Archive for August, 2013

Carlisle’s National Treasure

August 31, 2013

Last week I got a call from Sentinel reporter Joe Cress asking about Freddie Wardecker. For those not from the Carlisle area or who aren’t interested in Carlisle Indian School sports teams, Freddie is the proprietor of Wardecker’s Mens Wear, formerly M. Blumenthal on North Hanover Street not terribly far from Carlisle Barracks where the Indian School was located from 1879-1918. Mose Blumenthal operated The Capital, as the business was then known, back when the Indian School was in operation. Mose also had a contract with the Indian School and did work there. Indian School personnel and students patronized The Capital. Along the way, Mose collected a number of artifacts related to the Indian School, its students, faculty, and staff. Freddie inherited them and has added a number of items related to Carlisle to the collection.
For serious researchers, visiting Wardecker’s is a must. Freddie freely shares his wisdom concerning Jim Thorpe et al but welcomes visitors to sit at his round table to solve the world problems of the day.
I told Joe what I know but referred him to Bob Wheeler, the author of the definitive biography of Jim Thorpe, because he has better stories to tell and is much more eloquent than I could ever hope to be. Here is a link to the article about not a local treasure, not a state treasure, but a national treasure: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/history/wardecker-s-menswear-store-in-carlisle-remains-a-resource-for/article_0d679b7c-0dbd-11e3-990c-0019bb2963f4.html Don’t forget to check out the photos.

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Random Carlisle questions

August 14, 2013

Because of this blog and my books about Carlisle Indian School football players I often get questions related (sometimes very loosely) to these people, early football, Pop Warner, and Carlisle Indian School in general. A couple I received earlier this week are:

Q. Was there a river or stream within walking distance from Carlisle’s campus where Jim Thorpe could have gone fly fishing?

A. For anyone who has lived in Central Pennsylvania this is a trivial question. For anyone else, a little research would be required. Living here gave me an advantage. Letort Spring Run, one of America’s most highly regarded trout streams runs through the campus but I doubt if a serious angler would have fished that stretch. He would most likely have tried his luck just south of town nearer to the creek’s source at Bonnybrook. Fishing the Letort can be frustrating, I’m told, because the fish are so smart. Some say it’s necessary to crawl up to the bank on one’s stomach to keep from alerting the fish to your presence. Eugene Craighead cut his teeth at Bonnybrook and became one of the country’s most noted fly fishermen.

Q. In the evening on the Carlisle campus, at a specific time, did a bugler play “Taps” signaling lights to be turned off all over campus?

A. Intuitively, this sounds accurate because Lt. Richard Henry Pratt of the 10th Cavalry founded the school and served as its superintendent for 25 years before being replaced by Maj. William A. Mercer, another cavalry officer. The students wore military uniforms and marched daily, so using bugle calls seems obvious. However, one needs proof—and there was some.

Taps

And a decade later The Carlisle Arrow of September 27, 1912 provides some more:

Bugle Calls