Craighead House

318 East Old York Road,
Carlisle, PA 17015

Craighead House is historic for its architecture, but more so for what happened within its walls and on its landscape. This late-Victorian home near Boiling Springs, PA, is where Frank Craighead, "Scholar of the Everglades," was born and raised. His daughter, Jean Craighead George, Newbery Award-winning author of children's books about nature, began her prolific writing career here.

Jean's twin brothers, John and Frank Jr., developed their interest in nature and pioneered falconry as a sport in the United States during their summers at the house by the Yellow Breeches Creek. "The Twins" were significant contributors to National Geographic Magazine and other publications. Their groundbreaking research helped save the grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park. And they were instrumental in drafting federal legislation to protect the character and value of free-flowing rivers and streams (Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968).

In 2012, Craighead consisted of a deteriorating structure beside a trout stream. Since then, the Craighead House Committee Corporation has worked to restore the building so that it can serve as an educational and recreational resource focusing on nature, literature, history, and respect for our environment as exemplified by the life’s work of the Craighead family of naturalists.

Although the house is not currently open to the public, there is a pollinator garden on site and visitors can access the Yellow Breeches Creek for fishing. Craighead House also hosts numerous educational programs throughout the year.

Pollinator Garden

The garden beds include a pollinator bed that was funded through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Yellow Breeches Watershed Association. The beds are maintained by volunteers, several of whom are Master Gardeners. In 2021, Craighead House was designated as a Master Gardener demonstration site focusing on educating the public about pollinators, native plants, and invasive species.

A new garden, established in June 2021 by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Cumberland County, is a 250 square foot native pollinator garden – a 21st century update to the "privy garden" of old. The garden was designed by Master Gardener Heather Andrews, and plants donated by Master Gardeners and friends include lobelia, golden rod, amsonia, sedum, grasses, penstemon, cardinal flower, asters, bee balm, obedient plant, Joe Pye weed, phlox, butterfly weed and herbs such as rue, dill and parsley. Shrubs include Osier dogwood, fothergilla, and Little Henry Sweetspire.

The pollinator garden was recently recognized as a Garden of Distinction in the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society's 2021 gardening contest and received the Bowman's Wildflower Preserve’s Land Ethics Award for Best Community Effort in February 2024. This award recognizes “the creative use of native plants in the landscape, sustainable and regenerative design, and ethical land management and construction practices."

Adding to the new pollinator garden is 279 square feet of established pollinator native plants, and non-natives such as shady hosta and ferns, along the west side of the house. With this great garden addition, you can be sure that not only is the Craighead house property a haven for fishermen and gardeners, but it will very soon be a haven for butterflies, bees and all of our pollinating insects as well! Come take a look!

Parking for Craighead House and the Pollinator Garden is available in the gravel parking lot located off Old York Road to the left of the house.

The garden is open daily to the public, free of charge, from dawn to dusk.