Archive for July, 2015

Preserving the Craighead Kitchen Artwork

July 13, 2015

A photo of your humble blogger explaining the “Hooping Cough” piece on the north wall of the Craighead House kitchen adorns the front page of today’s Carlisle Sentinel—above the fold, just below an article explaining how the county poor house evolved into a “modern care facility.”

The reporter conducted the telephone interview for the last article of his career at The Sentinel (he’s already moved on for an editor’s position at another paper) Thursday morning . The photographer came out later that day to shoot video and still shots of the art. This article discusses the fact that Craighead House Committee is cataloging the over 250 drawings, paintings, sketches, and doodles that cover the four walls of the kitchen. To date, I have identified each of them—a few probably mistakenly because I couldn’t figure what they’re supposed to be—and am now trying to determine who made each one, when, and with what. Several have stories behind them that I’m also trying to recover.

If you have information, especially if you were one of the artists or observed someone adding a piece, please contact me. Two donors have given enough money to preserve the west wall, the one in the most perilous condition, but more is needed to do the rest. To help, send a check to:

Craighead House Committee
PO Box 335
Boiling Springs, PA 17007


Donate on-line at:

Link to article:

Link to video:

Villie and MIllie Discovered

July 6, 2015

Villie and Millie

This daunting task of cataloging the artwork on the Craighead House kitchen walls gets more interesting all the time. This morning, Isabel Carpenter Masland, a frequent visitor to the house when she was a girl and the daughter of Don Carpenter, who wrote Memories of Craighead, the song about life in Craighead House in the first half of the 20th century, solved one of the mysteries related to the kitchen art. A pencil drawing of two women wearing aprons, one holding a dishpan and the other a pail, labeled, “Villie and Millie the Wash Up Twins,” had befuddled me for some time. I knew of no on family member or frequent visitor whose nickname would likely be Villie and the only possible Millie was Mervin Coyle’s wife, Mildred. The only problem was that Mildred’s grandchildren had never heard her called Millie. The sketch did look sort of like her.

Mrs. Masland was a young girl when this drawing appeared somewhere between 1938 and 1941. She didn’t see it drawn and doesn’t know for sure who drew it but suspects that it was Joseph House, Millie’s husband. Villie would have been Villa Stroh, whose husband Charles was a judge and lived in a mansion on Front Street in Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River. Gene and Myra Craighead lived in Harrisburg at the time and had a circle of friends who socialized together both in Harrisburg and at Craighead Station.

Isabel’s parents were part of that circle. She remembers the adults having parties at the house when she was young. She also remembers the ladies who prepared the food noting that they weren’t honored with a drawing or a painting. In the 70-plus years that have passed since then, no such drawing has appeared.