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Troop 109 in the news for its service at Palace Station

Boy Scouts of America Celebrate 30 years of caring for Palace Station
Courtesy photoBoy Scouts from Troop 109 apply stain to the aged timbers of the Palace Station stage stop on the Prescott National Forest this fall to help preserve it.
Courtesy photo
Boy Scouts from Troop 109 apply stain to the aged timbers of the Palace Station stage stop on the Prescott National Forest this fall to help preserve it.

By Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

Boy Scouts of America Troop 109 recently celebrated 30 years of caring for the historic Palace Station on the Prescott National Forest.

Alfred Spence built the Palace Station stage stop halfway between Prescott and the Peck Mine in the late 1870s, and it continued to serve all the mining communities south of Prescott until the early 1900s.

Now it is one of the few remaining stage stops in Arizona. Most of its outbuildings disappeared over time until the Prescott National Forest took ownership of the site in 1963.

It is a private residence but people can view the station from the road. It sits along Senator Highway (Mt. Vernon Street in Prescott) about 11 miles south of Gurley Street. The road is rough south of Groom Creek, so a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

Troop 109 has been highly instrumental in preserving the Palace Station, a National Historic Register site. Every September, the troop travels from Phoenix to the forest to help care for the building and surrounding land.

The work brought the troop a National Take Pride award from President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

Troop projects over the past 30 years include building and repairing fences, installing interpretive signs and a flagpole, clearing overgrown brush, maintaining a nearby forest trail and improving a helipad.

This year the scouts, led by Scoutmaster Russ Carpenter and Forest Service official Ron Rodgers, painted stain on the stage stop’s old timbers to help protect them from the ravages of monsoon rains and winter.

Then the boys celebrated their 30th anniversary at the station with a special evening barbecue.

Prescott National Forest archaeologist Elaine Zamora presented special patches honoring the scouts’ efforts, and also presented awards to several others who have helped preserve Palace Station over the years – past scoutmaster Tom Potter, longtime Troop 109 supporter Ron McElhaney, and retired Prescott National Forest official Doug Vandergon (who lived at the station for 16 years).

“They are helping preserve, protect, beautify and maintain one of the most important historic sites on the forest,” Vandergon said of the troop during a previous gathering.

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