If you have crossed the river from downtown to the Northside you probably know the name Rachel Carson because you have crossed the Rachel Carson Bridge. The Rachel Carson Bridge is one of the Three Sister’s bridges, the other two bridges are named for Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol. If you are not familiar with her work, this should give you a clue that Rachel Carson is an important Pittsburgher.
Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, just up the Allegheny river from Pittsburgh and her work as a scientist and conservationist continues to have a huge impact around the world today. She is In 1962, Carson published the book “Silent Spring” that launched the environmental movement and eventually led to a ban on DDT. Carson’s book was the catalyst for the environmental movement which led to the creation of the EPA.
There are two historic buildings that served as homes for Rachel Carson that can be visited today:
- Birthplace – The Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, PA is where Carson was born. The house still exists today and is open for tours, educational events and this weekend will host a birthday celebration in honor of Carson’s 110th birthday.
- Residence – The other Rachel Carson homestead is in Colesville, Maryland. This house in Maryland is where wrote “Silent Spring.” Ryan Morden visited the house in Colesville a few years ago and wrote a post, A Visit to Rachel Carson’s Other House, about this house which was named a National Historic Landmark in 1991.
Timeline of the Rachel Carson Homestead
- 1901 – Carson family moves into home in Springdale
- 1907 – Rachel Carson is born
- 1929 – Rachel Carson graduates from Pennsylvania College for Women, now known as Chatham University
- 1962 – Silent Spring is published
- 1964 – Rachel Carson dies of a heart attack at her home in Maryland
- 1975 – Rachel Carson Homestead Association is established
- 1976 – Rachel Carson Homestead added to the National Register of Historic Places
More on the Rachel Carson Homestead
- Rachel Carson’s Fight Against Corporate Interests Still Resonates For Environmental Advocates, WESA, January 9, 2017
- Audio Postcard: Turning Back Time on Rachel Carson’s Childhood Home, Allegheny Front, May 5, 2012
AUDIO POSTCARD: TURNING BACK TIME ON RACHEL CARSON’S CHILDHOOD HOME
Visit the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, PADocent led tours of the Rachel Carson Homestead are available on Saturdays from April 22, 2017 through November 2017.
- Hours: Homestead is open 10:30am-1:30pm, tours starts on the hour at 11am, noon & 1pm.
- Cost: A minimum donation of $10 is requested for each adult, $3 for children.
- Website: rachelcarsonhomestead.org
- Social Media: Facebook Page,
Tours are also available by appointment, email Info@RachelCarsonHomestead.org for details.
Special Events at the Rachel Carson Homestead
The Rachel Carson Homestead hosts a number of special events throughout the year, especially during the summer. In fact, my first visit to the Rachel Carson Homestead was for a welcome home party and lecture from Mark Dixon and the filmmakers, who spent a year traveling to all 50 states to make a documentary, YERT – Your Environmental Road Trip. The documentary is about how people are embracing sustainability. (I wrote a blog post about their homecoming back in 2008 , You Can See a Year of Garbage at the YERT Homecoming. Yes, they carried all of the trash from the entire trip with them)
Follow the Rachel Carson Homestead Association on Facebook to learn about upcoming events.
Saturday, May 27 – Rachel Carson 110th Birthday Celebration
This Saturday, the Rachel Carson Homestead will host a birthday celebration.
- Saturday, May 27, 2017
- Music by Earth Mama, cake, raffles,
- Free (please rsvp by sending an email to info@RachelCarsonHomestead.org)
- Facebook Event
More information on the birthday celebration and the involvement of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is available here.