The home was built in 1860 and sits on 7.78 acres of perfectly manicured grass. It includes eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a full-size tennis court.

But what makes this piece of real estate, now on the market for $699,900, so special isn’t its new roof and windows, or its 12-foot ceilings and two elegant parlors. It’s the fact it was once owned by William D. Boyce, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America.

Boyce purchased the 5,300-square-foot home and 60 surrounding acres in 1894. The Chicago publisher used the property as his summer home.

The property in Marshall, Mich., is now called The Butler-Boyce House, and it’s a registered Michigan historic site.

Who was William D. Boyce?

Members of the W. D. Boyce Council in central Illinois certainly know his name. As do Scouters who receive the William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award and matching square knot.

But who was William D. Boyce?

As told in Scouting magazine’s 2010 coverage of the BSA’s 100th anniversary, Boyce was in London in 1909 “when he got lost in a pea-soup fog — or perhaps simply turned around (accounts differ). In any event, a ‘little lad of 12’ appeared and guided him safely across the street. When Boyce offered a tip, the boy declined, explaining that he was just doing his Good Turn as a Scout.”

Impressed, Boyce returned home with pamphlets, badges and a uniform. Six months later, on Feb. 8, 1910, he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.

Thanks to Axel Anderson for the story idea.

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