The year was 1914. In San Francisco's Chinatown, a group of eight young boys had found a worn copy of the Boy Scout Handbook. As they thumbed though the pages in the play yard of the Chinese Methodist Church, the boys were thoroughly intrigued and inspired by what they saw in this new youth movement, something that was non-existent in Chinatown at the time. Eagerly, they studied the sketches, the diagrams, and read the printed words. From that moment, they knew they wanted to be Boy Scouts.
These eight boys, the charter members of Troop 3, were Lim Wong, Edward Lee, Tim Wong, Bing Moy, Stephen Moy, Nelson Wong, King Lee, and Chingwah Lee. It was Chingwah Lee's interest in Scouting had prompted him to obtain the handbook and it was he who sparked the interest of Scouting in the other boys.
They invited Lim J. Kwong, an engineering student attending the Mt.Tamalpais Military Academy, to be Scoutmaster. B.Y. Chu, a progressive Secretary of the Chinese YMCA, was nominated as the Troop Advisor. May 1914 marks the birth of Troop 3.
The boys recognized the lack of professional guidance. They wrote to National Boy Scout Headquarters in New York, stating their predicament. Field Scout Representative Harry Cross of the Los Angeles Council (the closest Council at the time) was notified. He came to San Francisco and assembled a group of prominent civic leaders to plan a local Council. It was in 1916, two years after the formation of Troop 3, that the San Francisco Boy Scout Council was formally organized.
The San Francisco Council had its office’s originally in a hotel on Market St. across from the Orpheum for many years. Then it was relocated to the Diamond Heights area.
There were five districts in the City: Candlestick District, El Camino District, Golden Gate District, Serra District and Exploring West District. The Sea Scouts were separate, but handled within the Exploring West District.
The SF Council Office finally settled on Pine St. at one time, and each of the 5 Districts had its own DE. The office also maintained advancement supplies, patches, books, pins, etc. Eventually, National Supply opened a store on Market St.
San Francisco Scouts maintained separate S-O-Rs, 4-5 Camporees twice a year, and many events that let the City know of its presence. Slowly, Candlestick and El Camino merged, and accompanied the two larger Districts, Serra and Golden Gate, until it was decided that San Francisco would have only one district. A contest was held to choose a name.
Although many names were suggested, because of the recognition of the Bridge, Golden Gate was adopted. The San Francisco Council and the Oakland Council had already merged in the 80’s to become the San Francisco Bay Area Council.
The office eventually moved to 2nd St. without supplies to sell. Years later, the office moved again to Beale St., and then again back to 2nd St. within the Store that was now located there. Eventually, the SF District Office closed and then the SF Scout Shop Store.