutfield Chapter and adopting a January to December dues year. The lodge also hosted the Section NE-1A Conclave, themed, “Those who chose you, need you.”

With strong chapters, leaders, and advisors, Passaconaway Lodge continues to strive forward in cheerful service.


Last updated on February 29th, 2012