Craighead House Being Reborn Into Nature, Environment, Literature, Local History Center In Cumberland County

The Craighead House, home of conservationists John and Frank Craighead and nature author Jean Craighead George, is being reborn as an education center on nature, the environment, literature and local history in Cumberland County.

“The generosity of the Carlisle community, Craighead supporters from across the country, foundations, and local and state agencies has helped us to take major steps toward our dream of having the house completely renovated in 2020,” said Craighead House president John Coyle. “We invite everyone to visit the house and grounds to enjoy our lovely spot on the Yellow Breeches and to learn about nature and the Craigheads’ achievements.”

Craighead House was bought in September 2012 by a group of local volunteers who wanted to save it from destruction and to carry on the legacy of the internationally recognized Craighead family of naturalists.

The 1886 house and surroundings along the Yellow Breeches Creek were an inspiration to the Craighead Family.

Brothers Frank and Eugene became prominent entomologists. Frank’s nationally known conservationist sons, John and Frank, Jr., saved Yellowstone’s grizzlies, popularized falconry, inspired the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and contributed to National Geographic.

Newbery-winning daughter Jean Craighead George wrote nature books Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain.

Just some of the major activities at Craighead House this past year include-- 

-- Hosted a 100th anniversary celebration of Jean Craighead George’s birth with activities and presentations by local organizations and Jean’s children.

-- Installed educational signs about native and invasive plants as part of an ongoing educational program with the Penn State Master Gardeners.

-- Upgraded the parking area with funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Community and Economic Development, Cumberland County Planning Department, and Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau, Carlisle Barracks Spouses Club, Carlisle Garden Club, Penn-Cumberland Garden Club, Foundation for Enhancing Communities, Yellow Breeches Watershed Association and numerous individual donors. Outdoor improvements include accessible parking, a walkway to Craighead House, landscaping, and an ADA-compliant outdoor comfort facility.

-- Received outdoor canoe racks, a volunteer project by an Eagle Scout, and a basement storage room, an American Heritage Girl Stars and Stripes project.

The year was capped off by a generous grant from the G.B. Stuart Charitable Foundation and donations from individuals that will help to complete interior improvements, specifically wiring and heating/ventilating/air conditioning systems.

Remaining work, which will enable Craighead House to obtain an occupancy permit and present programs and activities year-round, includes interior plumbing, carpentry, and plaster work.

In addition to numerous education programs planned for 2020, a major event will be the Concert @ Craighead: Bluegrass on the Breeches with Charm City Junction on June 14.

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Craighead House website.

(Photo: John, Frank and Jean Craighead.)


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[Posted: December 16, 2019]


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