One of the main events at Camden’s Bicentennial Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 1 will be a Cruise-In from 11-4 p.m. (registration begins at noon) and is open to cars, trucks, rods, street machines, classics, antiques & customs.
The Bicentennial Cruise In is dedicated to the memory of Myron E. Scott, born in Camden in 1907. Mr. Scott is the man credited with naming America’s sports car — the Chevrolet Corvette — and was the creator of the All-American Soap Box Derby.
During his teenage years, Scott worked for the Dayton Daily News after school. There, he learned photography and fostered his creativity. In 1933, as chief photographer for the newspaper and looking for a human interest story, Scott came across a few boys racing one another down a hilly street in contraptions made of crates and boxes mounted on baby buggy wheels. Wanting only to get a good photo story for the paper, he offered the boys a race with prizes and persuaded them to return with more drivers and box cars.
More than a dozen boys showed up with their makeshift “cars” and Mr. Scott knew he was onto something. He convinced the newspaper to sponsor a series of local races that year and for races with other towns the following year, calling it the “All-American Soap Box Derby.”
When 300 young contestants and 30,000 spectators showed up for a race in 1934, Scott was enthralled. He loved the soapbox derby concept, saw its wider potential and quickly acquired the copyright. He wasn’t the only one who noticed the wide attraction of the races. General Motors Chevrolet Division took note and soon agreed to sponsor the race as an annual event.
The national-scale Soap Box Derby grew from that point, right here in SW Ohio. Scott soon persuaded 50 cities across the United States to hold soap box derby races and to send a champion each year to Ohio for a championship competition. The Soap Box Derby would become so popular, they would end up with nearly 350 participants in the major races Scott ran here in Ohio, and close to 50,000 onlookers.
After working with him on the Soap Box Derby, Chevrolet hired Myron Scott in 1937 as assistant director for Public Relations, responsible for photographing new cars, developing press kits and graphics, and coordinating special events.
In 1953, Chevrolet was trying to find a name for an ambitious European-style sports car that was only then in the developmental stages. They wanted the name to begin with a “C” but didn’t want an animal name.
Hundreds of names were suggested by various employees and designers but none met the approval of the development team. One evening, having heard about the search for a name, Mr. Scott diligently combed the C section of the dictionary and stopped at the definition of “corvette” – a speedy pursuit warship. The next day he sent a note to Chevrolet’s head engineer of the new sports car and asked, “How would you like to go for a ride in my Corvette?” And the rest is history.
Myron Scott’s career at Chevrolet spanned over three decades before retirement in 1971. Mr. Scott passed away on Oct. 4, 1998 at the age of 91 and was posthumously inducted into General Motor’s Hall of Fame in 2002.
We are proud to honor Camdenite Myron E. Scott at this year’s 200th Celebration with our Bicentennial Cruise In. Dash plaques (sponsored by local CMJ’s Repair and Towing) will be provided to the first 150 registered cars, and awards will be presented at 4:00 to the top 30 vehicles.
The Bicentennial Planning Committee would like to thank The Brookville Corvette Club who is assisting us in planning and coordinating the Cruise In, both prior to and the day of the event. All proceeds from the Cruise In will benefit local charities through the Club.
Come out and join us! You can find more information about Bicentennial Celebration and other details about the Sept. 1 celebration at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CamdenOHBicentennial2018/.