Monday, September 21, 2015

PA State Parks: Colonel Denning

Colonel Denning State Park, 40 miles west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, spurred me  read more
to learn a bit more of our nation's history as well as some local history.

First of all, I read about the Revolutionary War soldier William Denning. The park's namesake worked at a forge located 20 miles away from the park where the Carlisle Barracks now stands. This soldier possessed the skill to make wrought iron canons for the Americans to use in their fight for independence.

Inside the park, a display of pictures and relics reminded me of some national history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in 1933 to help give jobs to men out of work because of the 1929 stock market crash. The men accepted into the program lived in camps. They worked on nearby roads and improved the state parks. Specifically, in Colonel Denning, the CCC built a stonework dam with an attached spillway to form Doubling Gap Lake for recreation activities such as swimming and fishing.

A plaque on the lake's handicapped fishing platform touched and inspired me to check out a bit of local history. Who was Ray Smink? I learned that his descendants donated the platform and come back every year to fish from it. Another plaque in the park motivated me to look up Bill Grindle. His life had been one of service as a Harrisburg school teacher, deputy game protector, New Bloomfield emergency services member, and right before he passed away, a ranger at Colonel Denning.

Even though the park made me want to dig deeper into its history, it provides most people with a wonderful place to picnic, swim, fish, or hike.

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