The fifth edition of Craighead House Chronicles is now out. You can download it here: Fall 2016
or email CraigheadHouse@gmail.com to have it automatically sent to you.
If you want a hardcopy, just print the PDF on 8.5 X 11 inch paper on a color printer. If your printer will print two-sided, you may have to check the flip option. It prints neatly on both sides of two sheets of paper. Fold the sheets in half and you have a booklet.
One hundred years ago today on August 14, 1916, Carolyn Johnson Craighead was exceedingly surprised when she gave birth to two identical sons, not one as expected. Not only didn’t she know she was having twins, she didn’t know if she was having a boy or a girl. Such was the state of medicine at the time.
Today John Johnson Craighead celebrates his 100th birthday among family and friends. His brother, Frank Cooper Craighead Jr., died in 2001 of the ravages of Parkinson’s Disease. The Craighead twins are shining examples of what young people, even of limited means, can do if they set their minds to it. At 15, they decided to take up the sport of falconry, which was essentially not practiced in North America at that time. Following the few references they could find, they learned how to train hawks to hunt for them, starting with Cooper’s hawks, a bird never before used in falconry. Soon, their friends in Pennsylvania and Washington, DC followed in their footsteps and trained their own birds.
In a few years, the twins had trained a numbers of hawks, owls and eagles and wrote an article about their experiences. National Geographic Magazine accepted the article—along with 25 photos the boys took—for publication. They next wrote a book about falconry titled Hawks in the Hand. American falconers today cite that book and their sister’s book My Side of the Mountain as the reason they became interested in falconry.
Teenagers can make a difference—if they focus their attention and set aside many frivolous things.
Dr. David S. Masland, lifelong friend of the Craighead family and Honorary Chair of Craighead House Committee, passed away yesterday evening after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He died peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and children. Dave will be greatly missed. Below is a photo taken by Charlie Craighead of Dave talking with Jean Craighead George in the kitchen in May 2011.
Craighead House is inaugurating a series of educational programs, the first season of which will be presented in September and October. The three September sessions will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm. These talks are being given mostly by local historians on topics related to Craighead House’s history.
The sessions are scheduled for the following dates:
9/15 Tom Benjey – Craigheads Come to Pennsylvania
9/22 Randy Watts – Early Railroads in Cumberland County
9/29 Richard Tritt – Mills Along the Yellow Breeches Creek
10/6 Larry Luxenberg – In the Spirit of Adventure: Walking the Appalachian Trail
10/20 Laurie Craighead Rudolph – Life at Craighead Station
10/27 Tom Benjey – The Craighead Naturalists
Please come and bring a friend.
The fate of the historic 1899 iron bridge across the Yellow Breeches Creek at Craighead Station has been in peril. It still is but its chances look better. Some years ago, Cumberland County, owner of the bridge, determined that the one-lane bridge is unsatisfactory to handle all the vehicular traffic that would like to take that route. In addition to the bridge being narrow, its intersection with Old York Road is dangerous. The state and county developed a plan for a new concrete span a bit upstream from the iron bridge. That plan also calls for bending Zion Road south of the iron bridge to meet with the new bridge, eliminating the need to remove the iron bridge to make room for the new one. South Middleton Township officials offered to take ownership of the iron bridge if they could use the money budgeted by the state for its demolition to put it in better condition for use by walkers, bicyclists, and fishermen. Last fall, the state told the township demolition funds couldn’t be used to preserve the bridge. Many locals thought it absurd that the government would rather use the money to destroy something of historical and recreational value than to use that money to put the structure to use for the current and future generations.
Today’s Carlisle Sentinel reports that the state may have given erroneous advice regarding the use of the demolition funds. http://cumberlink.com/news/local/craighead-bridge-may-be-restored/article_a66d6442-806d-11e2-af92-0019bb2963f4.html It’s far from certain yet, but the iron lady that has served us well for over a century may not fall to an ignominious end.
When Richard Ammon interviewed Jean Craighead George for a Central PA Magazine article he was writing, he took a photo of her back of the house, leaning against a treee near the Yellow Breeches. Many thanks to Dr. Ammon for sharing his photo with us.
Jean Craighead George at Craighead House