Wendy Sisson | Rachel Carson’s Cottage
On episode 3 of the Allegheny Valley History Podcast, we continue our special series with the Rachel Carson Homestead. Guest host Jeanne Cecil, executive director of RCH, talks with Wendy Sisson about the national significance of Rachel Carson’s summer cottage in Southport, Maine, and its very special relationship with the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, Pennsylvania.
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This episode was recorded April 12, 2019 at the Rachel Carson Homestead, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Host: Jeanne Cecil. Guest: Wendy Sisson. Audiography: Kevin Farkas. Music (available on SoundCloud.com): Travis Nobles (“Morning Forest Bloom”), Cid (“Country del Mío”), Alexander Nakarada (“Climb”), Forgotten Dreams (“Live at Night of Museums),Prism Shard (“Lone Star Intro”). Other sound (available on YouTube): CBS News (“The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson”). ©Allegheny Valley History Podcast/The Social Voice Project, Inc. All rights reserved.
Wendy SissonWith husband Roger Christie (Chairman of the Rachel Carson Council, and grandnephew and adopted son of Rachel Carson, Wendy is the owner and caretaker of the Rachel Carson summer cottage in Southport, Maine. She has been instrumental in maintaining and preserving the cottage for visitors from all over the world. Roger is Chairman of the Board of the Rachel Carson Council, as well as grandnephew and adopted son of Rachel Carson.
Here's how RCC President, Robert K. Musil, describes Rachel Carson’s cottage: it "sits amidst spruce and pine atop a rocky bluff overlooking tidal pools and gulls and lobster boats. Like Carson, the cottage seems reserved, a bit old-fashioned, occasionally lonely. But to enter this pine-paneled stretch of rooms with its picture windows to the sea and sunsets is to discover Rachel Carson’s sense of wonder, her ability to imagine the genesis of the oceans, the evolution of living creatures, her feeling of awe in the face of such majesty and mystery."
Rachel Carson CouncilThe Rachel Carson Council, the legacy organization envisioned by Rachel Carson and founded in 1965 by her closest friends and colleagues. The Rachel Carson Council is the national environmental organization envisioned by Rachel Carson to carry on her work after her death. We promote Carson’s ecological ethic that combines scientific concern for the environment and human health with a sense of wonder and reverence for all forms of life in order to build a sustainable, just, and peaceful future.
Jeanne CecilJeanne Cecil is an author, local historian, long-time environmentalist educator, and executive director of the Rachel Carson Homestead. She is the author of Our Coal-Mining Heritage: Harmarville, PA, a collection of coal mining biographies, stories and memories collected from the lower Allegheny River Valley. Jeanne was also founder and chief organizer of the Mining Memories Project, a community effort that successfully erected the Harmarville Coal Miners Memorial.
Rachel Carson Homestead & AssociationThe birthplace and early home of Rachel Carson was built around 1860 as a four-room farmhouse. It looked like a log cabin when the Carsons purchased it and its 65 acres, because there was no paint on the wood. Robert and Maria Carson wanted to sell off lots so that they could build a modern home, with modern conveniences – such as indoor plumbing and electricity. Instead, the house remained as the Carsons found it, until they sold it in the 1930s and left Springdale, PA for Baltimore. Next owned by Angeline Sober, an English teacher at the Allegheny Valley High School into the 1970s, the house was modernized, with utilities and room additions. Miss Sober followed Rachel Carson’s career, and eventually wanted to leave the house to become part of Rachel’s legacy.
Miss Sober reached out to Mrs. Ruth Jury Scott, who had visited with Rachel Carson in Maine, and like Rachel Carson was adamantly anti-biocide in gardening as well as an animal rights activist. Ruth Scott was one of the four founders, who formed the Rachel Carson Homestead Association, Inc., (RCHA) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Pennsylvania Charitable Corporation, in 1975.
The Rachel Carson Homestead Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Pennsylvania charitable corporation whose mission includes preservation the birthplace and childhood home of Rachel Carson. She was born on May 27, 1907 in this small, four room farmhouse in the newly formed borough of Springdale. The clapboard house originally stood on approximately 65 acres of land overlooking the Allegheny River. The Carson family lived in Springdale until around 1930 and the homestead passed through several owners until it was stewarded by the Association in 1975.
RCHA celebrates and shares the modest frame home in which Rachel was born in 1907, where she lived the early years of her life, where her sense of wonder was nurtured, and where the seeds of her environmental ethic were planted.
Visit RCH Website
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